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Goodbye and Hello
Goodbye George Shinn, Jeff Bower, James Posey, Hurricane Katrina, inexperience, Chris Paul’s meniscus, insufficient fan support, Tyson’s toe, Eric Gordon’s knee, NBA ownership, a general lack of talent, and the cursed Hornets brand. If I had to put my finger on why the last six years didn’t work out quite as we would have liked, one of those would be, well, fingered.
I realized during Monday’s Google Hangout that my business documentation for the Save Our Hornets Foundation was in the background of my shot, and in that moment it dawned on me just how far we’ve come as a team. For the first time in a while we can stop looking back and wondering what if. Instead, with the first game of a new era about to get underway, the time for looking forward (and wondering what if) has begun.
It seems like forever ago that the team was in free fall. Only 6300 season tickets were sold, a local buyer was unwilling to pay the price the NBA wanted, and a general NBA lockout was on the horizon. It was then, despite all odds, that things turned from atrocious to manageable. The “I’m In” campaign succeeded in securing 10,000 total season ticket commitments from people like us, and we came, for the most part, to games. When we officially passed the attendance mandate that triggered an extension of the lease, Hornets fans let out their collective breaths for the first time in a while.
It’s been almost two years since CP3 was shipped out for Aminu, Kaman, Eric Gordon, and what wound up becoming Austin Rivers. In the first of those years we witnessed some of the ugliest basketball that New Orleans has hosted in recent memory. While Chris Paul and David West didn’t exactly lead New Orleans to the promised land, they certainly intrigued us more than the team of scrubs trotted out in 2011-2012.
That was a year to forget if there ever was one.
And while last year was marginally better, despite the ever present Eric Gordon health drama and near constant discussion of how Austin Rivers was the “worst ever”, it still wasn’t what anyone dreamed of.
This year, what we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. Contracts are in place for all the key pieces to ensure that this is the first of many chances for success. Ownership is no longer the cause of frustration and anxiety, but a source of stability and enthusiasm. Tom Benson wants to win, and thanks to years of trial and error with the Saints, he seems to have a much better idea of how to accomplish that goal.
As Plato once said “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
Tonight we shall say hello to a new beginning.