On Wednesday, the New Orleans Hornets were in Indianapolis for a preseason game against the Indiana Pacers.
The game is at the Pepsi Coliseum inside the Indiana State Fairgrounds (i.e. a piece of shit old arena where the Indiana Ice, a minor league hockey team play). Inside the Fairgrounds is a racetrack with a large stage, which is often used as a venue for concerts.
On Wednesday morning, the stage was Barack Obama’s.
More than 20,000 people packed the stands, and I mean packed the stands to hear the Democratic nominee for president. I was among them. Believe it or not, I actually got up before 10 a.m. (7 a.m. to be exact) so that I would get preferred seating.
As I took my “preferred” seat, I noticed right next to me there was a bloc of seats left vacant with “Reserved” signs on them. The next time I turned around, I saw the whole Hornets team.
I’m even talking Sean Marks and Ryan Bowen.
Who knows if Bowen or Marks, who is from New Zealand, even care about Obama, but it’s hard enough for whiteboys in the NBA. If you want any cred with your teammates, you go with them to an Obama rally. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
During Obama’s speech, a protester, a young white male, sitting about six rows in front of the entire Hornets team started yelling.
I’m not sure exactly what he was saying, but it sounded roughly like, “Obama, this isn’t your new world order!” I’m not sure if that makes sense but he was raising both his arms in what might be described as a double-barreled Nazi salute.
And seeing as David West knows a little something about defense (he averaged a career-high 1.3 blocks a game last year), it was fitting that the All-Star forward was the first to come to Obama’s defense.
“Shut up!” West yelled down to the protester.
The protester kept on.
I’ll say the protester was roughly 5-foot-10, maybe 165 pounds.
West is 6-foot-9, 240 pounds.
Luckily for the protester, a member of the Secret Service got to him before West could.
Perhaps West would have shown him the same type of respect he showed Dirk Nowitzki.
As the Secret Service agent was removing the protester, he escorted him right by the Hornets. And I’m going out on a limb here, but I doubt he figured he’d hear Chris Paul or Tyson Chandler call him all sorts of nice things on his way out.
The commotion caused Obama to stop his speech. “What’s going on up there?” he asked.
It’s simple, Senator. David West has your back.
On a lighter note, the Hornets also provided those sitting around them with a moment of levity. During Obama’s speech he talked about his tax cut plan for 95 percent of the country and told the crowd that anyone making about $250,000 would receive a tax cut. He then asked for a show of hands of who made less than $250,000. I’m pretty sure the only one to raise his hand among the Hornets contingent was the team’s trainer, or what looked like a trainer (could have been the team’s bus driver for all I know).
Some of the players enjoyed a laugh about it, and wouldn’t you if you made $10 million a year? West makes more than $250,000 playing in just two games ($259,756 to be exact).
Maybe they’ll tip the driver a little more next time.