Most NBA teams offer some sort of giveaway for fans who attend playoff games. Whether T-shirts, "We Don't Bluff" Growl Towels or foam horns, these freebies represent an effort to show appreciation for those who bought tickets to support the team's postseason push by providing them with a cool event-specific piece of memorabilia. They also help present a unified, color-coordinated backdrop for the on-court action and create a unique visual element that makes the home gym look especially cool for nationally televised postseason contests.
The Atlanta Hawks did a pretty great job of this last spring, when they gave fans who turned out for Game 6 of their opening-round series against the Indiana Pacers a T-shirt bearing their just-revived "Pac-Man"-style secondary logo. When it came time to deck out Philips Arena for Game 1 of the 2015 first round against the Brooklyn Nets, though, the Hawks found themselves facing a large-scale wardrobe malfunction. From Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
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The Hawks’ planned t-shirt giveaway for Game 1 of their playoff series had to be scrapped when it was discovered that the name of one of their starting players was missing from the apparel.
On Friday, Philips Arena workers placed the red t-shirts over each seat. On Saturday, they were all gone. They were not replaced by Sunday’s series opener against the Nets.
The t-shirts were emblazoned with the name of each Hawks player — but one.
This, of course, begs the question: Who got left off? Our answer comes via the eagle-eyed Jake Martinsek:
Yep, that's right. Take a trip through the "True Believer" shirt design and you'll find the names of 14 Hawks — Pero Antic, Kent Bazemore, Elton Brand, DeMarre Carroll, Austin Daye (whose first name looks like it might be misspelled up there in the top left corner of the design), Al Horford, John Jenkins, Kyle Korver, Shelvin Mack, Paul Millsap, Mike Muscala, Dennis Schröder, Mike Scott and Thabo Sefolosha — but you won't find the name of one Jeffrey Demarco Teague. Kind of a tough break for the All-Star point guard, who led the team in assists and finished second among Hawks in points, steals and free-throw attempts this season. (It could be, as Martinsek suggests, that the absence of Teague's name got lost in the negative space of the design; then again, it looks like the roster list just cuts off after Scott and returns to the top, so it could just be that it was a slip-up from Jump Street.)
We don't know yet whether the Hawks plan to revisit the "True Believer" idea — which, misstep aside, looks pretty cool — with Teague's name included as a giveaway for fans at an upcoming Hawks playoff game. It's possible the giveaway could come back around, though the Hawks haven't announced anything as yet; it seems like it'd be a shame to scuttle the whole thing entirely, but then, I'm not the one who'd have to buy 18,440 more shirts (give or take a few) to make things right.
Despite not having every single one of their fans rocking an identical red T-shirt — and despite seeing Millsap scuffle a bit as he works his way back from a right shoulder injury, and Horford injure his hand late in the contest before coming back in with his fingers taped and iced — the Hawks beat the Nets, 99-92, on Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series. With attention now turning to Wednesday's Game 2, it's clear that the Hawks plan to raise the stakes in terms of in-arena entertainment and star power:
In addition the performance by Ludacris, the Hawks will also be selling a special (and hopefully quality-checked) Luda-themed T-shirt and CD pack at the arena on Wednesday. Maybe they can give Teague one on the house — you know, just as a sign of good faith.
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