The 76ers are headed to New Orleans to play the Hornets after tonight's game against the Mavs. A Philadelphia reporter asked Mavs coach Avery Johson, a New Orleans native, what the city is like right now and if it can ever fully recover.
Here's Avery's response:
"Well, I'll answer your second question first. It's only going to fully recover when the government gets off its butt, when the state and local authorities that are in power positions stop thinking about themselves and really start to care more about people and housing and jobs and everybody just quit the foolishness and all of the red tape. And once all of the beauracracy is out of it and the people that are getting monies and help down there manage the money properly and get it to the right individuals and families that need it, then it's going to start moving in the right direction. But, until then it's just going to be another story; it's somewhat of a back page story which is really disappointing."
Why is that disappointing to you?
"It still should be in the forefront because it's an American city. Any time an American city gets hit like that, like we've had the tragedies out in California, we should give them a lot of attention. I'm just curious to see how quickly that part of the country is going to come back as compared to New Orleans."
How involved are you?
"Again, I'm just flying under the radar. I have some people that I communicate with and we're just really concerned about the city. We're all, as Americans, are doing our part, whether you guys are giving me an opportunity to say something here publicly about it or sending money or somebody's down there working day-in and day-out trying to help somebody get back in their homes or remodeling or whatever.
"I just think on a state, local and [federal] government level we all have to get our acts together. Because while we're arguing and complaining and power struggling and positioning ourselves, there are families that are still not back in their homes."
What is the NBA's role?
"Well, I think first of all, I would like to commend [NBA commissioner]David Stern for keeping the All-Star Game down there. And I would I would like to commend Mr. [George] Shinn for getting the team back down there and not giving up on New Orleans, because they need some sort of entertainment, they need [to know] that people in the entertainment industry like we are really care about them. So, I'm really excited about the All-Star Game being down there, I'm glad the Sugar Bowl is back, I'm glad the Hornets are back, whatever we can do to try to pump some life in the city, I think is a necessity."
-- Jeff Caplan