Some thoughts about the season
After 23 years it was awesome to have an NBA team to root for again. I surprised myself with how quickly I fell in love with the team and the league again. For so long I turned my back on professional basketball.
Now that the season is done, it's time to look back to some of the high points and low points...both on and off the court. In no particular order, here are my thoughts on the good and the bad (no real ugly...well...except for the Cox-Charter negotiations).
Most Emotional Moment....Opening Night. My heart was racing during the introductions and by tip-off I thought I was going to explode. What a wild night. To have the Jazz...our old team....come back to help us welcome the Hornets to town was incredible. Thank you NBA for working out the schedule to make that happen. The tribute to Pistol Pete at halftime was awesome. I remember all the debates about whether the team should or should not honor Pistol because he didn't play for the franchise. The team did the right thing...and immediately won over many hearts in New Orleans that night. And of course we won big over the Franchise That Used to Be Here. And got the one and only chance to see Stockton/Malone as well. An emotional night to remember. And a great way to start off the New Orleans Era. Ranks up there with John Gilliam's opening kickoff return for a touchdown to start the Saints off in New Orleans.
Most thrilling home game....the regular season game against Sixers won on a put back at the buzzer by David Wesley. It was a sell-out crowd with a lot of "AI" fans there. To come away with the win was great.
Best performance....Jamal Mashburn's 50 points and game winning OT shot against the Grizzlies. Mash was just on fire that night. Did he even miss a shot? Seemed like he didn't.
Best giveaway...have to go with opening night's commemorative ticket. Bobbleheads, Celebriducks, t-shirts, flags are all nice, but there will only be one Inaugural Game commemorative ticket.
Biggest surprise on the court...Had to decide between Jamaal Magloire's emergence as the starter at center or Jerome Moiso's contributions from the bench. Decided that Magloire's emergence wasn't so much a surprise. Just accelerated by Campbell's ineffectiveness. So Moiso's development is my biggest surprise on the court this year. Here's to re-signing him and his further development.
Biggest disappointment on the court...losing game 6 to the Sixers and failing to advance past the first round. We all heard the hype. This was a team talented enough to challenge for the Eastern Conference title. Yet injuries weakened the team in the stretch run. Here's to a healthy 2003-04.
Team MVP...Jamal Mashburn. BD might be the floor general and the max player. But Mashburn is the scoring threat. He emerged as an All-Star this year and is clearly the team's MVP.
Biggest disappointment off the court...television deal. Do I even have to go into the details? Do you really want me to rant about how the Northshore fans were blacked out of the entire regular season of Hornets games? Do you want to hear about how I want to puke every time I hear Alex Martins or Steve Martin talk about building a regional market when I can't watch but two road games the entire season despite living 30 minutes from the Arena? The television contract is broken, guys...despite how much money is makes for the team. The Hornets MUST fix it over the off season.
Second biggest disappointment off the court...radio deal. WTIX botched a great opportunity to establish themselves as a serious threat to WWL. The best sports talk personality in the market landed in their laps...and they didn't give him a show until nearly half-way through the season. And they still can't commit to a nightly show in the off-season. The production quality of the radio broadcasts was good. But a post-game call-in show has to be added next season. Just a half hour to an hour of getting gripes in or shout out praises while everything is still fresh. C'mon WTIX...do this!
Great Chemistry I...contrary to reports, I think BD and Mash play well together. Look at game 6. Mash scores nearly 40 points. BD scores another 21. These guys don't have the huge egos that many players have. They complement each other. Let's hope both stay around for a very long time.
Great Chemistry II...Bob Licht and Gerry V. Given time, Bob and Gerry will become as popular in this town as Jim and Hokie. As a Northshore resident, Bob and Gerry are my only links to this team when I'm not at the Arena. They work so well together, and communicate not just the results of the plays, but the atmosphere and excitement of the game. Let's hope both stay around for a very long time, too.
Big Thanks...to George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge for having confidence in us, when nobody else did. Thanks for bringing the NBA back to a city that it never should have left.
Ok, that's a few thoughts. I've stayed away from the coaching mess, for obvious reasons. It's being discussed to death in other threads.
What were your biggest moments from this past season?