Zo is Returning to Charlotte

IMG_2559

This Friday should be a pretty big night for the history of the Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats franchise. When the Miami Heat come to Charlotte, the Hornets will be honoring Alonzo Mourning as one of the legends of this franchise for his achievements both on and off the court. This will be the second time this season the Hornets have chosen to honor an important player from the past and give them a night of their own. The first one, Dell Curry, was a bit of an easy one for the Hornets to make happen considering he works for them….Zo not so much.

Zo is currently the Vice President of Player Programs for the Miami Heat and hasn’t been seen much around these parts since his departure from the city in 1995. As some of you may recall the terms under which Mourning departed were not exactly ideal. George Shinn informed Zo he was not worthy of the money he requested, even though, according to Zo….he wanted to stay in Buzz City. Pat Riley decided Mourning was worth the cash and made the trade for him. The Hornets received Glen Rice, Matt Geiger, and the 6th overall pick in the 1996 Draft (Kobe Bryant or Vlade Divac depending on how you want to look at it) in exchange for Zo in and a few reserves.

Mourning was drafted 2nd overall behind Shaq in the 1992 draft. While Zo was in his rookie season in 1993 he was elected to the all-rookie team and with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks ….he was just 7 blocks shy of averaging a triple double! He is also responsible for the single greatest shot in the history of the Hornets franchise. On May 5th, 1993 against the Boston Celtics in game 4 of the first round of the playoffs Zo jacked up a 20-foot buzzer beater in Charlotte Coliseum that would win the series for the Hornets and send them to the second round to face the Knicks.

giphy

In Zo’s final season as a member of the Hornets in 1994-1995 he lead the team in points, rebounds, blocked shots, field goal percentage and made his first ever appearance in the NBA All-Star Game. Alonzo still currently holds the Hornets franchise records for most blocks with a grand total of 684. Zo was inducted into Naismith the Hall of Fame on August 8th of 2014, where he elected to wear a teal shirt and purple tie….coincidence? We think not.

miami sports.org

pic via miamisports.org

I am glad to see Zo receiving the recognition he deserves. Now if we could just get this franchise to recognize a few more greats like *cough* *cough* Muggsy, Grandmama, Baron and Glen Rice to name a few!

 

Hornets - Alonzo Mourning, Mugsy Bogues, Dell Curry and , Larry Johnson 1995

2 down…4 to go!

 

Advertisements

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