What’s the Buzz? : Reminiscing on the 2011 Bobcats

By Trace Walker ()

As the Philadelphia 76ers won their first game of the season last week, I thought it would be a good time to reminisce on another team known for their losing, the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats. Although the Bobcats never found consistent success and only finished above .500 twice in franchise history, the 2011 team took losing to a whole new level. According to winning percentage, the Bobcats had the worst season in NBA history, finishing the year at 7-59 (.106). The Bobcats stole the title of worst season ever from the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers whom are now at a close second at 9-73 (.110).

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One little weird commonality I found between the 1973 76ers and the 2011 Bobcats was that both had a player from Xavier University. Center Luther Rackley played for Philadelphia, while Derrick Brown played for the Bobcats, both Xavier alumni. This may not seem significant, but the Cincinnati university has only birthed 17 NBA players. In comparison, the University of Kentucky has produced 90 NBA players. It’s interesting to me that out of the thousands of players that have been in the NBA, two of seventeen Xavier players found themselves on the worst two teams to ever play in the league.

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7 wins.

This year it took the Golden State Warriors only eleven days to record 7 wins. Yet in 2011, 7 wins was all the Bobcats could muster. You may ask yourself; how is it even possible to win that few games. What must go wrong to be that bad? Well, to answer that shortly, a lot. A lot must go wrong.

For starters, just by taking a look at the roster, there is a mixture of players at the end of their careers and players just beginning theirs. In 2009, the average NBA player had been in the league for five years. Five years of being in the NBA puts most players at about 27, which was the average age of a NBA player in 2009. Most people also acknowledge 27 as the age when athletes are in their prime and playing their best. This may help give an explanation as to why the Bobcats were so awful. The 2011 team only had two players (Shaun Livingston and Tyus Thomas) whom had between 4-6 years experience in the NBA. As stated earlier, the Bobcats consisted of very young players and very old players. There were eight players that had played three or less seasons, while there were nine players whom had played in seven seasons or more. This mixture of young, and seasoned players was a recipe for disaster in Charlotte.

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The graph shows the extreme imbalance of youth and age on the Bobcats

As stated earlier, the Bobcats consisted of very young players and very old players. There were eight players that had played three or less seasons, while there were nine players whom had played in seven seasons or more. This mixture of young, and seasoned players was a recipe for disaster in Charlotte.

Much like the 76ers who just ended their 28 game losing streak, the 2011 Bobcats were no stranger to losing streaks. During the season, Charlotte lost twenty three consecutive games. That streak being tied for the fifth longest losing streak in NBA history.

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Draft Troubles

Another cause of Charlotte’s troubles was misfortune in just about every draft they ever participated in. Here is a look at what happened in each draft year and what could have been.

2003 draft

The Bobcats didn’t enter the NBA until 2004, which was unfortunate because the 2003 draft is known as one of the richest classes ever. If Charlotte had been in the 2003 draft they would of had the chance to land talent such as Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade.

2004 draft

The Bobcats chose Emeka Okafor with the number two pick. Okafor was dominant his first year, averaging a double-double with 15.1 PPG and 10.9 RPG. Emeka received rookie of the year honors in his first season, but after that Okafor gained weight and never reached his full potential. The Bobcats missed out on Dwight Howard as he was taken first by the Orlando Magic. In reflection there was much talent in the draft and a different pick would have been very beneficial. Charlotte could have went with Devin Harris, Luol Deng, or Andre Iguodala.i

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2005 draft

In 2005, the Bobcats had the fifth pick of the draft. Superstar Chris Paul was taken fourth by New Orleans, followed by the Bobcat’s pick, Raymond Felton. Felton played five seasons for Charlotte and was a solid contributor. During his years in Charlotte, Raymond averaged 13.3 points per game, while dishing out 6.4 assist per game. Felton had his breakout year the season after he left Charlotte when he averaged 17.1 PPG and 9 ASP.

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2006 draft

In the 2006 draft, Charlotte missed out on another chance in drafting a foundation for the franchise. All-star LaMarcus Aldridge was taken with the second pick. With the third pick, the Bobcats selected Adam Morrison from Gonzaga. Morrison played only four NBA seasons, two of which came with Charlotte. Morrison’s rookie season was his best as a pro, he averaged 11.8 points and started in 23 games. After that first year, Morrison never averaged more than five points. After two years in Charlotte, Morrison went to the Lakers where he averaged 1.3 PPG. Adam Morrison was a bust and looking back there are many players that could have been chosen instead. These include; Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, Rajon Rondo, Kyle Lowry, or Paul Millsap.

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2008 draft

In 2008 Charlotte missed out on the landing of a superstar in yet another strong draft class which included Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Deandre Jordan, and Goran Dragic. Using the ninth pick, the Bobcats selected guard D.J. Augustin. Augustin started in only fourteen games during his first two years for Charlotte while averaging 10.85 points per game.

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2009 draft

The Bobcats fell out of the top ten picks in 2009, they used the twelfth pick to select Gerald Henderson. Henderson gave Charlotte quality playing time as he was there from 2009 until 2015 when he was traded to Portland. In the 2009 draft class there was tremendous talent in the top ten which included Stephen Curry, Demar DeRozan, Blake Griffin, James Harden, and Ricky Rubio.

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2011 draft

In the 2001 draft Charlotte had two top ten picks, they selected Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker. After playing four years and averaging 4.4 PPG, Bismack was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Kemba is still currently playing for the Bobcats/Hornets. After averaging 12 points a game his rookie year, Walker has consistently averaged 17+ the last three seasons. Charlotte could have used their two picks to select Brandon Knight, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, or Jimmy Butler.

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2012 draft

After the worst NBA season in history, the Bobcats were guaranteed the number one draft pick…. right?

Wrong. The New Orleans Hornets received the first pick and selected All-Star Anthony Davis. The Bobcats were left with the number two pick which they used to select fellow Kentucky teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Now as much as I might love MKG, Anthony Davis is proving to be one of the greatest talents ever seen in basketball. In 2014 Davis averaged 24.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 2.9 BPG. For comparison, in 2014 Gilchrist averaged 10.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, .7 BPG. Charlotte could have used the second pick to select Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, Damian Lilliard, or Andre Drummond.

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2013 draft

The 2013 draft was one of the lesser star studded drafts in recent history. The top five included Anthony Bennett, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Cody Zeller, and Alex Len. 

Charlotte selected forward Cody Zeller with the fourth pick. Since joining the team Zeller has averaged 6.7 PPG.

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Clearly Charlotte has missed landing a superstar or two… I believe that their terrible draft history led up to the worst NBA season ever.

 

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Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Before Charlotte picked the purple and teal back up, there was the eye-sore combination of orange and dark blue.

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There was also the infamous race day jerseys which payed homage to the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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This post is also a fitting place to remember the sole All-Star in Charlotte Bobcat history, Gerald Wallace.

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In the 2009-2010 season, Gerald Wallace led the Bobcats to there first playoff berth ever. The playoffs were short-lived though, as the Bobcats were swept in four games by the Orlando Magic. That season Gerald also made his first and only All-Star game while averaging 18.2 PPG and 10 RPG.

We must also pay homage to Rufus, the lovable Bobcat that roamed games at Time Warner Cable Arena.

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Being a Bobcats fan was not the easiest thing in the world, watching year after year seeing the Charlotte team be the laughing stock of the league. Knicks Bobcats Basketball

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Some fans even begged for Bobcats owner Michael Jordan to come out of retirement to suit up for the team.

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But as I write this, the Hornets sit at 12-8. Things are looking up for Charlotte as the young team is testing the waters in the Eastern Conference.

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Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Lin’s Arrival In Charlotte: Business or Player?


The Charlotte Hornets received a spike in attendance of over 10% last season. This increase was one of the largest in the NBA, trailing only Cleveland (Lebron), and Atlanta (The Bandwagon Effect). The rise in attendance can largely be attributed to the return of the historic moniker to its origins in a region that revered and coveted the Hornets name. This comes as no surprise as the original team was one of the first things, beyond banking, to put Charlotte on the national stage. It brought in the very sponsors that had avoided the Bobcats brand like a marketing plague. The old/new name also had apparel flying off the shelves with the first-night sales dwarfing all records the team-store had set on it’s best night with the Bobcats. The name brought fans. On many game nights the crowds went flocking to nearby uptown restaurants and bars. Venues like Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub were regularly packed because of their proximity to the Hive. The economic impact was obvious, and the Hornets made their money back on the cost of the re-brand almost immediately.

The excitement leading up to that first season was palpable The anticipation and expectations for the team had arguably never been that high during the entire tenure of the current franchise. The arrival of Lance Stephenson was controversial, but his presence resulted in many fans predicting the Hornets would make the playoffs somewhere between the 3rd and 4th spot. Stephenson was an exciting risk, and a personality that we had never gone for in the history of the organization. This move allowed us to believe that we were actually trying to win and even the the perennially cynical fans found themselves feeling the buzz as they were soon swept up in the hype. The opening night was so magical it almost felt scripted, but then the season happened. The injuries began to pile up and the hopes started to fade with the buzz, but surprisingly, fans kept buying apparel. The attendance dropped a little as the season progressed, but it was still better than what the Bobcats had come to expect. The name return had given the fans a sense of ownership and that pride has given the franchise a grace period to get it together. Even without last year’s disappointing record, attendance was going to drop this season. No matter how hopeful you want to be, the fact remains that was a lot of new season tickets to re-up.

Then the Hornets got Lin. My initial thought was not about the skill set that Lin had as a player on the court but of how much of a genius PR move this was. My brother and I were in awe. Not only is he a good player but you just saved yourself the

embarrassment of a noticeable drop in attendance. The man has 1.48 million followers on twitter and a fanatic following that out shined us in our own house in the heat of Linsanity (granted we were the worst team in the NBA at the time). I remember the one game specifically because Baron Davis got a standing ovation from the home crowd. He’s the personality we wanted from Lance but without all the blowing in the ear BS. This is how you let the rest of the world know that we are not the “Bobcats” anymore and that we are back to the cool teal and purple.

Bringing Lin to Charlotte is also an economic opportunity. The Hornets announced on Aug. 31st 2015 that they had landed a the first ever franchise tire sponsorship from MAXXIS Tire USA. Do you know why that is? MAXXIS Tire has followed Lin and partnered with every team he has played for from New York to Houston to LA and now to Charlotte. This is more than a team name or a popular player, this is the development of an exciting opportunity to grow franchise revenue and shine some light on Charlotte at the international level. This is a chance to showcase the fastest growing city in the Unites States and maybe bring more business here.

The team is also graced with the unexpected coincidence that they will be playing in Shenzhen and Shanghai on Oct. 11th and 14th to play in an exhibition match against the Los Angeles Clippers for the Global Games in a region where Lin has an ever growing following. Erik Spanberg even wrote that

“team executives plan on meeting with potential sponsors while helping a local recruiter make general business contacts for the region, too.”- Erik Spanberg

Lin’s popularity and level of comfort in front of a camera (as shown by his youtube channel) could really help the Hornets on their first appearance as a brand on the global stage.
The arrival of Jeremy Lin in Charlotte has been surprisingly ignored by the national media considering their almost Tebow-level fixation on his first couple seasons in the NBA. Then again, this team is flying under the radar of its own fans who largely fail to recognize that thru deft moves, Rich Cho is slowly trading a red paper clip into a red Porsche. This acquisition of Lin is not only a great fit on the court, but a great fit for the organization’s plans for growth… Business AND Player

Possible Charlotte Hornets 2014-2015 Uniforms, Logo, and Court!

At this point in the process there is no doubt in our mind that the 2014-2015 season will be the return of our beloved Charlotte Hornets. One can only fathom how magical this day will be when it takes place. The next logical step is to wonder what will MKG and Kemba Walker be rocking when they step on to the court. Well, a few months back a designer friend of ours from New Orleans, Rollin BigDub Garcia created some jaw dropping renditions of what a contemporary version of the uniform would look like. We thought we would re post it for our new followers.

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Charlotte Hornets - 2013 Style Guide (Court) (1)

Carolina or Charlotte “Hornets”? POLL

We asked this question a while back to our followers and got a resounding “NO” with a few “yes” from some of the South Carolinians supporters. Now that we a little larger fan base we like to reintroduce the question of whether or not you would prefer the NBA franchise in Charlotte to be called the Charlotte Hornets or switch things up and hope for larger fan support with the Carolina Hornets?

We at Bring Back The Buzz have our opinion but we will keep that to ourselves 🙂

Tricia “Mama Buzz” Kent’s letter to Michael Jordan

Dear Mr. Jordan,

 

I’m 50 years old. That makes us contemporaries in the same generation. I was graduating college and getting married just as you were hitting the big time. My husband and I moved to Charlotte in 1984 and had our oldest son the very year the Hornets first played. For years, our house was a sea of teal and purple punctuated by the occasional Bulls #23. The Hive was a celebration and late-night games on the radio a given. Birthdays and Christmas’ were all about the VHS of Space Jam, the latest Jordans or the video game. I watched our sons grow up loving the Hornets, following everything NBA, and looking up to you like some sort of superhero.

 

Please allow me tell you something about their generation that you and even your children might not realize in your insular world of super-stardom. The horror of 9/11 happened to them at the worst possible time. Our sons were 9 and 13 when suddenly all that was safe and predictable wasn’t. This is fact not melodrama.  Hormone’s hit, grades dropped and they and many of their friends retreated into the security of sports and music. At the bottom of the pit of the worst parenting year I can remember – they lost the Hornets.

 

I am not the least bit surprised that our sons, Scotty and Evan, started Bring Back the Buzz. For ten years they bemoaned, and wished, and what-ifed about their Hornets until they were old enough to take matters into their own hands. They had to try. They had to give it their best shot in order for those wonderful memories from their childhood to be redeemable. It is the one wrong out of many that perhaps they can have a chance to help make right.

 

As a Charlottean I have worked for 28 years in and around the “history” community. I could spend many pages telling you about the American Revolution and the Hornets moniker. I could iterate the countless teams, both professional and amateur that bore the Hornets name. I will always have a deep seated resentment for any and all who allowed Shinn to slink out of town and pilfer this city’s identity.

 

You, Mr. Jordan by virtue of your power and your money have the ability to return to this town a piece of its rightful heritage. That alone would be worth years of PR and marketing. Still, I must confess, what I really want is for you to give back this bit of joy to our sons and their generation, to the parents who bought your gear and to the now young adults who worshiped you and still defend you. With this singular act, you will in turn gain their loyalty and that of their children.

 

It’s now clear that New Orleans will be doing their part.

I call on you, Michael Jordan to step forward and be the hero one more time.

 

Bring Back the Buzz!

Tricia (Mama Buzz) Kent

 

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