“It think it’s exactly what the team needed,” said the team’s new owner, Ted Leonsis. “Just kind of a jolt of adrenaline.” ~Associated Press, 9/28
Midnight Madness is a college thing. And not every university with a major basketball program does it, either. It’s reserved for the big time programs. It’s definitely not a pro hoops kind of event, though.
Try telling that to the 3,500+ who rolled into the Patriot Center last night to watch the Wizards kick off their 2010 training just a shade after the clock struck twelve. Announced last month, the concept was to rejuvenate a team base that had been fast asleep for years. Enter Ted Leonsis, John Wall and a convenient location on campus, and the idea to do something not normal to the NBA came to fruition.
While every outlet reporting on the event is highlighting the event’s marketing display over basketball prowess (from the Post: “They had a midnight practice that was open to the public, televised on NBATV and generated enough publicity in hype that the quality of play — understandably shaky considering the time of night and jitters of scrimmaging for the first time in front of a crowd — was negligible.”), it still was an excellent show to put on for the students of George Mason and local basketball fans who have hope for the future of the Wiz.
Mike Prada, writing at Bullets Forever, noted that the incredible experience is something he would expect out of other teams moving forward:
It makes you wonder: what if a team that had more starpower did something like this? Why couldn’t the Lakers do this kind of event this year before they go for a three-peat? Why couldn’t Miami capitalize on that free-agent buzz and do this? Who knows. Maybe the Wizards just paved the way for a new way of thinking about training camp.
If so, I’ll be proud to say I was at the first of these Midnight Madness NBA events. Everyone in the organization, from the owner down to the game operations staff, should be proud that they participated in the first NBA event of its kind.