Team-sanctioned cheering sections are all the rage in the NBA. The Houston Rockets have the Red Rowdies. The Milwaukee Bucks have Andrew Bogut’s Squad 6. These sorts of things — a group of crazy people who use their special brand of crazy to go crazy for their team — are popping up all over the place, stolen from the college ranks where Duke’s Cameron Crazies and Illinois’ Orange Crush drive opponents bonkers. Pretty cool little promotion, especially if you like guys in bright-colored wigs, which I know you do.
The Pistons are the latest team to give the cheering section a shot, only they had a few problems when it came time for auditions. The Detroit News’ Neal Rubin has the story.
More than 300 people registered to try out for the Detroit Pistons’ new 50-person spirit section, the Power Plant.
Exactly 11 of them showed up at the audition Wednesday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills, which is not very peppy. But this is a cheer squad, so you have to look on the bright side: Those 11 people have a very, very good chance of making the cut.
I have never been in charge of coming up with zany promotions for an NBA team, but I would have to imagine that having 11 people show up to audition for a 50 person cheering section is a bit of a disappointment. Probably not the turnout they were hoping for. Then again, when you consider that the fans chosen for the Power Plant are required to attend every single Pistons home game, it’s a lot more understandable that these peeps would be a little hesitant to make that kind of commitment. “Hey, we got Tracy McGrady!” is not the best selling point.
That being said, a few of the people that actually did show up seem like real pieces of work.
Clifford Wade of Hazel Park, for instance, named his 2-year-old son Rasheed Amir, after former Pistons Wallace and Johnson. He’s a 38-year-old armed guard who wore a Pistons championship jacket over a Ben Wallace shirt over a Rip Hamilton jersey atop Pistons jeans and Hamilton basketball shoes.
“I love the Pistons,” he said, and his wife loves him, which is why she signed off on a commitment to 41 games — plus, if you’re an optimist, the playoffs.
Apparently Clifford Wade of Hazel Park has one of the coolest wives in the history of marriage. Not only did he convince her that he should be allowed to buy Pistons jeans and that it would be a good idea to name their son after Rasheed Wallace and Amir Johnson, he also somehow sold her on attending 41 Pistons games with him dressed completely in Pistons gear. She’s a keeper, for sure.
Then there’s this lady, who might be the world’s biggest Joe Dumars fan for a very special reason.
Christina Mullen, 49, a Spirit Airlines flight attendant from Detroit, also did her clothes shopping at the Pistons rack. If it helps her case any, she said she fell for the Pistons when current president Joe Dumars was a player, and she noticed that “he had the sexiest legs ever.”
There are a lot of reasons to be a fan of a particular NBA team, but a former player turned team president having “the sexiest legs ever” is probably the best I’ve ever heard. Those short shorts of the 80s won more fans to the NBA than we will ever know. Bringing those back might be something to look in to if the league ever wants to play up the seductive angle.
At the very least, it sounds like the Pistons’ 11 person cheer squad is going to be incredibly weird. For a team that’s going to be paying $42 million this year for Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince and Charlie Villanueva, that makes a lot of sense.