Wednesday, Lil Jon cleared up that lil rumour.
“I love the Thrashers. But I’m not investing in them,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That’s a lot of money to buy a professional hockey team! I’ll help them out with some awareness, though.”
Doesn’t sound like Lil Jon got past the first step of shopping: looking at the price tag. If he was ever in the store at all.
Then there’s J.B. Smith, dubbed the Balkan, who apparently can’t be trusted in a store.
Smith, we were told, was in negotiations to buy the Thrashers, the NBA’s Hawks and Phillips Arena from the Atlanta Spirit group.
Turns out the mysterious (ad)venture capitalist is in more trouble than he is negotiations, as there’s reportedly a court judgment for nearly $2 million against him, of which he has yet to pay a dime.
That leaves one local group kicking the hockey team’s tires, even as Winnipeg’s Mark Chipman hooks it up to the hitch of one of his Birchwood Group SUV’s, pointed north.
Even Atlanta booster Tom Glavine, the former left-hander who considered a pitch of his own for the Thrashers, admits the city appears to be down to its last at-bat, facing an 0-2 count.
“There was always some sense that we had a little bit of time as long as Phoenix was still in the picture,” Glavine told the Associated Press. “Now ... everything is on an accelerated path. There seems to be a consensus there is going to be a team in Winnipeg ... unfortunately the bull’s-eye seems to be on the Thrashers’ back.”
Sensing the sights of the Canadian hunter trained on their team, Atlanta fans are scrambling to organize a tailgate party/rally at a previously scheduled select-a-seat event for season-ticket holders, Saturday.
TSN has asked Atlanta’s NBC affiliate for video of the event, which isn’t likely to match the 35,000-person, save-the-Jets mob scene at Portage and Main back in 1995.
More proof that Atlanta fans don’t care, the snobs from the Great White North will say.
The truth is, Thrashers fans have simply been taken advantage of far too long, and they’ve had enough.
The Atlanta owners have made Barry Shenkarow look like Mike Ilitch, redefining dysfunctional, too busy bickering with and suing each other to put a decent team on the ice.
Eleven seasons, one playoff appearance and not a single playoff game victory — name me one team not named the Habs or Leafs who’d thrive in that pail of crap.
Just like you can’t blame fans in Phoenix for not supporting their dead franchise walking, you can’t pin this one on Hotlanta hockey types. Nobody ever gave them a reason to believe.
So these last few days will likely be quiet down in Georgia. And they’ll likely be quiet, here.
The calm before the storm.
Listen closely, though, and you might hear the scribblings of a sale agreement being hammered out. Followed by the rattling of a trailer hitch.
As the abandoned dreams of one city are loaded up and hauled to another, where they’ll find hearts hungry to revive them.
Not with the help of rappers or mysterious, cloaked investors.
But on their own.
Just because they’re eager to believe.