by Lang Whitaker

A few years ago, I was at a college basketball game with a friend of mine, when during a timeout he made an astute observation: Cheerleaders are out-moded.

During the 1950s and 60s, cheerleaders played an important part in sporting events. (At least, they probably did. I wasn’t around then, but I like to think they were an integral part of things.) This was before electronic scoreboards and Jock Jams CDs and guns that fire t-shirts hundreds of feet into the stands. Now, at least on the pro level, cheerleaders have evolved (or devolved) into dance teams. They might do a synchronized dance routine twice a game, but the rest of the time they run around wearing very little and doing less, like sanitized eye candy.

I bring all of this up for two reasons:
1) I had a Knicks City Dancer in line ahead of me this morning at Starbucks. I know this because she was wearing a Knicks City Dancers jacket, and it got me thinking about dance teams.

2) After playing basketball as a franchise since 1946, the Boston Celtics have decided that they just can’t go on any longer without a dance team. And really, who can blame them? Dance teams bring so much to the table, there’s really no way for a franchise to survive without them. Celtics.com has exhaustive coverage of the tryout process, from photos of rehearsals to a flashy flash photo gallery to a live blog from the scene. They even came up with a spiffy logo for the ladies, one that neatly mimics the classic leprechaun silhouette (first time I may have ever typed those three words in succession).

I’m not sure what the next step in making cheerleaders/dance teams relevant should be, but as I’ve written here before, if one franchise really wants to make a ton of money, they should move to Vegas and instead of trying to tiptoe the thin line between family-friendly and salacious, just go all out and make the games an adult experience: mixed drinks, strippers, uncensored songs over the P.A. system, ultimate fighting at halftime. They could even cut the arena size in half to make it more intimate, then double the ticket prices.

If the Maloofs ever sell the Kings, this needs to be their next move.