Have you ever heard of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons? Maybe you've heard of the UNC Tar Heels or the Duke Blue Devils, two of the best college basketball programs in the country.
Every year, they play the lesser known Wake Forest Demon Deacons and typically destroy them. When I was in high school, I had a Wake Forest Demon Deacons hat. I had watched Tim Duncan play in college and enjoyed his style of play as well as his tenacity and ability to win championships with the Spurs. Sadly though, there was another small reason I bought it: I liked the logo.
There are many reasons to be a fan of a team: geographic proximity, family tradition, style of play, specific players, and most pathetically, logos and colors. Despite this fact, knowing what we all do about color marketing and how easy it is to rope people in based on aesthetics, I feel fine admitting that I was a bandwagon Wake Forest fan while in high school.
Wilson Chandler, a former star at another (devil based) program; the Chicago-based DePaul Blue Demons, signed a contract to play overseas in China recently.
After being acquired in the blockbuster Carmelo Anthony trade that sent him from the New York Knicks to the Denver Nuggets, Chandler scored a modest 12.5 points per game and grabbed five rebounds per game. Chandler will join Earl Clark, an alum of the much better known Big East program at Louisville, who signed a contract with the same Chinese squad because the Orlando Magic weren't willing to pay him enough.
Chandler's name is now much more well known that it was prior to his involvement in one of the biggest trades in recent NBA history. By attaching Carmelo Anthony's star name to Wilson's game, there is now an unfair perception of Chandler's ability on the basketball court.
There are, however, a few things that Chandler did to impress us like dropping an eye-popping 35 points against the Sacramento Kings last season, my hometown team. Once Chandler was at 20 points, I looked him up online and discovered his relatively modest background both in high school and college.
Essentially, Chandler and the DePaul Blue Demons were no names. As a Kings fan, I was thoroughly embarrassed that this no name chump had demolished my squad for 35 points. On the other hand, he did it against the KINGS. Fortunately for Chandler, he put himself on the map and solidified NBA fan's awareness of his abilities.
If you ever played organized basketball, you might have done the "Mikan drill" in practice. The drill is named after DePaul alumni George Mikan, who stood a monstrous 6'-10'' and scored over 10,000 points in his NBA career.
The Mikan drill may have been the only reason anyone in America knew about the DePaul Blue Demons basketball program before Wilson Chandler lit up the Kings that night. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure nobody actually knew that Mikan went to DePaul. Due to the Chinese Basketball Association's rules, players who are not free agents can’t play in their league. Anthony is not a free agent and thus would not be able to play in the CBA.