Top 5 Hornets Memories

Published: April 18, 2013

I can’t think of a more exciting and sad moment in my sports fan life than right now. The New Orleans Hornets will no longer exist and the New Orleans Pelicans will be the replacement. It’s strange for so many reasons, but the main of which is connection.

A connection to a basketball team is much more than just its players. It’s the brand, logo, colours and most of all it’s moments. This is why reflecting back on the Hornets memories is so nostalgic. It’s a connection we’ve had for a significant part of our lives and we don’t want to forget that.

While this list is subjective in nature, it is unique to every person. The intrinsic values of the fan and their life story will effect the perception of events in the past. With that, I take a look at what can be considered significant moments in the history of an iconic sports label, the Hornets.

5. Alonzo Mourning 20-footer to beat the Celtics


I personally don’t remember this moment but it still sticks out as probably the first time the Hornets had a “Sportscenter” moment in professional basketball. Mourning received a pass with 3 seconds left on the clock, dribbled right and with the Celtics confused defensively drained the 20-foot jumpshot to win the game 104-103.

Mourning was humble in his view of the shot saying, “To tell you the truth, it was a lucky shot.”

From that point on the Hornets would hit many more “lucky shots” all of which were exciting. For me this sets the precedence as to why being a Hornets fan was so darn fun.

4. The Crescent City Connection & the Peja Heads

The CCC and Peja Heads were a quintessential part of Hornet games a few years ago. It gave you a warm fuzzy feeling and separated us from them. Tyson Chandler and Chris Paul were without a doubt two of the most in-sync players in the entire league from 2007 through till 2009. Paul had eyes in the back of his head, knew exactly when Chandler was rolling, where he was rolling to and exactly how high he needed the ball to be placed.

It was one of the most picturesque sights in professional sports when two athletes work together as one; true beauty.

The Peja heads were a hilarious now antiquated relic of the past. Every time the Hornets were on a fast break they’d kick the ball out to Peja and as the crowd rose a collective gasp would give way to a chorus of “Yeah!”

Peja and his handsomely lovely haircut would the hover below the TV screen and you’d be satistified with the outcome. It was fun, it was silly, it was childish. It’s why we love the NBA and it’s why we loved the Hornets.

3. Chris Paul & David West in Game 5 in 2008 playoffs vs. Spurs


One of my fondest memories of my entire fandom was when Chris Paul and David West dominated the Spurs in Game 5 of the NBA Playoffs in 2008. There was no stopping them; they were just in a zone like I’ve never seen them before.

Chris Paul was finding his team-mates, stealing the ball and scoring at will. It was a time when Paul could get to any spot on the floor. It didn’t matter what you did defensively he was going to get there. He had the ball on  a string. He danced and weaved his magic to finish with 22 points and 14 assists.

David West, my favourite NBA player, had arguably his best game as a professional. West scored a ridiculous 38 points on 25 shots, had 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks and 2 steals. He was truly unstoppable.

Aside from the individual performances this was when I, like many others, believed the Hornets could actually win the NBA title. They demolished the Spurs. Their chemistry was undeniable and pretty darn scary.

New Orleans unfortunately went on to lose the series, but this was the starting point of our aspirations for the team. We had a foundation and an identify. It was the peak of something special.

2. Hornets win the NBA Lottery in 2012


The lead up to the NBA lottery was kind of a casual one for me. I didn’t expect the Hornets to win the lottery, I thought it was one of those things that would go to a team seeded 7th or 8th and somehow they’d scooch into the top spot.

When Cleveland was announced as the 4th pick in the 2012 NBA draft I was estatic. Not because I thought we’d won the draft lottery, but because a top-3 pick was awesome enough. So when we actually won the thing I jumped around the room with glee and gave jubilant high fives to my Hornets compatriot “Carpo.”

This is a twitter timeline of the days events for me personally:








I know it seems like a lost my marbles that day, but who didn’t? The future seemed bright then and seems brighter now. It was so awesome.

1. Tom Benson Buys the Hornets

The top spot belongs to Tom Benson. For years the Hornets went through uncertainty as to whether they’d remain in New Orleans. I wanted the team to remain in the city for obvious reasons (probably the best city in the country).

When Benson stepped up it was now certain that the organisation would remain in New Orleans.

While it’s not a uniquely “Hornets” moment, it’s one that everyone is probably fond of. It also is a memory that will transition into the future. Something that meant something then and still does now.

The organisation still has a long way to go but stable ownership is a must in securing future success.

Now this may not be your list, but it certainly sums up my thoughts of the Hornets. While I only ever attended one Hornets game in my life I watched and loved from afar like many other fans. The history of this brand is extensive and not without its ups and downs. But like every NBA team it was fun and memorable.

What are your top-5 memories of the Hornets? Tell in the comments below. You can follow James on Twitter on @jsgrayson


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