We’re Doing Just Fine, Thank You Very Much

Published: March 13, 2009

I’m not one to rant, but I’m going to let loose with one.

I’m sick of clueless commentators using the Hornets as a soap box.  They ripped the Hornet’s choice of city when they moved to New Orleans.  They ripped the inability to keep Magloire and Baron Davis happy and the resulting trades.  They declared the Hornets weren’t coming back from OKC when they were forced to play there.  They laughed that the Hornets were definitely staying when George Shinn told people in OKC he liked their city and they deserved a team.  They gleefully insisted the Hornets would never move again when they ended up having to stay a second year in OKC.

When the Hornets returned to New Orleans, they insisted they weren’t long for the city.  They called the Hornet’s insistence that the promised Practice Facility detailed in their lease be built shameful.  They insisted that George Shinn’s restructuring of his lease was so he could leave the state as soon as possible, ignoring that he released the state from the Practice Facility requirement in preference of financial guarantees if shortfalls occured in their attendance.  They ignored that such guarantees are built in to ensure a team doesn’t leave.

They’ve called the Hornets horrid names because the State of Louisiana said they wouldn’t be able to fund the incentives, and how could a sports team demand money from poor Louisiana anyways?

There was sniggering when the NBA took that loan out and made it available to their teams.  New Orleans had to be one of those teams taking advantage of it, right?  They were trading Chandler because they were cheap right?  I mean, everyone knows that George Shinn has never been willing to pay someone lots of money, and he’s of course going to take any money he can get!  Shinn is just another Clippers Donald Sterling, right?

Well ‘eff’ all of you smug little pundits.  The Hornets came back to New Orleans.  They hit the benchmarks for season ticket sales success of 10,000+.  The Hornets may be only 19th in total attendance, but they are filling their arena at an 8th best 98% of it’s capacity every night. They made money last year, and have made enough this year that the state owes them nothing.  The team has not been one of the 12 teams that have taken advantage of the massive loan money the NBA made available, and though they aren’t saying they won’t tap into it, are implying they probably won’t have to.

The Hornets are a well run organization.  They don’t have the market of LA or New York, they don’t have the pockets of Portland or Dallas – but they put out a quality product, and have for years.  They’ve only had 7 losing seasons in their 20-year history, and four of those were when they were building from scratch as an expansion team.  When they’ve had money, they’ve spent it, giving maximum contracts to Baron Davis, Chris Paul, and when it was offered, Larry Johnson.  They offered Mourning a huge contract, and only balked when he wanted the biggest contract in NBA history.  They signed Eddie Jones to a maximum contract in order to trade him and get back the large contracts of PJ Brown and Jamal Mashburn.  They signed Peja to a massive contract, and took on Tyson Chandler’s big numbers when he was perceived as a bust.  They have consistently been only slightly under or slightly over the league average in salaries.  This is not a cheap team that refuses to carry salary at the expense of it’s success.

So please, go find another team to carry on about.

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