Dear Kemba Walker

Picture via Hornets.com

Dear Kemba Walker,

As a life long Hornets fan and someone who will be with this team until the day I die or (God forbid) they leave Charlotte again, I just wanted you to know that we appreciate you more than you could possibly Imagine.

The last 16 years have been rough for NBA fans in the Queen City. We lost our team, got one back and frankly haven’t done anything right besides bring the Hornets name back and draft you. You came to us at the lowest point in our franchise, witnessed a 7 win season and honestly we didn’t know that you would one day become the unquestionable “Greatest Hornet of All-Time”.

Now I would like to unpack the phrase “Greatest Hornet of All-Time” because I think people get lost in the talent/skill debate and ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to you and Charlotte.

I love this team and you on it BUT I find it hard to imagine that when you were in college and daydreaming about your NBA career that you were fantasizing about a small market southern town and being a Bobcat. I see the glimmer of excitement in your eyes when the Bronx Boy plays in Madison Square Garden… and seeing that gives me one of the most complicated emotions I have ever experienced as a sports fan.

I must admit to myself that there is a small part of me that says “Go on. Leave here and be great Kemba.” As much as it would hurt to lose you from my team I would feel like a proud father to see you in an organization that had a chance, fought hard and that helped, not hindered you from winning.

We saw you take contracts that were not in your favor and stay in Charlotte with the promise that we would put the pieces around you to succeed. I want you to know that we saw that. I want you to know that we saw you fight to bring players here in free agency. I want you to know that we saw you come in for D.J. Augustin and work your ass off to go from 12 to 23 points a game. We saw that. We saw you hit buzzer beater after buzzer beater and we screamed as if it were a championship. We saw you win us our first playoff game in 14 years. We saw you become an All-Star and we swelled with pride as you took the court. We saw you break franchise record after franchise record knowing you had earned every single one and when you cried… we cried too.

Kemba, we haven’t really deserved you. We didn’t know what you would become when we drafted you, but there is no question that you have sacrificed and fought harder than anyone before you for the Teal & Purple, Charlotte and the Hornets name. These sacrifices, your ability to give us fans hope and your skills are why YOU ARE THE GREATEST CHARLOTTE HORNET OF ALL-TIME.

We don’t know what our future holds but do know that this your team. This is your city and one day we will all stand with our families and look up as the number 15 is raised into the rafters, in it’s rightful place next to 13.

Thank You Kemba Walker.

Love,

A Charlotte Hornets Fan, A Kemba Walker Fan


Letter was inspired by the “Letter to Kemba Walker” that you can read here. via Hornets.com

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The Charlotte Hornets 2017-18 Awards

Written by Andrew Waters

As the NBA regular season is coming to an end, it is now time to look back on the 2017-2018 season. Through all the ups and downs, the Charlotte Hornets have had their fair share of nominees for regular season awards.

Defensive Player of the YearDwight Howard

It seems like ex-GM Rich Cho made one great transaction other than drafting Kemba Walker during his tenure. After being acquired in the 2017 offseason, there was speculation at the beginning of the season into whether or not Dwight Howard could bounce back from his down year in Atlanta. But, he has shown this year that he still deserves to be one of the best defenders in the league. This season, Howard has averaged 16.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game.He is sixth in blocks per game, and second in total blocks, behind superstar Anthony Davis..His numbers aren’t the only thing that makes him an elite defender. His mere presence in the paint forces opponents to question driving inside. This mental aspect of opponents has helped improved the Hornets’ defense from mediocre, to exceptional.

Honorable mentions- Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, Treveon Graham

Coach of the YearStephen Silas

When Hornets head coach Steve Clifford went down with a health scare in December of 2017, fans of the team had called the season quits. But, the work of one Stephen Silas rejuvenated the team as well as the fanbase. Throughout his stint as interim head coach, Silas recorded a 9-13 record in the twenty-four games coached. The reason why Silas should be the teams’ coach of the year is because he did not let the Hornets fall off a cliff. Throughout NBA history, there are cases of which interim head coach completely turned a team from modest to the bottom of the league. This is most recently seen in J.B Bickerstaff and the Memphis Grizzlies. Essentially, Silas could have brought the Hornets down to that level of unsuccessful play. Despite this,he helped the Hornets remain float and had a modest thirty-eight percent as an interim coach. The reason why this award isn’t attributed the Steve Clifford is that he yet again placed the Hornets in a situation where they’re outside of the playoffs looking in, through the dire stretch of the regular season.

Most Improved/ 6th Man of the YearJeremy Lamb

With more playing time,and improvement over the offseason, Jeremy Lamb looked ready to go as a quality bench player. However, during the preseason, Hornet’s guard Nic Batum suffered a torn ligament in his left elbow that sidelined him for six weeks.Clifford quickly called on Lamb to fill in at the starting two.As hoped for, Jeremy Lamb busted onto the scene for the start of the 2017-2018 season.He scored fifteen points in the first game against Detroit. He would follow that up with eight straight games of seventeen or more points per game. He also scored a career-high twenty-seven points against the San Antonio Spurs. When Batum came back six weeks later and Lamb was forced to go on the bench, he still balled out. This year Lamb was third on the team with 13.2 points, and fourth on the team in steals per game, 0.85. He is also third on the team in assists per game with 2.3 His steals per game and three-point percentage is all career highs for Lamb.

Lamb has come from a laughable bust draft pick to a skilled versatile scorer. From sitting on the bench the majority of the game to averaging more than 12 points per game. There is no doubt that he is the team’s’ most improved player.

Honorable mentions- Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller

Least Improved Player of the Year Nic Batum

If Nic Batum has proved one thing this season, it is that he isn’t the player he used to be. After having a solid two years in the Queen City, Batum took a major step back this season.This year Batum averaged lows in points, assists, and rebounds. Throughout the season it felt as if he was afraid to be aggressive, especially towards the clutch situations of the ball game. Sure, he has not had the healthiest of seasons with the UCL tear in the preseason. Even with his injury, Batum has shown the lack of efficiency in the major three areas of basketball. This is very concerning for the Hornets organization as Batum is the second highest paid player on the team with the salary of $23.4 million. Here’s to a new and improved 2018-2019 Batum.

Honorable mentions- Michael Carter-Williams, Marvin Williams

Most Valuable PlayerKemba Walker

There is no doubt that the Hornets’ MVP is Kemba Walker. He put up another all-star season by averaging 22.7 and 5.8 assists per game. He has single-handedly carried this Hornets team time and time again this year. Night in and night out Kemba seems to consistently play on an efficient and elite level. It sometimes feels like he is the only one that can provide scoring on the court in certain situations.On top of this, Walker has accomplished scoring forty points in multiple games. This season, Kemba scored his ninth three-pointer in a game, which is a franchise record. Walker also achieved the most threes in a Hornets career, passing the great Dell Curry. Kemba Walker is the only reason why the Hornets aren’t in contention for the top five pick in this years’ draft; and for that, he is the undisputed MVP of the team.

Honorable mention- Dwight Howard

Did You Know?: Why Magic Johnson Is Wearing a Hornets Shirt.

Magic Johnson (Left), Steve Martin (Right)

You look at this picture and the first question you ask yourself after “Where did Steve Martin get that kick-ass tie?” is “Why is Magic Johnson wearing a Charlotte Hornets shirt?”

Let’s take a time machine back to March 10, 1989. It’s a Friday night in a very young Charlotte when nothing in town is more exciting than going to the Hive. The home team may only have 15 wins and a whopping 45 losses but it’s our team and the red hot Los Angeles Lakers are coming to town for the first time. This is our first chance to see super stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and of course the incredible Magic Johnson. 

We proceed to get our butt’s kicked 123-90 (Box Score)

BUT this is exciting stuff. We are being introduced to the NBA and the Hornets organization still knew how to entertain their guests. One of the tricks they had up there sleeves was even when the Hornets lost they would sit down with the “star of the game” or the superstar of the opposing team on the court and do a post game interview. Who better to corral than Magic Johnson?!

An almost 10,000 estimated people stuck around to hear the interview between Steve Martin and Magic Johnson. Magic knew we were fresh on the NBA scene and decided to humor the crowd by throwing on the Charlotte Hornets shirt which was greeted by roaring applause and cheers… You couldn’t do that today.     

Losing Kemba Would be Catastrophic to the Hornets Fanbase

26232661_1620100248076425_3038207116099389908_oIt’s always good to remind yourself of where you’ve come from and why you started. In the case of Bring Back the Buzz it was started 7 years ago out of a place of necessity. Returning the Hornets name was never pitched from us as a way to save the franchise but more as a form of life support to buy this franchise some time to figure things out on the court. 7 years ago the branding was horrible, the team was horrible and the city was apathetic. Fast forward 7 years, the branding is really good,  the team is sinking below mediocrity and the city’s interest is waning.

Since 2002 (16 years) this city has seen their beloved franchise leave, a new one come in 2 years later and in 14 years have 3 playoff appearances, no series wins, and never finish above 6th place in the East. This same franchise has also managed to have 6 coaches in 14 years, 3 branding changes and one complete rebrand. This city has also seen this same team try to tank (like really tank, like the worst team in NBA history level tank) only to be robbed of the number one pick, and has seen them attempt to build in free agency only to go from terrible to mediocre. Oh, and in that time frame, Charlotte also managed to have an All-Star game taken away from us and given to the very city that took our number 1 pick. All this translates to no identity, no consistency and nothing for this fanbase to attach to. This city desperately wants an NBA team to support and has in all honesty been extremely supportive given how crappy the team has been for over a decade and a half.

With all this being said, the only bright spot has been Kemba Walker. Kemba Walker is on pace to go down as the greatest Hornet of all-time and now rumors have been circulating for weeks that the only way to fix this current situation is to trade Kemba. The idea of trading Kemba genuinely scares me, not because I’m that attached to the idea of him as a Hornet, but removing him from this team literally gives this fanbase absolutely NOTHING to hold on to and no reason to come watch them play. The “be happy you have an NBA team” has been used as a reason to support them for far too long and no longer works in a city that has increasingly more and more to do in it every day (not to mention since the Panthers showed up in 95, the Hornets have been playing second fiddle).

Kemba is not just the most talented person on the Hornets but he has also been the heart and soul of this team for a long time. That would be like if Cam Newton(talent) would’ve left the same year Steve Smith (heart and soul) did. Also, let’s say we trade Kemba, and receive draft picks and young players to develop… what evidence has this current front office given that they have any idea on how to pick talent or develop it?

I don’t envy the Charlotte Hornets, something needs to change but they’ve tried free agency and tanking and showed they are capable of neither. So now they find themselves in a situation where they are on the brink of missing the playoffs again in a city that can’t withstand much more bad basketball let alone the removal of the greatest player the city has ever had.

Oh, sidenote…stop complaining about marketing changes (new uniforms, 30th Anniversary patches, new courts…whatever) and using the excuse, “this team needs to focus on basketball”. Do you realize how dumb that sounds? Those 2 things are not mutually exclusive! The marketing department has absolutely NO input on the day to day basketball operations and visa versa. The marketing department is tasked with the responsibility of maintaining interest surrounding the team regardless of what is happening on the court and with the exceptions of a few things they are doing a great job.

Hornets Turn 30 with Big Plans for Next Year

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that the organization will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the inaugural 1988-89 season during the 2018-2019 NBA campaign.

The Hornets will be unveiling new Classic Edition uniforms during “Classic Nights”. The team will also be providing fans with the opportunity to vote on the “30th Anniversary” team (basically the All-Hornets team). So start thinking about who you think are the greatest Hornets of all-time.

The Hornets also unveiled a beautiful 30th Anniversary logo. The logo looks exactly like something the first stint of Hornets would’ve used.

There will be plenty of merchandise in the team store with the new 30th Anniversary logo on it available for purchase as early as today.

Player Only Fans are Back in Buzz City

This has been a rough start to the Hornets season, and the fans are struggling to deal with it as expected. All over Hornets Twitter and in Facebook groups there is discussions of trades, arguments on who should shoulder the blame, and questions of what to do next. Yet there is a new type of fan involved in many of these discussions, and to be honest I have no clue of how to understand them. Before we dive into them though, I want to take you back to my childhood so you get a better picture of me as a fan.

I grew up in a small town 40 miles south of Seattle, and I bled Sonics Green and Yellow. Many of my favorite sports memories involve the now extinct NBA franchise that ruled Seattle sports in the late 1990’s. My Dad and I went to a few games a year, but i never missed them on TV. I had NBA fever and I had it bad, I grew up listening to Kevin Calabro on the call, and still get chills when I hear his voice doing the occasional national broadcast. I wrote my 7th grade paper on the history of the team ( I got an A by the way) and could recite every player on the roster, where they went to college and their height and weight. My favorite player was Shawn Kemp, the Reignman posters covered my walls and I pretended I was him on the playground. I used to tape the games on the VCR (Go ask your parents what that is) and breakdown the plays. I had his jersey and wore it all the time to the point the numbers began to unstitch. I can still feel the disappointment when we lost to the Bulls in the Finals in 96, I was 18 years old and a young man, and I cried.  Nothing prepared me for what happened the following year though, on September 25th 1997 my favorite player since I was 11, was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers……for some bum named Vin Baker. (Vin was actually a decent player looking back now, but I did not care at the time)  I was crushed, but a month later when the 97 season tipped off, I was still a Seattle Sonics fan. I remained one until the 18th of April in 2008, 12 days after i took my wife to see Kevin Durant drop 37 points on Carmelo Anthony, when the NBA approved the team that i loved to move to Oklahoma City.

Fast forward to the 15/16 NBA season, I have now adopted the Charlotte Hornets as my team and have been following and writing about them for 3 years. I swore off the NBA for awhile because I was angry, but watching the best athletes play the best damn sport in the world drew me back in. I adopted the then Bobcats because well, they were terrible. They also were a new franchise that i didn’t have any grudges against from my Sonics days. (Like i could cheer for the Lakers or Trailblazers, ewwww GROSS) This season would be my first interaction with a new type of NBA fan. I call them Player Only Fans.

Al Jefferson, Jeremy Lin, Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum

Charlotte Hornets’ Al Jefferson (25) gets a point across to teammates, Jeremy Lin (7), Kemba Walker (15) and Nicolas Batum (5) in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. The Hornets won 113-88. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

We all remember when the Hornets signed Jeremy Lin to a cheap contract, I thought “Cool, a good veteran to back up Kemba on a cheap deal.” Within days of the signing I started seeing strange things show up on my twitter feed. Comments from a bunch of new followers telling me Lin should start over Kemba, and that Lin just had not ever gotten a fair chance to prove himself, but he was gonna be way better than Kemba that year. I wasn’t the only writer experiencing this, and as the season wore on it became clear that these fans were not like anything I had dealt with before. They were happy if the Hornets lost, but Lin had a good game. Lin only stayed one season, and when he signed in Brooklyn i was glad to say goodbye to the Linatics (I coined that phrase on twitter and it stuck) thinking that would be the last time I dealt with fans of a player who do not care about the team.

I hate to say it, but these type of fans are back in Charlotte and all over the NBA. The Malik Only Fans are growing in numbers by the day. These fans do not care that Monk is not ready for big NBA minutes physically or mentally. We see them on Facebook and Twitter, complaining that Monk needs to get 25 minutes a night, or should be starting. You can argue till you are Teal in the face with stats and logic, but they don’t care. They want to see “Their Guy” play, no matter how it affects the team. If the Hornets win and Monk get a few minutes and misses his shots, they are no where to be heard. Yet if the Hornets lose a game and Monk hits two shots in garbage time, they post until the next morning how this team sucks all except for Monk. The Fan Boi culture is here to stay, and its something fans of this team and others around the NBA are going to have to learn to co-exist with. Fans changing teams with players in free-agency is becoming the new normal. Stars that have fans that follow them instead of the home team, never understanding the joy or disappointment of your team that you love winning or losing in the Finals. Just a closet full of different jersey’s with the same name on the back, all while not caring in the least about the name on the front.

Bring Back The Buzz’s “City Edition” FAN CONCEPT Jersey

What do you think of our “City Edition” #BuzzCity  Uniform Concept for the Hornets?

By Big Dub! The same man who helped put Bring Back The Buzz on the map and helped validate our movement by visually expressing our hopes. His designs helped a lot of people see what was possible.

You can see his other works like a Seattle Supersonics concept here: https://bringbackthebuzz.net/category/big-dub/

Since the new “City Edition” Uniforms will reportedly be Black and day “Buzz City” he did twist on the theme while mixing it with the Classic Uniforms into this bee-autiful blend!

What do you think?….