What happened to the notion that if a team wins in Kansas City the fans will come?
"Quite frankly, we were pleased with the attendance," says Tom Cheatham, the Knights' general manager. "We knew that New Year's Day was going to be the acid test. There is always a buzz when you start, but regardless, the people that have come to our games are having a good time. We want to take that number and keep building on it."
The team might do better at cozier Municipal Auditorium, where the Knights have scheduled their next date -- Sunday, January 14, at 3 p.m. against the Los Angeles Stars. The venue switch, Cheatham says, is merely temporary. "It's a one-shot deal, and I don't think it will confuse people. We'll be back in Kemper for all of our games after that. It's not like we're playing there two or three times during the year. I think the fans at Kemper have been very loud, a great crowd. We hope each time they come back they bring a friend."
Former Wichita State University player Antoine Carr, a 39-year-old NBA veteran, has become the crowd favorite. Whenever Carr is shuffled to the bench, fans get on coach Kevin Pritchard for not letting "The Big Dog" out to play.
Carr made the team when 7-foot rookie center/forward Ernest Brown, a junior-college All-American two years ago, was sidelined indefinitely by a chronically injured left shoulder ("Knights School," December 21).
"Ernest is in a difficult situation," Cheatham says. "When he's just shooting around, it seems his shoulder is okay. But when there's a little contact, it pops out. This is something we are trying to figure out -- what's best for him and what's best for us. That's the risk we run with Ernest. He may feel good shooting around, but if we activate him and that shoulder pops out in the first quarter, then we're hurting with big men. That's a huge risk."