Two franchises rebuilding from the ground up in the small market boonies. Two first round draft picks. Best player in collegiate gridiron; best player in collegiate hoops. Two national championships. Two players second guessed by talking heads. Not ready for prime time, too short, too raw, two lockouts with too little time to prepare, too bad for the fans in Charlotte. Perpetual rebuilding.
Something unexpected happens. Cam Newton struts out of the huddle in Glendale – nine eleven ten point oh-no that’s a seventy yard touchdown pass. Must’ve been a fluke – wait he just hit Steve Smith for another end zone bomb. Maybe we were wrong. Three TDs and four hundred plus yards later Cameron sets records and the talking heads start back-trackin’. Why ya’ll so surprised?
He probably won’t do this every week but Jimmy Clausen won’t do this any week. Carolina fans rejoice – not only do they buy tickets, some start to show up for the games. This Newton character, he just might be The One. Twenty three years and three pro sports franchises later, Charlotte has never had One of them before. Maybe they’ll have Two.
The NBA lockout ends. Kemba suits up in blue and orange. Hi-five from Rufus Lynx. Hey now. The lights turn on so he turns on; the bigger the stage, the bigger the man. He lives for this. Cam lives for this. Will the Bobcats name Kemba Walker their starting point guard? turns into D.J. who? The smallest one on the court wants the pressure. He needs it. Give me the responsibility – don’t be afraid of winning, I’ve done it before and it feels good. Let’s do it again.
He falls often but gets back up more often. They are better than they should be but Kemba isn’t satisfied. Newton isn’t satisfied. It’s not enough. Two now. Getting better.
A land of transplants. A sea of terrible towels, of Kobe purple & golds, of Lone Stars. In less than a generation they disappear year by year – replaced by sleeveless Fifteens and electric blue Ones. Two potential game changers, finally, after all those faceless seasons from Tripucka to Biakabutuka. No longer big-boxed replicas preening, manufacturing an image for fear of not having one at all. Better now. Two icons and entertainers. Originals. We take the hint. An identity all our own.