They say ignorance is bliss, and when it comes to the "Los Locos" cheering section at the Targe Center in Minneapolis, home of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, they might want to rethink their clothing choices. The group, which is a fan-created community that is now being promoted by the team, seems to be going a bit too far in its enthusiasm. Case in point, this picture taken from a game this week:
Sure, the fans are having fun, but really? Sarapes and sombreros. FAIL. And a #NoMames to you.
"What they have done is allow people to say, 'you know what? We're at an NBA game,'" said Jeff Munneke, the Timberwolves' vice president of fan relations and guest services. "It's OK to stand up and cheer and act a little crazy."
Los Locos is a grassroots movement created by some key super-fans and a group of early adopters. The section gathers above the opposing team's tunnel and keeps the noise going from tipoff to the final buzzer.
The idea of a group like this had been floating around for years but finally came to fruition during 2011's NBA lockout. Mark Haugen, one of the leaders of Los Locos, was in close communication with Munneke during the work stoppage.
"I had an idea of a college-type atmosphere where everyone's standing," said Haugen, who has been a season ticket-holder for the last seven years. "Sort of like the soccer tournaments in Europe. I had been talking with Jeff (Munneke) for a while, and he told me that when they got back from the lockout, he'd let me know.
"I was surprised when the lockout actually ended. Jeff gave me a call shortly after and said, 'let's do this.'"
So far, Munneke has been pleased with the results.
"It's really fun," said Munneke. "You can see within the section that there's about 25-30 people who are consistently there now, dressing up in the theme nights and bringing excitement and energy. Each night it seems like it grows."
One popular element of Los Locos is their ever-changing wardrobe. The group sends out a mass e-mail each week, planning out what their next goofy outfit will be. This year has already featured themes centered around 1980's fashion, Star Wars, superheroes and togas.
"I'm one of the loud ones, and I usually wear something ridiculous," said regular attendee Chris Herman. "You have to do the theme every week. We're hardcore."
Sure, there is fan enthusiasm and then there is wardrobe that is just silly and to some who attend the games, offensive. What will next year's choices be? Message to Los Locos: choose your costumes wisely. Sombreros and sarapes just won't cut it, especially in a community that is getting more and more Latino. Add the fact that the team has a Spaniard, Ricky Rubio, and a Puerto Rican, JJ Barea, and wants to do more with the Latino community, and you are just left scratching your head. Keep promoting the offensive images from old stereotypes of Mexicans.