As someone who's lived in Atlanta for the past six years, I distinctly remember the shocking announcement that Josh Childress had decided to leave the Hawks. He passed up on the team's $36 million offer, which would've paid him a respectable $5.6 million in his first year. Instead, the forward accepted a more lucrative three-year offer from Olympiacos, a Greek basketball team. At the time, it made him the "the highest-paid basketball player in the world outside of the N.B.A.," but he's since spoken out against his decision. If you read his interviews from before and after his stint in Greece, it seems as if he didn't quite consider all the tradeoffs of leaving the NBA before he crossed the Atlantic.
In recent years, a growing number of American players have decided to take their talents abroad and play outside of the United States. Veterans like Tracy McGrady, Stephon Marbury, and Jordan Farmar have headed overseas this year for a variety of reasons, whether it be money, searching for playing time they can't find in the NBA, or a longing for different cultural experiences.
Just looking at his numbers, Chipper Jones had a forgettable final regular-season homestand. Actually, his performance was abysmal, going 1-for-10 for the weekend, with a lone single lucky enough to break through the infield during Sunday’s win against the New York Mets.
But to everyone except for the third baseman himself — who noticeably struggled with his ongoing slump — his level of play was beside the point. Braves fans at Turner Field were far more concerned with sending off their beloved icon with a celebration worthy of his 19-year, soon-to-be–Hall of Fame career.
Braves fans apparently missed the memo that last night’s Atlanta-Nationals matchup was ESPN’s game of the week. Turner Field was a little more than half full, with just over 29,000 in attendance. That’s even counting the canines that came with their owners for "Bark in the Park" night, and before the persistent mid-game drizzles sent fans in search of shelter.
It’s surprising that the game was so sparsely attended, as it was potentially Chipper Jones’s seventh-to-last game in Atlanta (wild-card and playoff games pending). Five and a half months into his season-long farewell tour, Chipper’s imminent departure hasn’t truly hit most Braves fans yet. This certainly was, however you look at it, the final home game before Chippermania comes to full fruition in the season’s final weeks.
Last week, The Flaming Lips unveiled “Thunder Up! Racing for the Prize" — a track based off their seminal 1999 single “Race for the Prize.” It’s a whimsical and catchy pop song that the band hoped would latch on as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s anthem during the NBA playoffs. In sharing “Thunder Up!” with the world, the fellow OKC group actually did fill a void for Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook & Co. — a team that lacked a defined musical identity since moving from Seattle.
An effective theme song can be adopted as part of a team’s culture. If it’s a good tune, it becomes the soundtrack to a playoff run. If it’s a epic hymn, it lasts for a lifetime. There have been plenty of attempts — we’ve ranked the 10 best in recent memory.