Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: The game that signaled the birth of "Hornets Hysteria"

As we continue to look back at some of the memorable moments from the Charlotte Hornets first season 25 years ago, we'll be looking back at an historical moment that changed the team, and the city of Charlotte forever 25 years ago yesterday, as "Hornets Hysteria" would be born with a game against North Carolina's native son, who would eventually be the man that would own our current NBA team and the driving force behind our city bringing the "Hornets" name back next season.

The game that marked the birth of "Hornets Hysteria"

It wasn't a typical Friday in Charlotte on that day back on December 23rd, 1988, it was just 2 days before Christmas, and thousands of people living here at that time were just busy getting their Christmas shopping done, while others were either flying in or flying out of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport to visit family and friends, and for the Charlotte Hornets, who were 6-17 at the time, they were hard at work preparing for their match-up against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in what would be Jordan's first professional game in his home state before a crowd of 23,388 at the Charlotte Coliseum and a national television audience on SuperStation WTBS.

The Hornets were down 85-77 to the Bulls, who were led in scoring by Jordan, who had 33 points, and with time running out, everyone inside the Coliseum was hoping for a little early-Christmas present, and Kurt Rambis would be the man that head coach Dick Harter would look to, as Charlotte was tied with Chicago at 101-101, setting the stage for a thrilling finish at "The Hive", and to simply put it, it was truly alive and well that night with just a few seconds left in regulation, as both teams, and those attending the game, watching it on television, or hearing the game on the radio, were on pins and needles as the Hornets needed just one shot to win the game or settle it in overtime, but Rambis was all in, and he wanted to go for the win.

Rambis would recover the loose ball and would tip it in at the buzzer, for the first last-second win in franchise history, and everyone inside the building would shout in jubilation, as the Hornets would get what would become one of their signature wins in their first season in Charlotte, defeating the Bulls 103-101 and from that game on, "Hornets Hysteria" was everywhere throughout Charlotte and the Carolinas, as the game that night would make the Charlotte Hornets a household name, while the Charlotte Coliseum would be packed night in and night out for 364 consecutive games.

The way I see it, "Hornets Hysteria" was simply put, something this city needed that day, as it would be an early-Christmas present for the residents of 350,000 people living here at that time who were busy preparing for the holidays, and it was all over our city, as fans wore everything purple and teal and talked about it at work, in sports bars, and everywhere else around our city, as well as throughout North and South Carolina, as people finally took notice about the Charlotte Hornets and adopting them as their hometown NBA team during the first season, and that is something that we are looking forward to recreating next season, when the Bobcats officially change its name to the Hornets for the 2014-15 season and beyond.

"Hornets Hysteria" was indeed another great moment in the first season of the 1988-89 Charlotte Hornets, as we continue to look back at some of the moments from the team's first season 25 years ago and looking ahead to the return of the Hornets next season.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: The First Win

On selected days during this Charlotte Bobcats season, we are continuing our series looking back at some of the key moments during this, the 25th Anniversary of the Charlotte Hornets first season, and in this installment, we'll be talking about the night that the Hornets would finally notch its first win as a franchise, back on November 8, 1988.

A young team earns its first win in franchise history

The Charlotte Hornets were 0-2 entering that night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Charlotte Coliseum before a crowd of 18,865, and on the day of the game, Hornets owner George Shinn was addressing the media about a possible name change for the facility, since many of the media members were trying to figure out where in the world was Charlotte located at during his quest to bring an NBA team to the city. Some thought Charlotte was located in South Carolina, while others thought it was in Virginia, or West Virginia, but we all know that Charlotte is located right here in North Carolina.  

It was during that meeting with the media, that Shinn realized that his left arm was shaking, as Spencer Stolpen, the team's president at the time was checking on Shinn to see if he was okay when he came into the offices at 100 Hive Drive on the day of the game, as Stoplen realized that Shinn wasn't feeling good, and coincidentally, Stolpen had to take Shinn to the hospital, as he did not realize that he had a stroke, and many of the fans that were heading to the game that night were worried about the man who made it all happen for Charlotte to get an NBA team.

As for the game that night against the Los Angeles Clippers, it would see another first in Charlotte Hornets history, the first-ever Double-Double.  It would be recorded by Kurt Rambis, who would score 17 points on just 7-of-9 shooting from the field, to go along with 14 rebounds, while Kelly Tripucka would lead the way for Charlotte with 24 points to lift the Hornets to its first ever win in franchise history, with a 117-105 win over the L.A. Clippers at the Coliseum, sending the 18,865 fans home happy, and the players were indeed worried about George Shinn after he suffered a stroke earlier in the day, and when the game ended, they all signed a basketball and gave it to George in honor of the team's first win in franchise history.

The Hornets first win on November 8th, 1988 was another special moment in the history of the Charlotte Hornets during the 1988-89 campaign, as we continue to look back at the team's memorable moments from that first season in honor of the 25th Anniversary of their debut, and looking ahead to the long-awaited return of the Hornets to Charlotte in 2014-15.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Special Comment: How will the Bobcats finish in their last year as the "Bobcats" before becoming the Hornets

And now once again, at the request of my "Boss", Jake Cook over at "The Fake ESPN", another "Special Comment" about how will the Charlotte Bobcats finish in their last year as the "Bobcats" and how will the fans will remember the "Bobcats" name 5, 10, or 20 years from now.  This season is the last year that the Charlotte Bobcats will play under the name before switching it's name to the "Charlotte Hornets", and since me and my partner, Jake have been following this team since day 1, we have seen this team have it's ups and downs.

We are already 3 games into the season, and Charlotte is 1-2, and sure, the Bobcats have already played 3 games, with the team being in action tonight in New York to take on the Knicks.  I have no particular target on how will the Bobcats finish in it's last season as the "Bobcats", but I'm going on record to say that they will finish with a 35-42 record. I am going on record and say that my prediction of finishing the season with 35 wins may be a bold statement for this team, and sure, some say we could be the sleeper team in the Eastern Conference, but 35 wins would sound good for me in my book.

If you recall last season, Mike Dunlap's plan to turn the team around was an absolute disaster, are we as fans going to sit through this again? I HOPEFULLY think not!  We went out and hired a man who has a plan to turn this thing around in Steve Clifford, and the reason why I'm saying that we will win 30 to 35 games could be a big sign of improvement, and even though that we won't make the playoffs, I believe that 35 games could be a major sign of improvement for a Bobcats team that will wrap up their 10th and final season playing as the "Bobcats".

Now, onto the second half of this "Special Comment", how will the fans remember the "Bobcats" name 5, 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.  When this team first got the name "Bobcats", a lot of us thought that was a good name to replace the name "Hornets", after the team moved to New Orleans in 2002, and in the 10 seasons that this team has played as the "Bobcats", named after former owner Bob Johnson, we have been struggling, and struggling, and struggling, but how will we remember the name in 5, 10 or 20 years from now?  If we are still alive by then, some would say that the "Bobcats" name will not be remembered by many here in Charlotte, but many of us that was hoping for the day we finally found out that we were going to be known as the "Hornets" after almost 12 years last summer, finishing off a long, fought rally cry to tell Charlotte that we want that name back right where it belongs.  And as for the "Bobcats" name, some will say "Good riddance" to that name once it become disestablished at the end of the season, but in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years from now, a lot of will still have memories of the name, while others wouldn't care less about the nickname "Bobcats".

And lastly, my "Boss", Jake, demanded me to ask you this question: Will the change from "Bobcats" to "Hornets" make the team better? YES! YES! YES! IT WILL MAKE THE TEAM BETTER BECAUSE WE ARE THE ONES THAT WANTED THE HORNETS NAME TO COME HOME IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND DO YOU WANNA KNOW WHY? IT WAS ALL BECAUSE OF THE NOSTALGIA THAT MADE THE ORIGINAL HORNETS BE ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FRANCHISES IN THE NBA UNTIL GEORGE SHINN MOVED THE TEAM TO NEW ORLEANS ALMOST 13 YEARS AGO! IT WILL BE BETTER BECAUSE IF YOU LOOKED AT THE PROVED TRACK RECORD OVER THE LAST 10 SEASONS WE'VE BEEN KNOWN AS THE "BOBCATS", WE ONLY HAD 1 WINNING SEASON, ONE WINNING SEASON, PEOPLE! OUT OF 10 YEARS OF WHAT SOME MAY CONSIDERED A DISASTER, AND WHEN WE BECOME THE HORNETS AGAIN, WE WILL SEE FANS COME BACK TO SUPPORT THIS TEAM NIGHT IN AND NIGHT OUT JUST LIKE WHAT THE ORIGINAL HORNETS DID DURING THEIR 14 YEAR RUN IN THIS TOWN.  Good night, and Good Luck.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: A night to remember

In the 7th and final installment of our series looking back at the 25th Anniversary of the Charlotte Hornets first game, we'll look back at the big day, a day that will live on in the hearts of sports fans in Charlotte, and the Carolinas.

November 4th, 1988.  A day that will live in Charlotte and Carolina sports history forever.  It was more than just a typical day in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city of 350,000 people at the time as this city was about to hit it big on what may be considered an historic day for Charlotte and the Carolinas, it was a day that NBA basketball came to town.  A culmination of 3 1/2 years of planning was all going to become a reality on this night as the Charlotte Hornets took on the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first game in franchise history.

The game wasn't just any regular game, it was more like an Hollywood premiere combined with a gala or awards ceremony, if you get the picture, as the men were all dressed up in tuxedos, while the women wore gowns, and if you were driving down Tyvola Road, you may have saw the searchlights lighting up the sky to lead you to the new Charlotte Coliseum, which was opened 3 1/2 months ago back on August 11, 1988, and yes, the red carpet was indeed rolled out to welcome the 23,388 attendees to the first game.

Even the Charlotte Symphony was there to provide the pregame entertainment.  It was a festive atmosphere as North Carolina governor Jim Martin, and South Carolina governor Carroll Campbell, both made the journey to honor the man responsible for making the dream of bringing NBA basketball to the Carolinas a reality, George Shinn.

When the pregame festivities all wrapped up, they finally got to the starting lineups, the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to be introduced first, but when the team's first Public Address announcer, John Edwards said "And now, the starting lineups for the Cleveland Cavaliers.....", the Cavaliers remained in the locker room not knowing that the pregame ceremonies all wrapped up.  The Hornets and Cavaliers were getting ready for tip-off, and everyone took out their cameras to capture the moment that would be a memorable one indeed on a night to remember.

The two bright spots that the Charlotte Hornets would have in the game that night was the first basket ever scored in Hornets history as Kelly Tripucka would snag a rebound from Cavaliers center Brad Daugherty and he would put it in the basket, and the lone lead of the night for the Hornets would be a 34-32 lead in the second quarter, giving the crowd something to cheer about, in a building that was truly electric, and when I talked to Gerry Valliancourt, the former sports director at the Hornets television flagship at the time, WCCB, and now works at Fox affiliate WVUE in New Orleans, Louisiana back in 2008, he said that the crowd noise was indeed a factor.  "The noise was a factor and I couldn't hear myself during the broadcast." quoted Valliancourt.

But in the end, the Cavs would spoil the inaugural game for the Charlotte Hornets as they would roll on to a 133-93 win, and when the game ended, the Hornets would receive a standing ovation from the crowd acknowledging their support in the first game, despite being on the losing end of the scoreboard, to cap off a very special night in history.  The next morning, Ron Green, Sr., the long-time sports writer for The Charlotte Observer, would give his own take on the Hornets first game, stating that "It was a good day, the most exciting in Charlotte sports history.  As fine a day a city like this can hope to experience."  Experience was indeed the word of that night in November of 1988, and for those of us that were here at the time, or for those that weren't around, the night that the Charlotte Hornets took the floor for the first time would always be a special moment for all of us Charlotte and Carolina sports fans alike.  And if you're wondering who led the Hornets in the loss on November 4th, 1988, it was Tripucka and Kurt Rambis that scored 16 points each for Charlotte.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: Who are these guys?

Over the last 6 days, we have been chronicling the early years of the Charlotte Hornets franchise as we approach the 25th Anniversary of the team's first game. This time around, we'll talk about the most important thing a franchise needs, a head coach and some players that would make up the 1988-89 edition of the Charlotte Hornets.

Scheer begins an extensive hunt for a coach

Carl Scheer, who was hired as the first general manager of the Charlotte Hornets, would have a plan to look for a coach that would roam the sidelines of the Charlotte Coliseum for the Hornets first season, and after an extensive search, he would select Dick Harter, who was an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers at the time, to be the very first coach in Hornets history.  Harter had a background as an college and NBA coach, first breaking into the head coaching capacity at Rider University for a season, before leaving there to be the coach at Penn, where he spent 5 1/2 years as their coach.  His best years came during his time at the University of Oregon, where his teams were known as the "Kamikaze Kids" from 1971 until the time he left for Penn State University as it's head coach from 1978-83.

Harter made his NBA coaching debut as an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons in 1983 and served in that capacity until the 1986 season, where he moved to Indiana to serve as a Pacers assistant coach.  The extensive background that Harter had coaching in college and in the NBA was exactly what Carl Scheer and owner George Shinn had in mind during the search.  With the coach in place, the next thing the Hornets would add on to their list of needs to make the team work, a list of players, in the expansion draft and in the 1988 NBA Draft

Who are these guys?

On June 23, 1988, the Hornets, along with the Miami Heat, led by a group headed by Zev Buffman and former NBA player/coach and Charlotte native Billy Cunningham, participated in the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft.  The players that the Hornets and Heat were going to get came from previous established teams in the league.  Charlotte won the coin toss, allowing Miami to select first in the expansion draft, and Miami would take Arvid Kramer from the Dallas Mavericks.  Charlotte had the next pick in the draft, and the Hornets would select the player that would have a huge impact on basketball in Charlotte, Dell Curry, who was with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Another player that would be an integral part of the Hornets was Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues, who was picked 6th by Charlotte.  There was a few draft day trades during the expansion draft, and the Hornets were involved in one, as they sent Mike Brown, who was picked 8th by Charlotte, to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Kelly Tripucka.

In all, the Hornets picked 11 players in the expansion draft, and in the NBA Draft, held on June 28th, 1988, Charlotte used the 8th pick in the draft to select Rex Chapman out of the University of Kentucky.  Setting up the inaugural roster for the Charlotte Hornets to take the floor in 1988:

1988-89 Charlotte Hornets inaugural season roster

Forwards(5):
  • Kurt Rambis
  • Tim Kempton
  • Robert Reid
  • Brian Rowsom
  • Tom Tolbert
Guards(7):
  • Muggsy Bogues
  • Rex Chapman
  • Dell Curry
  • Rickey Green
  • Michael Holton
  • Ralph Lewis
  • Sidney Lowe
Centers(3):
  • Earl Cureton
  • Dave Hoppen
  • Greg Kite
The roster is set, the coaching staff has been assembled, and for the Charlotte Hornets, there was only one more thing left to do....play some basketball.  In the 7th and final chapter of this series, we will look back at the day that would live in Charlotte and Carolina sports history forever, as the Charlotte Hornets hit the floor for the first time as a team, as Charlotte would finally make the big time at last on that Friday night in November of 1988.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: The making of a mascot

In the first 4 chapters of our series looking back at the early years of the Charlotte Hornets franchise leading up to the 25th anniversary of the team's first game this upcoming Monday, we covered a lot of background of the Hornets franchise during it's infancy.  From George Shinn's intentions to bring a NBA franchise, to the day that Charlotte would join the NBA, to the team's decision to have a "Name-the-Team" contest which saw "Hornets" be the winning favorite, and we talked about Alexander Julian's involvement in designing the team's uniforms...all for some North Carolina barbecue.

In Part 5 of our series, we'll talk about the involvement of how the daughter of the "Muppets" creator, got to work on building a mascot from scratch.

The birth of "Hugo"

When the team was going to be known as the Charlotte Hornets, it was obvious that the team needed a mascot that fans of all ages can love, and they turned to the daughter of Jim Henson, the man responsible for creating the "Muppets" to come up with a mascot that would be the face of the Hornets franchise.

Cheryl Henson, the daughter of "Muppets" creator Jim Henson,
came up with the design for Hugo the Hornet.
The person that came up with the concept of the mascot was Cheryl Henson, who is the President and CEO of the Jim Henson Foundation.  After the team unveiled it's logo, designed by Jerrell Caskey of Hendrick Sportswear, that featured a teal and purple hornet dribbling a basketball, Henson wouldn't waste any time to come up with a design for the team's mascot.

When she finished up earning a degree in textile design, she first went to Alexander Julian to ask him for a job with his company, and he informed her that he wasn't hiring at the time he was designing the uniforms for the Hornets, and she asked Julian if she needed any help in designing the mascot.  The backstory of it was that Cheryl did a lot of work building the characters on "The Muppet Show" as a teenager.

She and Alex both agreed, and Cheryl would turn the logo into a full-bodied costume, done in of course, purple and teal, which was suggested by Julian, and she done the work on the costume by hand and she even hand-sculpted the head of the mascot, which would be known as "Hugo" by the time he made his debut on November 4, 1988.  The name was suggested by over 6,000 people, and another backstory to the name was that the name "Hugo" was chosen one year before Hurricane Hugo struck the Carolinas on September 22nd, 1989, as there was talk about changing the mascot's name, but a Hornets spokesman at the time said that "Hugo" will continue to be the name.

In Part 6 of our series, we'll talk about the core of every NBA team, a head coach, and players, and on Monday, we'll commemorate the anniversary with a look back at some of the hoopla from November 4th, 1988

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: Fashion, Basketball, and Barbecue

As we continue to lead up to the 25th Anniversary of the Charlotte Hornets first game this upcoming Monday, we are doing a look back at the early days of the Hornets franchise, from George Shinn assembling a "Band of Renegades" to bring Charlotte an NBA franchise, to the day when David Stern told Shinn that it wasn't a joke on April Fool's Day, 1987 that Charlotte made the cut, and in part 3 of this series, we talked about how Shinn wanted to give the fans what they want in a team name, with "Hornets" being the winning favorite in the "Name-the-Team" contest.

In this chapter of our series, we'll talk about how a famed clothing designer, with ties to our state, played a role in designing a uniform that would become one of the most recognizable looks in NBA history, and the little perk that he would get in return for designing the team's uniforms.

Fashion, Basketball and Barbecue?

There's a certain old saying that goes "Clothes make the man", and for the young Charlotte Hornets franchise, they need some colors and a jersey to make the team look great, so George Shinn enlisted famed clothing designer Alexander Julian to come up with some color combinations for the team's jerseys and colors.


Alexander Julian, who grew up in Chapel Hill and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is best known for creating the Colours by Alexander Julian fashion collection in 1981, and he was also known for the redesign of the University of North Carolina men's basketball team uniforms with the signature argyle pattern on the side of the jerseys upon the request of legendary head coach Dean Smith during the 1991-92 season. Julian also designed the jerseys and seating layout for the Charlotte Knights, a team that Shinn also owned at the time in 1990, the year that the Knights, who were affiliated with the Chicago Cubs and played in the Southern League at the time, began play at Knights Castle(later renamed Knights Stadium) in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

At one point in time during the uniform design process, Julian suggested that pink would one of the colors that the team would use, which did not please Shinn during a press conference when he announced that Julian would design the uniforms, and he was trying to decide if he would or would not use pink as one of the uniform colors.  He would go to the drawing board, and do a lot of brainstorming on some color combinations for the Hornets to use for their team colors and uniform design.  In the end, he decided that he would go with Teal, which was one of the newer colors at the time, saying that "Teal was idea to use because it was fresh and new and exciting and looked good on every color of skin tone."  said Julian. He also decided that Purple would be one of the Hornets colors to go along in the uniform design process.  He would also add in Kelly Green and Carolina Blue to the mix on the pinstripes and he would do some multi-color trims to round out the uniform design process.

And what would Alexander Julian get in return for the Hornets uniforms? Barbecue.  Why barbecue?  Because we all know that Barbecue is a way of life here in our state, and Alex would later go on to say that Shinn would send him 5 pounds of North Carolina Barbecue to his home in Connecticut, and the rest as they say, was history as Julilan's Hornets jerseys would mean a lot of historic significance, as he was the first fashion designer to design an NBA team's uniforms, while the Hornets would become the first team in history to wear Teal uniforms on the road.

In Part 5 of our series coming up, we'll put the spotlight on Cheryl Henson, the daughter of famed Muppets creator Jim Henson, as she would have the task of building a mascot from scratch.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: The Name Game

This upcoming Monday will mark the 25th anniversary of the Charlotte Hornets first game back on November 4, 1988, and we are looking back at some of the important and interesting milestones from the franchise's birth.  In the first chapter, we talked about how George Shinn went from being a janitor at a business school, to making millions as owner of Rutledge Education Systems, and to assembling a group of investors in a quest to bring an NBA team to Charlotte, and in part 2, we talked about how his speech to the NBA Board of Governors led up to the phone call from commissioner David Stern back in 1987.

Today, we'll discuss about how one name didn't warm up to those of us that were growing up here during that time, and how Shinn wanted to give the fans what the wanted to look for in a name for an NBA franchise.


What's in a Name?

"Lakers", "Yankees", "Cowboys", "Celtics", those are some of the legendary nicknames that we have come to known as sports fans, but here in Charlotte, it was a tale of 2 nicknames, one that was somewhat a bad decision, while the other would be all about a connection to our city's history.  Shortly after the NBA awarded Charlotte an expansion franchise, George Shinn and his group already selected a name for the new expansion team, called the Charlotte "Spirit"?  When that was first announced, some of the fans said "What kind of nickname was that?"  Well, according to legend, Shinn wanted to choose the name "Spirit" as a reflection of the city and it's people, and many said that the choice for the name wasn't pretty, but it was part of a marketing campaign the Charlotte group had in 1986 titled "Bring the NBA to basketball country."  After Shinn realized that the "Spirit" name wasn't taking off, he would give the fans what they want the Charlotte team to be called in something he would call "Spirited Voting".  So he enlisted the help of The Charlotte Observer for a "Name-the-Team" contest, and after thousands of Observer readers sent in their suggestions for their team name, it was pretty obvious that they wanted a name that can reflect the city's history and heritage, and in the end, they chose "Hornets" as the nickname for the team.

The meaning of the Hornets nickname

When Shinn announced that the team would be known as the Charlotte Hornets, it would take a lot of hard work dig up a lot of history of the team name, as well as the historic significance to the city itself.  The origins of the "Hornets" name trace to the Revolutionary War, and one of those battles that occurred was the Battle of the Bees, which occurred on October 3, 1780. In that battle, an estimated 450 British troops were attempting to load up on some supplies from McIntyre's Farm in the Northeast end of Mecklenburg County, but they were met by a group of 14 American patriots after the British Redcoats turned over several hornets nests, causing the British soldiers to elude from them, and along the way, the hidden American patriots saw their chance to strike and open fire, causing the British to retreat in the hopes that they were under attack from a significantly larger force.  After British general Charles Cornwallis left Charlotte on October 12, 1780, he would go on to say that Charlotte was "A veritable hornet's nest of rebellion."

The "Hornets" nickname was used by our city's minor-league baseball teams from 1901-73, and it was also the nickname of our city's short-lived World Football League franchise during the 1970's.  There was a lot of reasons why the "Hornets" nickname would be a good fit for the team, and they wanted to choose it to reflect the city's history, and I did a post about the history of the Hornets name back in July, when the city's current NBA team, the Charlotte Bobcats, was on the verge of reclaiming the Hornets name again, and you can read more about it here.

In our next installment of our series leading up to the 25th Anniversary of the Hornets first game, we'll talk about how Alexander Julian wanted to design the uniforms for some good-old fashioned North Carolina barbecue, and how the daughter of famed "Muppets" creator Jim Henson got into the act of designing and building a loveable mascot we would all fall in love with.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: The call that changed a city forever

As we continue to countdown to the observance of the 25th anniversary of the Charlotte Hornets inaugural game this upcoming Monday, we are taking a look back at the birth of the franchise, and how the city fell in love with the Hornets.  In part 1 of this six part series, we talked about how George Shinn made his millions as a self-made entrepreneur and how he assembled a band of renegades back in 1985 that would set out on a journey to bring Charlotte an NBA franchise.  In part 2 of this series, we'll talk about how Shinn impressed the NBA Board of Governors, and the call that would change the city forever on April Fool's Day, 1987.

How Shinn sold the NBA on Charlotte

George Shinn and his group would have to do a lot of hard work in order for Charlotte to secure an NBA franchise, and the next step in the process would have to be a presentation to the NBA Board of Governors in 1986 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Commissioner David Stern knew that he wanted Charlotte to be in the fold for an expansion franchise.  At one point, there was 11 cities that were in the running, and Charlotte was always last in the pickings, according to Shinn.

Then, came the presentation to the NBA Board of Governors, and in that speech, Shinn addressed the Board of Governors about why he and his group wanted Charlotte to have an NBA team in the first place, and the reasons why fans wanted to support the team when it would begin play in the 1988-89 season. He would go on to say that he had over 10,000 ticket deposits from those in Charlotte that signed up to be on a waiting list, and when the speech came to its conclusion, hall of fame coach Red Auerbach stood up and applauded, and he would hug him after he made his speech to the Board of Governors on that night in Phoenix.  A day later, a columnist for The Sacramento Bee said that "The only franchise Charlotte is going to get is one with Golden Arches", referring to the famed logo for McDonald's. Now, it was up to Stern to decide if Charlotte would make the cut for an expansion franchise.

The Charlotte Coliseum first opened it's doors on August 11, 1988, and it's 24,042 seating capacity would be one of the largest seating capacities in the NBA at that time.
Some of the experts knew that Charlotte would have a legitimate long shot to be in the running for an NBA expansion franchise, and Shinn's group had something called an "Ace in the Hole", and that ace in the hole was that Charlotte was already in the process of building the "New" Charlotte Coliseum, a $52 million dollar state-of-the-art 24,000-seat facility located off Tyvola Road in the western end of the city near Billy Graham Parkway and minutes away from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, at the time during the city's quest to land an NBA franchise.  Work on the "new" Coliseum began in August of 1985, and when the building was completed in time for it's grand opening on August 11th, 1988, the Charlotte Coliseum would have two unique distinctions: It's 24,042 seating capacity would serve as one of the largest seating capacities for an NBA team and would be the largest basketball-specific arena ever to serve as a full-time home for any NBA franchise.

The Call that wasn't no April Fool's prank

It was April Fool's Day, 1987, and it was the moment of truth for the people of Charlotte, and for George Shinn.  The culmination of a dream and a vision to bring an NBA franchise to Charlotte would be decided with just one phone call.  Then, out of the blue, David Stern called Shinn on April 5, 1987 and he said that "George, this is April Fool's Day, but this is no April Fool, you have been selected No. 1". That phone call would seal the deal for the NBA to arrive in Charlotte, and the Carolinas.  The other 3 cities that made the cut were Miami, Florida, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, and Orlando, Florida, as approved by the NBA Board of Governors back in June of 1987. Charlotte and Miami would be the first 2 teams to play in the 1988-89 season, while Minnesota and Orlando would begin play in the 1989-90 season.

I forgot to mention this in part one of our series about the Carolina Cougars role in Charlotte's hunt for an NBA franchise, that many of us here at the time thought we didn't have a chance to land an NBA team, but for those who grew up during the 1960's and into the 1970's we were one of three cities that served as the home for the old Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association, along with Raleigh and Greensboro, and it was one of the key parts of why George Shinn and his group wanted the NBA to have Charlotte in the picture of getting an NBA team.

In the next chapter of our series, we'll explain about why the "Spirit" name didn't turn out to be a good choice at first for the franchise and how Alexander Julian came into the fold to design the uniforms for the team.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Remembering the Charlotte Hornets 25 years later: A 7-part series

1988, A special year in history.  A cost of a gallon of milk was just $2.30, a postage stamp: only $0.25, and the cost for a gallon of regular gas would only be $1.08.  The number one song on the Billboard chart was "Groovy Kind of Love" by Phil Collins.

1988 was also a special year in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city of only 350,000 residents at the time, as Sue Myrick was sworn in as Charlotte's first and only female mayor, famed mosaic artist Romare Bearden, who grew up in our city, died at the age of 76, The Charlotte Observer won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the downfall of Jim Bakker and the PTL ministries, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's men's basketball team went back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1977, after the 49ers defeated Virginia Commonwealth University in the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship game.

But the date that many Charlotteans, as well as those in North and South Carolina will always remember will be Friday, November 4th, 1988, when the NBA's 24th franchise, the Charlotte Hornets, took the floor for the first time. It was the culmination of 4 1/2 years of planning and hard work for the man who had a vision to bring NBA basketball to our region, George Shinn, and in this series leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Hornets first game, we'll talk about how it all came together for Charlotte to become an NBA town. In the first of this series, we'll talk about George Shinn's role in putting it together, and his dreams of making Charlotte an NBA town a reality.

One Man's Vision

Shinn, who grew up in nearby Kannapolis, made a name for himself as the owner of Rutledge Education Systems. Prior to that, he worked as a janitor at Evans Business College, when he realized that when the school was in financial trouble, he stepped up and bought the school.  In 1985, He would put together a group of local investors, which included Rick Hendrick, the owner of Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group, Felix Sabates, who currently owns a Mercedes-Benz dealership, and media magnate Cy Bahakel, the founder of Bahakel Communications, owners of Charlotte's CW affiliate, WCCB.  Many of the critics said to themselves that our city could support an NBA team, and for one columnist for The Sacramento Bee said in his article that "The only franchise Charlotte is going to get is one with Golden Arches".  Shinn's first goal was to ultimately be a owner of a Major League Baseball franchise, and he said in an interview with Charlotte Magazine, which can be found HERE, it was Peter Ueberroth, who was at the time the commissioner of Major League Baseball told Shinn that the city was too small at the time to have a Major League Baseball franchise*.

That didn't stop him for continuing his lifelong dream to bring Charlotte a true major-league sports franchise, and to add some excitement to a state that truly loves its basketball with the "Big 4" teams of Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, and Wake Forest, as well as the college teams here locally, including Davidson, Johnson C. Smith, and UNC Charlotte. During that time, Charlotte was making a name for itself as one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States back in 1985, while the NBA announced it plans to expand, and Shinn indeed wanted to try his luck there, and after filing an application with the league for an expansion team, he had a long road ahead of him.  

In the next chapter of our series, we'll talk about the day Charlotte would get the call they've been waiting for, and in the days to come, we'll talk about how the name, uniforms, and mascot came together, as well as a roster of players that would become household names, leading up to next Monday's anniversary of the Charlotte Hornets first game.

*-Shinn's dream of becoming a baseball owner, a minor-league baseball owner to be exact, became a reality in 1987, when he bought the Double-A Charlotte O's, who were affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles and played in the Southern League at the time, from the Crockett Family and he renamed the team as the Charlotte Knights in 1988, and in 1989, he bought the Single-A Gastonia Rangers, who were affiliated with the Texas Rangers in the South Atlantic League. Shinn would own the Gastonia Rangers until 1992, when he sold the franchise to Don Beaver, who relocated the franchise to Hickory, North Carolina, where they would become what we now know today as the Hickory Crawdads.

As for the Charlotte Knights, Shinn would remain the team's owner until December of 1997, when once again, Don Beaver bought the franchise from Shinn, just like he did 5 years earlier in 1992, when he bought the Gastonia Rangers from Shinn.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Special Comment": Why Lamar Odom turned out to be a bad choice for the Bobcats in NBA 2K14

And now at the request of my boss, Jake Cook, a "Special Comment" about why Lamar Odom is a bad choice for the "Fake" Charlotte Bobcats in NBA 2K14 and the reason why he's been doing some weird things recently.  Over a month and a half ago, Jake Cook my friend and the so-called "Boss of all Bosses" at the place we both work at, "The Fake ESPN", did his NBA 2K14 Fantasy Draft and he had a plan to build one of the most dominant rosters to dominate the game once it comes out next month, and one of the picks that "The Boss" selected was a man by the name of Lamar Odom, who wanted to come to Charlotte to join the Bobcats empire that includes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Jackson, Seth Curry and a cast of thousands that wanted to run roughshod on the other teams in a run to another title in NBA 2K14, a game that we both now talk about besides our long-running chats talking about what's happening at "The Fake ESPN" in our adopted hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mr, Odom, you had a chance to play alongside LeBron and Carmelo, but there has been some rumors floating around that you are not the same man we both know today, but you are now a man who just doesn't want to do squat for the Bobcats in NBA 2K14.  YOU ARE A MAN THAT JUST DOESN'T GIVE A RATS BEHIND ABOUT PLAYING FOR THE TEAM IN THIS VIDEO GAME BECAUSE OF YOUR STRANGE WAYS AND NOT CARING FOR YOUR TEAMMATES AND OF COURSE YOUR SO-CALLED FAMOUS WIFE WHO SHARES THE LAST NAME OF A EMPIRE THAT RULES THE UNIVERSE, AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR THE BOBCATS AFTER JAKE "THE BOSS" COOK SELECTED YOU IN THE DRAFT, NOT ONE DARN THING!!  YOU HAVE TURNED INTO A DERANGED HUMAN BEING THAT'S BEEN INVOLVED IN SEVERAL DRUG ABUSE SCANDALS AND HIDING OUT TO STAY AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC BECAUSE YOU JUST DON'T CARE ABOUT PLAYING BASKETBALL AND BEING A CELEBRITY ANYMORE, YOU HAVE BECOME A QUITTER A Q-U-I-T-T-E-R!

LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, MR. LAMAR ODOM, YOU HAVE BECOME A SELLOUT, A QUITTER, AND AN ABSOLUTE FAILURE IN THE NBA 2K14 FANTASY LEAGUE BECAUSE YOU JUST DON'T WANT TO PLAY THE GAME ANYMORE, THAT'S RIGHT! YOU DON'T WANT TO PLAY THE GAME OF BASKETBALL AND HELP THE "FAKE" BOBCATS WIN ANOTHER TITLE IN NBA 2K14 AND YOU WANT TO JUST GIVE UP AND DECLARE TO THE WORLD THAT "I'M THE BIGGEST FAILURE IN THE HISTORY OF BASKETBALL!" THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE, MR. ODOM, THE BIGGEST FAILURE IN ALL OF NBA 2K14 BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE THE CENTER OF ALL ATTENTION WITH ALL THE RUMORS SURROUNDING YOUR TROUBLED MARRIAGE AND THE DRUG ABUSE CONTROVERSIES AND OF COURSE, YOU HIDING IN A SECRET HIDING SPOT THAT YOU DON'T WANT THE MEDIA TO KNOW BECAUSE YOU ARE VERY LONELY AND A VERY TROUBLESOME MAN!  YOU ARE A TROUBLESOME MAN THAT IS DYING TO SAY "I QUIT", WELL IF YOU WANT TO QUIT, THEN JUST QUIT, BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO JOIN THE "FAKE" BOBCATS IN NBA 2K14, AND IF THAT FAILS, THEN, I DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO SAY BUT THIS TO YOU, MR. ODOM: SCREW YOU, SCREW YOU LAMAR ODOM FOR BEING THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT IN NBA 2K14 AND WE DON'T WANT YOU TO WEAR ANOTHER TEAM'S UNIFORM IN THIS DARN GAME, PERIOD!

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

The views and opinions expressed in this "Special Comment" do not necessarily reflect those of "The Fake ESPN", and it's staff and management.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Special Comment: How I feel about Jake "The Boss" Cook's Bobcats NBA 2K14 roster


And now, at the request of Jake "The Boss" Cook over at "The Fake ESPN", a "Special Comment" on the star-studded Charlotte Bobcats roster in NBA 2K14, and my take on this roster and how it will impact the other teams in the game.  Over the last few days, my boss, Jake has been doing his so-called Fantasy Draft for the upcoming NBA 2K14 game, which is slated to come out in 2 months from now, and he always counted on me to do some analysis on the picks in each of his 12 rounds of the NBA 2K14 fantasy draft, and the end result of it was a star-studded Charlotte Bobcats roster that could be one of the toughest teams in NBA 2K14.  I have talked about each of the players that made up his roster for the different teams in the game, but there was one roster that turned out to be star studded.

IT WAS A BLOCKBUSTER ROSTER THAT NO ONE AND I MEAN NO ONE HASN'T HAD THE BALLS TO COMMENT ON AFTER ME AND "BOSS" DID EACH OF OUR ANALYSIS ON EACH OF THE PICKS! LOOK AT THE ROSTER, ANCHORED BY ONE OF THE MOST DOMINANT NAMES IN THE NBA, LEBRON JAMES, WHO SAID HE WANTED TO TAKE HIS TALENTS TO CHARLOTTE AND TO BUILD UP A ROSTER THAT COULD BEAT THE LIVING H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS OUT OF EVERYONE ELSE IN NBA 2K14 AND WHAT DID HE DID TO BUILD UP HIS DREAM ROSTER, HE CALLED ON CARMELO ANTHONY TO JOIN THEM TOO, YES THE CARMELO ANTHONY AND TO FORM A SUPERTEAM THAT CAN BEAT ANYONE ELSE BY 20, 30, 40 , 50, HECK EVEN 70 FOR GOOD MEASURE, AND THEY SAID TO THEMSELVES, AND I QUOTE "WE SHOULD FORM A ULTIMATE BIG 3 THAT CAN TAKE ON EVERYONE" AND DARN RIGHT THEY DID AND THIS SO-CALLED ALLIANCE COULD BUILD UP AND BUILD UP WITH GOOD TALENTED PLAYERS LIKE SETH CURRY, LUKE ZELLER, LAMAR ODOM, BARON DAVIS, STEPHEN JACKSON, GREG ODEN, AND A CAST OF CHARACTERS THAT WANT TO JOIN A CHARLOTTE BOBCATS TEAM THAT COULD WIN OVER 50, 60, 70, HECK GO 82-0, IF THAT'S GONNA HAPPEN, BUT THE WAY I SEE IT, THIS ROSTER IS A DARN GOOD ONE OUT OF ALL THE ROSTERS IN NBA 2K14 LIKE ME AND "BOSS" TALKED ABOUT DURING THE FANTASY DRAFT PROCESS!

IF I WAS A TEACHER, I WOULD GIVE THEM A GRADE OF A+ BECAUSE YOU SIR, "BOSS" COOK, HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH MAKING A ROSTER OF TALENTED PLAYERS THAT COULD SPARK A WAR IN NBA 2K14 WITH THE OTHER TEAMS THAT COULD GIVE THE BOBCATS A  RUN FOR THEIR MONEY IN THIS GAME, AND THE WAY I SEE IT IS THIS: THIS ROSTER IS ONE THAT WILL BE TALKED ABOUT FOREVER.  A ROSTER THAT HAS MADE A NAME FOR ITSELF IN THE FANTASY DRAFT, AND MAKING IT TOUGH FOR THE OPPONENTS ONCE NBA 2K14 COMES OUT!  WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELVES, OTHER 29 TEAMS IN NBA 2K14? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT JAKE'S BOBCATS ROSTER NOW???? I KNOW SOME OF YOU ARE SAYING "THIS ROSTER IS TOO WEAK!" WELL I HAVE NEWS FOR YOU, ITS NOT WEAK, IT'S STRONG, SO STRONG MOST OF THE PEOPLE HAVE GIVEN IT ITS STAMP OF APPROVAL SAYING THAT "THIS ROSTER IN NBA 2K14 IS ONE OF THE MOST TALKED ABOUT ROSTERS IN THIS GAME.

In closing, I am satisfied with this roster, and for everyone else that is hoping to beat the Charlotte Bobcats in NBA 2K14, be afraid. BE VERY AFRAID. Good Night, and Good Luck.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bobcats Extra: A history of the "Hornets" name in Charlotte

Tomorrow will be the day we've been all waiting for, as this city will finally welcome the Hornets name back to town after almost 12 long years, as the NBA Board of Governors are expected to give the green light for the Charlotte Bobcats to change its name to the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014-15 season.  Of course, our city's first NBA team was called by that name from its inception in 1988 until the time they moved to New Orleans in 2002.  I was around during the time the original Charlotte Hornets got started, and followed them until that heartbreaking day they left for New Orleans.  For those of us that haven't lived here in Charlotte around the time the original Hornets played here, and didn't know what the "Hornets" nickname was all about, here is a little history lesson for you about the history of the Hornets nickname in Charlotte, and it goes a little something like this.

"The Battle of the Bees"

The roots of the "Hornets" nickname trace back the 18th century, and it's roots can be traced to the "Battle of the Bees", which took place on October 3, 1780, when a group of 450 British soldiers were attempting to load up supplies from McIntyre's Farm in the Northeast end of Mecklenburg County, until one of the Redcoats unexpectedly turned over a hornet's nest, sending the enraged insects into a angry swarm, causing the British soldiers to elude from them, while the 14 American patriots saw their chance to strike and open fire, causing the British to retreat in a hope that they were under attack from a significantly larger force.  After British general Charles Cornwallis left Charlotte, he would state that Charlotte was "A veritable hornet's nest of rebellion."

Charlotte Hornets Baseball(1901-1973)

The first use of the "Hornets" nickname for Charlotte's sports teams occurred back in 1901, when the Charlotte baseball Hornets, a minor-league baseball team, took the field for the first time.  The Charlotte baseball Hornets was at one point the farm team of the old Washington Senators from 1937-1942 and again from 1947-72 and later the Minnesota Twins from 1961-73.  The team captured 11 league titles, and had many players that played at what was then Clark Griffith Park(later Crockett Park/Knights Park) on Magnolia Avenue in the Historic South End portion of Charlotte, including Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Graig Nettles, and Rick Dempsey.  The team played until 1973 and the Hornets left Charlotte after that season, leaving the city without minor-league baseball until 1976, when the Charlotte O's arrived.  They would eventually become what we know know today as the Charlotte Knights.

Charlotte Hornets football(1974-75)

In 1974, the World Football League's New York Stars would relocate to Charlotte in the 1974 season and played out that remainder of the season as the Charlotte Stars, before changing its name to the Charlotte Hornets, and it was the first major-league team to call Charlotte home.  They played all their games at American Legion Memorial Stadium on Kings Drive.  The team would play until 1975, when the World Football League was ceased to exist.




Charlotte Hornets(1988-2002)

It would take 13 years for Charlotte to secure another major-league franchise, and under the vision of Kannapolis, NC native George Shinn, he would make it happen, transforming Charlotte from a small, sleepy Southern town, into a NBA hotbed.  At one point in time, the franchise was originally going to  be called the Charlotte "Spirit", but many fans didn't like that suggestion at all, so in 1987, he held another "Name-the-Team" contest and "Hornets" was the favorite, since it had a historical significance to our great city.  It would become one of the most popular brands in all of pro sports in the late-1980's and into the 1990's because of its purple and teal color scheme and the uniforms that were designed by Chapel Hill native Alexander Julian, and of course a teal and purple mascot named "Hugo", not to mention players that would become household names, such as Muggsy Bogues, Dell Curry, Kendall Gill, Larry Johnson, Kelly Tripucka, J.R. Reid, Alonzo Mourning, Johnny Newman, Baron Davis, David Wesley, and Jamal Mashburn. The original Hornets sold out 364 straight games at the Charlotte Coliseum off of Tyvola Road, which has since been demolished, and led the league in attendance in eight out of ten years.  But in the team's final years, things didn't go the way things planned for the Charlotte Hornets, and after a referendum was voted down, Shinn and his partner at the time, Ray Woodridge, moved the team from Charlotte to New Orleans in 2002, taking the "Hornets" name with them as well.

New Orleans Hornets(2002-2013)

Upon relocating to New Orleans, the team kept the Hornets name, and fans were hungry to finally see NBA basketball return to the "Crescent City", while we fans here in Charlotte went through a long withdrawal without NBA basketball The Hornets made their debut in New Orleans, Louisiana back in 2002, with some of the same players that were held over from the team's final years here in Charlotte.  In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the city, and the devastation was heartbreaking for those in the city, and the team would eventualy play 2 seasons as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, as they played half of their games in Oklahoma City, before returning to New Orleans full-time in 2007.  Then in April of 2012, Tom Benson, who also owns the NFL's New Orleans Saints, bought the team from the NBA(Shinn sold the team to the league in 2010), and hinted at a possible name change to better suit the people of New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana, so he settled on "Pelicans", named after the Louisiana state bird, triggering off discussions of a possible return of the "Hornets" name back home to Charlotte.

The return of the Buzz to Charlotte
 
Once the switch was made in New Orleans, the talk about Charlotte possibly getting the Hornets name back swirled throughout not only the city, but throughout North and South Carolina as well. A grassroots movement called "Bring Back the Buzz" was launched to urge the Bobcats to take back the "Hornets" name, while over the last few months, and weeks, many ex-Charlotte Hornets players announced that they would go "All in" and back the name change from Bobcats to Hornets. Then on May 21st of this year, Bobcats chairman Michael Jordan announced that the organization filed an application to the NBA league office to change the franchise's name from the Bobcats to the Hornets, and NBA deputy commissioner/commissioner-designate Adam Silver said repeatedly that he sees no problem with the league approving the name change since the league owns the rights to the "Charlotte Hornets" name, and it could take 18 months to make the change official, as the league's Board of Governors will vote on this matter tomorrow.

And there you have it, a somewhat abridged history of the "Hornets" name and its connections to Charlotte as we await the much-anticipated stamp of approval by the NBA Board of Governors tomorrow to give us the green light to change the name of the franchise from the Charlotte Bobcats to the Charlotte Hornets in time for the 2014-15 season.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Special Comment: I am mad and upset that we missed out on getting the #1 pick in the draft.

And now at the request of my friend and "Boss" Jake Cook, another "Special Comment" about why the Charlotte Bobcats didn't get the number 1 pick and settling for the 4th pick and why are we not getting any love in the lottery over the last couple of seasons.  Last week we once again entered the dreaded NBA Draft  Lottery hoping that we would get the #1 pick on the same night that Michael Jordan announced that he was changing the team's name to the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014-15 campaign. We were keeping our fingers crossed hoping that we would get the top pick overall, but we settled for a disappointing 4th as the Cleveland Cavaliers locked up the top spot and continuing our so-called curse of not getting the top pick.  I WAS SO MAD, I WAS ABOUT TO FLIP OVER MY CHAIR AND CURSE THE YOU-KNOW-WHAT OUT OF THIS OUTRAGE THAT TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY NIGHT ONCE THE DRAFT LOTTERY ENDED! IT WAS DISAPPOINTING, HURTFUL AND MORE IMPORTANTLY UPSETTING THAT THIS TEAM, THE CHARLOTTE BOBCATS DID NOT GET THE COVETED TOP PICK IN THE NBA DRAFT! THIS IS THE REASON WHY WE AREN'T GETTING ANY LOVE WHEN WE ENTER THE NBA DRAFT LOTTERY AFTER ONE DISAPPOINTING SEASON TOO MANY, LIKE THIS SEASON WHEN WE FINISHED A DISMAL 21-61 THUS ENDING THE FAILED EXPERIMENT OF MIKE DUNLAP!

THE DRAFT LOTTERY HAS NOT TREATED US WELL OVER THESE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, AND I AM SO SICK OF NOT SEEING US AT THE NUMBER ONE SPOT IN THIS MESS KNOWN AS THE NBA DRAFT LOTTERY AND AS A FAN, I AM STILL DISAPPOINTED IN NOT GETTING THE NUMBER ONE OVERALL PICK. HECK, IF WE DID HAD THAT PICK, WE WOULD BE SITTING ON TOP OF THE BASKETBALL UNIVERSE, BUT NO! WE ARE STILL A BUNCH OF "CELLAR-DWELLERS"! CELLAR-DWELLERS, YOU UNDERSTAND! WE ARE ALWAYS NEAR THE BOTTOM OR AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LEAGUE WHENEVER WE HAVE A LOSING SEASON, THAT'S A CASE THAT WE'VE BEEN SEEING HERE IN CHARLOTTE OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, AND AS A FAN OF THIS TEAM SINCE THE BEGINNING, WE HAVE NEVER GOTTEN THAT CHANCE!

I am still not sold on us getting that 4th pick in the NBA Draft, and as a fan, it makes no sense that this draft lottery that took place on Tuesday was absolutely rigged so the Cleveland Cavaliers can steal that spot and put another dent in our misery when we enter the NBA Draft Lottery because of those ping-pong balls that tell us if our team will improve or fail in the next season, and once the verdict came down for us, it was going to be another long failing season.  IN MY WORLD, IT WAS COMPLETELY A DISGRACEFUL DISAPPOINTING DRAFT LOTTERY BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL LOOKING AT US AS THE LAUGHINGSTOCK OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION, A TITLE WE'VE BEEN HAVING SINCE 2004, AND HECK, THE LOTTERY WAS RIGGED LAST YEAR AND IT WAS AGAIN LAST WEEK! LOOK AT THE 2012 DRAFT LOTTERY, WE HOPED TO GET THE NUMBER ONE PICK, BUT NOOO! IT WAS TOM BENSON, WHO TOOK OVER THE NOW NEW ORLEANS PELICANS THAT WANTED TO GET THAT PICK AND RUB IT IN OUR FACE! THIS YEAR, IT WAS "LITTLE NICKY" GILBERT, SON OF DAN GILBERT THAT WANTED TO CONTINUE THE BOBCATS MISERY OF NOT BEING ABLE TO GET THAT TOP SPOT IN THE NBA DRAFT LOTTERY!

The drama that took place on Tuesday was a disaster for us, but let's hope we can put that 4th pick in the NBA Draft to good use.  Good Night, and Good Luck.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Special Comment: Why the Bobcats deserved to get blamed for the firing of Mike Dunlap.

And now at the request of Jake Cook, a "Special Comment" on how I feel about the firing of Mike Dunlap and how it has become a mess for the Charlotte Bobcats.  After watching last Wednesday night's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the regular-season finale, the Charlotte Bobcats avoided being "The worst team in the NBA", and what did they do to deserve it, firing a man who was only 1 year into his first experience as an NBA head coach, and as a fan of this team, it was uncalled for, distasteful, and down right ridiculous.

It was so ridiculous, a lot of the fans were showing their disbelief on the message boards saying that "This team is a joke, we're still not supporting them anymore", and "I'll never root for this team until this team becomes the "Hornets" once again!"  Those are the words coming from a fanbase that's been dubbed "The worst fan base in the NBA" in a city like Charlotte, a city that's primarily dominated by the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the American Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers, but this city is still one of the worst NBA cities in the league since the downfall of yes, the Charlotte Hornets back in 2002.  This is one of the worst publicity moves I have seen as a fan, and I am mad, upset, and angry at what they did last week! IT WAS SO DOWN RIGHT PATHETIC, PATHETIC WITH A CAPITAL "P"!  YOU SIR, MR. DUNLAP HAD NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER OF BEING A FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACH WITH NO NBA COACHING EXPERIENCE, JUST LIKE SAM VINCENT, HE HAD NO DARN BUSINESS OF RUNNING A TEAM INTO THE GROUND JUST LIKE YOU DID, MR. DUNLAP! YOU HAD EXPECTATIONS OF TURNING THINGS AROUND THIS PAST SEASON, BUT WHAT I SAW WAS A TEAM GIVING UP ON EACH OTHER, AND ITS FANS NOT SHOWING ANY LOVE FOR YOU IN YOUR FIRST YEAR AS AN NBA COACH!  IT WAS YOUR FAULT THAT THE FANS DIDN'T WARM UP TO YOU THIS PAST SEASON, AND THE WAY I SEE IT IS THAT YOU DESERVED TO GET THE BLAME AROUND HERE AFTER A DISAPPOINTING 21-61 MARK IN YOUR FIRST YEAR AS AN NBA COACH!

Another person that we should blame for this mess is of course, Michael Jordan, YOU HAD NO BUSINESS OF FIRING DUNLAP IN THE FIRST PLACE! WHAT YOU DID EARLIER THIS WEEK  WAS UNCALLED FOR AND I AM TRULY DISAPPOINTED IN WHAT YOU DID TO FIRE DUNLAP SINCE I KNEW THAT DUNLAP WAS GOING TO FAIL IN HIS FIRST FULL SEASON AS A COACH IN THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION COACHING 82 REGULAR SEASON GAMES THAT SHOULD'VE BEEN CAPITALIZED INTO WINS! W-I-N-S,  BUT NOOOOOO! THEY DIDN'T THINK AS A TEAM, THEY DIDN'T PLAY HARD AS A TEAM, HECK, ALL THEY WANTED TO DO IS LOSE AS A TEAM!

LOOK AT WHAT YOUR FAN BASE IS DOING THESE DAYS, THEY'VE BEEN PRAYING AND HOPING THAT THIS CITY GETS THE "HORNETS" NAME BACK AS PART OF A GROWING CRUSADE CALLED "BRING BACK THE BUZZ", WHILE OTHERS HAVE DECIDED TO SHOW THEIR LOYALTY TO THIS CITY'S HOCKEY TEAM, THE CHECKERS SINCE THEY CARE ABOUT WINNING IN THIS TOWN, A TOWN THAT HAS BEEN NOTHING MORE THAN A MINOR-LEAGUE SPORTS TOWN THESE DAYS, OVERSHADOWING BY THE NFL'S CAROLINA PANTHERS, AND NASCAR, BUT WE BOBCATS FANS KNOW THAT WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!  WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT BY FINDING A COACH THAT CAN LAY DOWN THE LAW NIGHT IN AND NIGHT OUT NEXT SEASON SO WE CAN GET A DIFFERENT RESULT AND FINDING A COACH THAT CAN GET OUR PLAYERS A CHANCE TO PLAY HARD FOR THE CITY THEY PLAY FOR ON THE FRONT ON THE JERSEY!

IN CLOSING, THIS FIRING HAS BEEN A TOUGH ONE TO SWALLOW, BUT I BELIEVE, I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT THIS TEAM KNOWN AS THE CHARLOTTE BOBCATS CAN LOOK THEMSELVES IN THE MIRROR COME DRAFT TIME, ONCE THEY GET A NEW COACH IN PLACE, AND THEY BETTER PLAY HARD IN THE 2013-14 SEASON....OR ELSE!  GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK!