An olive branch from Charlotte.
Ive been following the posts on this board for the past couple weeks, eager to respond, eager to throw a jab at the town thats taking my team, but I have restrained myself and cursed and moaned alone in front of my computer. Maybe it's the gorgeous weather we're having in Charlotte today, maybe it's frustration, or maybe it's that I've been watching college basketball all day and remember that this is just a game and one I love. But I thought I would add something fresh and original to the board today. An olive branch of sorts.
Truth is, none of us really know where the Hornets are going to be next season. Most of us think we do. We're sure they'll stay at the Hive, or sure that opening nights gotta be in the Crescent City. But, honestly, if we were so sure I don't think we'd all spend so much time reading and posting on this board. I for one at least know on some level I'm just trying to reassure myself that my team isn't leaving.
I was 11 years old when Charlotte got the Hornets, and I've been a die-hard fan ever since. Last season I posted an editorial in the Charlotte Observer blasting locals for not showing up at the playoffs. Basketball is a big part of my life. Some of my best memories as a kid are Hornets and Tarheel games (watch for the upset tommorow night against Duke!). Point is the Hornets are my team and the team of the 10,000 or so other real fans that still make it to the Hive on game nights.
I know this is business though. George and Ray want to make money. The NBA wants packed houses, and Charlotte has really dropped the ball here with the team and the arena issue. Truth be told I think the Charlotte City Council is leading the league in turnovers this season! The fans are here though. I swear to you they're waiting to come out of hiding. I read a great quote about the notion that the Hornets ownership deserves a great deal of the blame for low attendence. I forget who it was but he wrote that this was like your girlfriend dumps you for another guy, but still wants you to take her out to dinner 3 or 4 times a week. Now its even worse because our ex is bad mouthing us coast to coast for not dining her. My point is I think the people of Charlotte deserve this team simply because its our team. It's not the George and Ray Hornets, its the Charlotte Hornets. Cities develope bonds with a team, and thats why we cheer for them. Its not just about the name on the front of the jersey. Charlotte doesn't want the Magic, or an expansion team. We want our team. The one we've cheered for for 14 seasons.
From the fan support I've witnessed on this board I can also say that New Orleans deserves a team. You guys are hungry for some basketball, and you oughta get it. Obviously, for my sake I hope its not the Hornets. But, honest question: what if the NBA offered NO an expansion team to play next season? Huge hypothetical I know, but my point is that sports succeed because cities identify with their teams. Can you imagine the Yankees moving? Would anyone really feel right taking them? Granted we're not talking about that kind of legacy, but will we ever find that in the NBA if teams are free to move whenever business relations break down between owners and cities?
Anyways, if you've read this rambling I admire your dedication, and thank you for an ear. I just wanted to let everbody know where I was coming from and remind y'all that tonight the Hornets are playing the Sonics. Baron Davis vs. Gary Payton. Sensae vs. grasshopper. We'll be watching here, you guys will be watching there (do you get local coverage yet?). We're all fans of the same team for a little while longer.
Good luck New Orleans! Good luck Charlotte! God help us basketball fans!