Charlotte Basketball: More Excuses than Wins

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The Hornets have reached that point in the season that Charlotte basketball fans have become accustom to, the time period in which the losing begins to become so prevalent that you are forced to frantically search for potential trades that could hopefully shake things up enough to get us into the 8th seed. It has been long enough since the season started that injuries are starting to take over but the playoffs are too far away to motivate, at this point in the season most teams are just praying to get through January and reach the All-Star Break. Charlotte basketball fans have not seen a playoff win since the 2001-2002 season, to put that in perspective I was in 8th grade the last time we won a playoff game…….I am now 28. However, it is important that we as fans do not become complacent, demand better and continue to cheer on our team. With that being said, tonight’s game against the Hawks and every game until the All Star break is extremely crucial.

Now,  let’s take a look at this Hawks matchup tonight. The Hawks lead the overall series by 15 games, they are first in our division with a record of 23-15, and they’ve won the 2 previous meetings this season by a combined 5 points (including our home opener).  Now if you read the nationally written game previews they will tell you that Hawks score in the paint well and the Hornets don’t, while that is true the Hawks are almost dead last in the NBA in rebounding, this is a perfect opportunity for Cody Zeller to step up. Cody has been on a bit of a rebounding tear the past few games, he has been in the double-digits for boards 3 out of the last 5 games. If we can get our bigs to rebound we can eliminate those second chance points in the paint (Spencer, I am looking at you, it is time for you to have some kind of impact).

In the previous two matchups the Hornets have also shot much better from 3 than the Hawks, we are going to need that good perimeter shooting and perimeter defense we saw from the Hornets at the beginning of the year to happen tonight. While from the outside looking in, the Hawks would appear to be a heavy favorite, winning 15 out of their last 18 games, and the two previous matchups against the Hornets, however the Hornets are a much better team at home and are a better team at home than the Hawks are on the road.

It is time to stop making excuses for this team and this organization, this fanbase has waited almost 15 long years for a playoff win. The Hornets need to win and they need to win NOW. If Charlotte can get a string of wins going this month they could easily find themselves back in the playoff hunt, they are only 2.5 games back behind the 8th seeded Magic.

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Evan Kent’s Letter to Michael Jordan

Dear Mr. Jordan,

I was there at the first NBA game the Charlotte Coliseum had hosted since George Shinn took the Hornets to New Orleans. I was so pumped at the idea of the NBA coming back to the Queen City. It was October 20, 2003 and the Atlanta Hawks were hosting the Washington Wizards and we had just received the news that our team would be called the Bobcats. My parents were so excited they bought tickets for us to go. The old “Hornets game feeling” was back and I couldn’t resist it. I made a sign that said “Who are these guys? We want the Bobcats”. I walked into the Coliseum and everyone was adorned in Hornets apparel. Nostalgia had never had such a young victim. The memories flooded back, I could practically see Hugo running around the court with a deer head on a plaque to shatter the Buck’s reserve. I could hear the Buzz noise building in my head as the “Hive was Alive”. A swell of pride for my city was in my heart.

Nine years later you would never find a larger advocate for the name change. I’ve been to over several Bobcats games every season in that time. I have sat in box seats, was in the arena for draft day when we got Adam Morrison. I’ve sat in the nose bleeds and bought jerseys. But I am embarrassed. Embarrassed of how detached I have become with the identity of a Bobcat. Not the Flight because we are “First In Flight”. Not the Spiders for an arena called “the Charlotte’s Web” and a cheerleading team called “the Black Widows”. Not the Cougars after the original ABA team but “BOB”cats for a man’s ego.

I pity every kid who misses out on what I had as a child. Nothing was like going to a Hornets game. It was a carnival; an atmosphere I have never seen again. Every Thanksgiving my brother and I would conspire on how to get our parents to take us to the game. I would get so giddy that I would ruin it every time and Scotty would get so mad because I couldn’t help but ask my parents if we were going. I know this is redundant but I will never forget the last game on TV. I will never forget listening to 1110 WBT the next morning and listening to their montage of Hornets sound bites. We all cried. They were gone. We didn’t just lose the team of that year. We lost every Hornet ever. We lost Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Vlade Divac, Muggsy Bogues, Baron Davis, David Wesley, Jamal Mashburn, Bobby Phills etc. I felt robbed of my identity and there was nothing I could do about it.

You have a chance Mr. Jordan to not just change NBA history but a city’s history. You have the ability to impact a community like you haven’t since you retired from the court. You have the ability to make a sacrifice and give us a gift that we will never forget.

Bring Back the Buzz!

Evan Kent