I admit that initially I was pretty peeved with Michael Deason who has now become a part of Charlotte Hornets folklore as “Purple Shirt Guy”. I was frustrated with the series against Miami ending the way it did. I felt like the victory just slip away. I wanted that first playoff series win in 14 years (at the time) more than I could put into words and when we lost, I along with most of the Hornets fan base gravitated my gaze towards Michael. We used him as a scapegoat and luckily Michael was strong enough to carry that load without it really phasing him.
As time passed I was able to recognize the legitimate reasons for the loss BUT I watched as fellow members of Buzz City just couldn’t let it go. I became fascinated as his character became more influential to the game and the proverbial fish just kept getting bigger. He got more blame than actual starting players who scored 0 points in that game 6.
It’s been several years and yet he is still a reoccurring reference on social media with mostly a threatening tone. This made me want to find the “Purple Shirt Guy”, ask some questions, hear the story from his angle and hear what he thought about the blame still being placed on him.
1) In your own words describe the events of game six and what words exactly were exchanged between you and Dwyane Wade.
1.Answer: In order to understand my demeanor in Game 6, you have to realize my enthusiasm in games 3 and 4. Apparently, in those games (in which I believe we won games 3 and 4), the NBA thought I had been cheering too enthusiastically. I received a call from the Hornets organization after game 3, in which it was explained that remain in front of my seats (i ran down the sidelines during timeouts giving high fives and trying to get people on their feet). So, in game 4, I remained just as enthusiastic but remained in front of our seats. Again, a phone call….
I was a little upset with being singled out. So, I decided to not stand and cheer during the first half of Game 6. I sat in my seat and pumped my fists a few times, but I did not stand. I tried to give very little support. Maybe I was trying to prove a point….. Ha! Don’t think I was successful at that. In any case, I simply yelled to Dwayne Wade that he should retire during the first half. In the second half, I went back to cheering enthusiastically. When Wade hit the 2 pointer (over Courtney Lee, I wasn’t playing) with his signature penetrate and fade away, I was cheering for the Defense not against the Heat. And this was a 2 pointer that put the heat up by 5. We had a chance to tie but gave the ball up which gave Wade the chance to score.
After getting up, Wade got in my face and made a comment (it was later explained to me that he said, I’m a bad mother f***er). I didn’t hear what he said. I was more shocked at the fact that he said anything to me. I was simply reminding him that he only tied the series and that he still had one more game to go. Wade usually got on to any of the players that responded to us. It was humorous to watch. So, after 7 years of not saying anything, I suppose I got in his head.
2) Are you aware that a select group of Hornets fans use you as a scapegoat for the series loss? Have any of those fans attempted to contact you? If so what did they say?
2. Answer: Yes, which is fine. It must be hard for this select group of fans to point to the players, coaches or anyone actually paid by the Hornets and accuse them of being the cause.
Maybe I provide a stress relief for these fans. So your welcome? As for contacting me, I had my time on twitter. It was interesting to say the least. One guy posted an old address and suggested fans come heckle me……. He was easy to contact and explain the dangers of putting an address on line. Other than that, not really.
3) It was rumored that you were no longer allowed to have courtside seats. Is this true and what is your relationship with the organization (what did they say to you)? Have you gone to Hornets games since that night?
3. Answer: HaHa!!! No. I gave up my tickets. I was recently contacted about getting tickets again, but I think the guy was just calling off an old list. hahaha. I have been back to 2 games since. I had fun, but it was time to move on. Besides, the “greatest 2 guard” in the NBA, found it necessary to let some fan know just how awesome he was. I mean, if you have to state the “obvious”, you might have doubts yourself.
4) Are you still a Hornets fan? How long were you a fan? What is your opinion on the currents state of the team?
4. Answer: I am a Hornets fan. I don’t keep up with NBA as much as some think I do, but I became more of a fan when we first became season ticket holders. It was nice to be involved with the transition of the names. It brought more excitement to the games. There was a difference from when they were the Bobcats.
As for my opinion of the current state of the team…… maybe I should keep that opinion to myself.
5) Do you feel any responsibility for the loss?
5. Answer: If I am to take responsibility for the loss, will the same people give me responsibility for the wins? In games 3 and 4, I cheered like a mad man. We won. In game 6, I sat the 1st half and cheered the 2nd half. We got outscored in the 1st half and we outscored them in the 2nd. This is just a fact. I am by no means claiming that I, the Purple Shirt Guy, have some miraculous power to cause greatness to happen. Dwayne Wade is great player. He should have not had a 3 month shooting drought. So, I guess he finally realized that maybe he should start earning the $18.5 million.
6) Had you ever had an altercation with a player on the court before that incident? Who? What happened?
6. Answer: I told Kevin Durant that he was number 3 in the league and asked if he would stop crying to the refs every time he missed a shot? He replied, “I’m number one bitch. You don’t know who you are talking to….” I simply laughed and asked if Lebron and Curry would agree. It ended up with me being Red Carded. Hahahaha! I guess there is a first for everything. The ref that was close to me when this happened called the Hornets next time he was scheduled to see if I would be at the game……. He later gave me his whistle.
Most players we simply would remind them of the awesome warm-up percentage they had and not be discouraged by the in-game percentage and give a suggestion to practice with defense next time. We tried to get the opposing team thinking about anything other than the game. We kept it clean and made some friends along the way. We got along great with Steven Jackson when he was in Charlotte. When we were the Bobcats, I had the opportunity to fly with the team to a Timberwolves game.
I got upset with one official, Kane Fitzgerald, and began asking him the spread of the game. He didn’t like it, so I was asked to leave with 34 seconds left. The next time I was in Charlotte when he was scheduled, I got his whistle.
I had a conversation with Chris Bosh where I told him how much I respected him (based off an interview I saw with him). He came over and thanked me for being a fan. I had a great 7 years supporting the team.
7) We believe you live in Greensboro now. That season were you making the commute for regular season games? Have you been to a Greensboro Swarm game?
7. Answer: That is correct and yes. I purchased tickets to the Swarm for the 1st season. I gave them up.
8) If there is anything you would want to say to Hornets fans and the organization what would you say?
8 Answer: Maybe put your energy around what really cost the game. Also, maybe try showing up during the regular season with Hornets gear on and not the opposing super star jersey. Try giving the same enthusiasm during the year against suck teams. Your support might actually help the Hornets win more.
9) Did you think people would care this long about the incident? Final Words?
9. Answer: That is funny. Absolutely not. What’s crazy is that a 30-second ad spot during game 6 cost around $430,000. I paid much, much less, and you are still talking about me.
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