I am still getting used to the idea of calling the uptown basketball arena in Charlotte the "Spectrum Center." The building that opened in 2005 has been called "Time Warner Cable Arena" for years but will be known as the Spectrum Center throughout this NBA season.
If you haven't been in there recently, it feels different. Something about the way the gigantic new scoreboard is displayed actually makes the building feel a little more open when you are sitting inside.
And that scoreboard is a true whopper -- 2.5 times larger than the older one and with far better resolution. You are going to like it a whole lot, I promise. Do you remember that time you bought a huge TV, got it home and clicked it on for the first time? It feels like that.
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The best thing about the new $7-million scoreboard is that it will improve the game experience significantly for fans in the upper bowl. It's kind of an all-purpose fan equalizer. And the upper bowl is where I always buy my kids tickets when they attend Hornets games, because the lower-bowl tickets are way more expensive.
BAD SCHEDULING: I don't expect you to go see that scoreboard for the Hornets' first exhibition in Charlotte of this season, however. In fact, if I were you, I absolutely wouldn't. Pick another night. Any night. The Hornets hit the trifecta in terms of bad scheduling when they set up their first home preseason game.
Get this: It's Monday night, which already is one of the least favorable nights to play any NBA game if you want to draw a decent crowd. And it's against Minnesota -- ugh. And it will go head-to-head against the Panthers' home "Monday Night Football" game against Tampa Bay.
If the Hornets get 5,000 people to actually come in the building for that one, they will be lucky.
RECEIVER MADNESS: Whenever I attend any sporting event in person, I always hope to see something I have never seen before. This becomes harder as you get older, but it's still possible. Last weekend it happened twice -- both times thanks to amazing receivers.
You probably know the first one -- I was in Atlanta covering the Panthers-Falcons game when Julio Jones went off for 300 yards. That's remarkable. I had never seen a 300-yard receiving game at any level.
The other one came Friday night, when I went to the East Lincoln-Lincolnton high school football game with some relatives. It was a barnburner, and Lincolnton won in the final 14 seconds when Sage Surratt (formerly of East Lincoln, but that's another story) caught a touchdown pass in the end zone.
The catch was Surratt's 20th -- yes, his 20th -- of the game. I had never seen one player catch 20 balls in a football game, either, at any level.
Surratt is also an all-state basketball player. But he plans to play football in college and said in September he has narrowed his choices to South Carolina, Harvard, Yale, Indiana and North Carolina (where his brother Chazz plays).