Sitting in the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills for last night's game between the Pistons and the Brooklyn Nets, it was hard not to notice the number of Brooklyn Nets jerseys in the crowd. Some bore name and number of all-star point guard Deron Williams, but most of the Brooklyn jersey support was for no. 33.
"Who's that?" My friend and I asked each other.
From our seats we squinted at a jersey-clad Nets fan a few rows up. Trying our best to phonetically sound out the name, we decided on "Tele-toe-vick." Odd we both thought, but still not as odd as lower bowl section behind the Nets bench swarmed with fans waving royal blue and yellow flags. They were all cheering and chanting with World Cup vigor.
As the second half started we'd dismissed the "Tele-toe-vick" fans, and had surrendered that we weren't going to figure out what the royal blue and yellow fans were chanting. We decided they weren't there for Calderon, as there was nothing Spain related in the garb. They didn't cheer for Slava Kravtsov's minutes, so they couldn't have been there to see the Pistons Ukrainian import.
Then Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo sent no. 33 to the scorers table. The Palace erupted with screams, as nearly every Nets fan in the building got on their feet. The royal blue and yellow cheering section was going crazy, a few were even shirtless with their flags being used as capes.
Pistons P.A. announcer, Mason introduced "no.33, Mirza Teletovic."
Checking twitter, we learned that Teletovic was Bosnian. Seemingly the entire Bosnian population of Metro-Detroit
had come to see Mirza Teletovic. They bought his jerseys, circled the game on their calendars, and now were watching their champion take on the Detroit Pistons
at the Palace of Auburn Hills. In the fourth quarter, no less.
I wish I could say Teletovic didn't disappoint. Well, he didn't disappoint the Pistons fans rooting against him.
First offensive possession in the game and the 6'9" Teletovic wastes no time jacking up a three-pointer. An air ball, a bad air ball.
Less than 20 seconds later, Teletovic again receives the ball on offense. Again, with no hesitation, he quickly rises for a long-range jump shot. An air ball, a bad air ball.
Then, unthinkably, during the Nets very next possession, Teletovic again finds himself with the ball at the top of the key. Without hesitation he rises for his third shot in less than a minute, a second three pointer. An air ball, a bad and final air ball.
The Pistons lost 93-90, but after the game I couldn't shake off what I'd just seen. Give Teletovic credit for trying to put on a show for the loyal Bosnians in the crowd, but three straight air balls? Yikes, and thanks for coming out.
For at least one night, the official NBA
slogan became "NBA, Where 'Weird' Happens
, Detroit Pistons