Chad Shinn Bloggerview – Part 1

Published: October 31, 2007

People, people, people. I've actually got something more for you today than just me talking in circles.

Thanks to the initiative of fellow Hornets blogger Ryan Schwan and the help of the one and only Michael Thompson (the Hornets Director of Corporate Communications), I was recently able to submit six questions to be answered by Chad Shinn. Chad is of course the Hornets Executive Officer of the Board, and the son of George Shinn, majority owner of the franchise.

Chad, being the superbly cool individual that he is, took the time to answer those six questions and they just arrived back to me by the wonders of email. Now, by the wonders of copy and paste, I present them to you.

1. Chad, tell us a little about what your job entails. For example: What are your daily responsibilities as executive officer of the board? Who do you answer to? Do you have minions?

Wow. No pleasantries or warmups first. Straight to the hard hitting questions – what is it that you do exactly for this team?!? I’m just kidding. This is a great opportunity to interact with fans and I appreciate the forum that your blogs provide for this exchange.

As the Executive Officer of the Board, my job encompasses a broad range of responsibilities from the business side to basketball operations. Ultimately I help to ensure that all facets of the organization or moving in the same direction, and that we’re doing things with vision, integrity and passion. I work with our senior management team and report to my dad, making recommendations and tackling special projects like the Fleur de Bee patch. I also spend a lot of time on the road with the team, keeping a pulse on the basketball side of the business. I have no minions yet, but am certainly in the market for building a legion of them. You interested?

2. Could you talk a bit about the upcoming All-Star Game in New Orleans, and your expectations and concerns regarding the event?

As an organization we take a lot of pride in seeing this major event come to New Orleans. With media from more than 100 countries coming, this is the best opportunity we’ll have to showcase our city and team to a global audience in the foreseeable future, and I think all of us are up to the task. People should expect not only one of the sports world’s biggest spectacles, but terrific fan interaction opportunities and unprecedented community service projects. And lots of really cool parties.

3. You've been around the Hornets since the very beginning in '88. Could you tell us what you consider to be the highs and lows for the franchise through the years, both on and off the court?

The highs over the years have been really high. The atmosphere for that first game in the Charlotte Coliseum was unbelievable – and we got waxed by Cleveland that night but you wouldn’t have known it from the fan reaction. The night we beat Michael and the Bulls at home the following season to start the 8-year sellout streak was pretty amazing too, and not too long after that was our first playoff appearance and win over the Celtics. Opening Night here in New Orleans was pretty special just because this town is so different, and the Arena truly felt like a great big party. But the biggest high I think I’ve felt with this team was the night we played the Lakers in the Arena after Katrina. To be the first team to come back and play was important to us. To have that kind of energy and pride in the building was indescribable.

There have been some lows, for sure. Bobby Phills’ death was shocking and hit us like nothing I’ve ever experienced before because it was so unexpected. That was the very definition of tragedy. Hurricane Katrina was also a tragedy, but in a much different way. To see your city 80% under water was hard to comprehend. The relocation to Oklahoma City was smooth and we’ll always be grateful for their support, but I hope to never go through something like that again.

4. Are the Honeybees allowed to date the players? What about dating unofficial team bloggers? Can you put in a good word for me?

There are restrictions about fraternizing with players, but we also spend a great deal of time and effort making sure the women we select for the squad are great ambassadors for the team and the city. When you look at them as potential ambassadors during the week-long audition process that we have, you typically don't have to worry about things like fraternization or even portraying the wrong image.

As far as unofficial team bloggers go, there are no written rules. But I can tell you that you'd better bring your 'A' game if you're going to have any chance at all with one of them.

5. Have there ever been any big deals that the Hornets pursued or were offered but didn't materialize? Any trades that nearly happened or free agents that almost signed?

I would say that 90% of the deals that get talked about never happen. You would be shocked at the number of trades or free agent signings that seem like they're a done deal, and then fall apart at the end for a myriad of reasons. It's the art of the deal, and every team goes through it. That's why I always find it amusing to read that “these two teams are close to completing a deal”, or “that team is really close to signing a certain player”. The distance between where you think you are with a deal, and where you actually end up, can be huge – and you never really know that gap exists until the deal falls apart. Suddenly you're looking around saying, "what happened?" It makes this business very interesting I can tell you that.

6. Paul Silas and Tim Floyd were both fired as head coach for not leading us deeper into the postseason. Byron Scott is entering his fourth year at the helm and hasn't even taken us to the playoffs. Is this season do-or-die for him?

Do-or-die isn’t something that’s even our radar screen. You know what the best thing about having Byron Scott as our head coach is? You don't have to say things like "do-or-die" or "make or break" with him. He's a winner – he's been one his entire life. You don't play and coach in as many championship series as he has without being one, and no one wants to win games and get back to the playoffs more than he does. We believe this team is talented enough to do those things, and we believe Coach Scott is the guy to lead us there.

Chad, you the man. I'm putting you on my super exclusive Christmas card list. Jackson Vroman is hereby bumped.

Be sure to check out Ryan's blog for part 2 of this bloggerview, which should be posted sometime soon. He had six super-fantastic questions of his own, complete with question marks and everything.

John Reid, we're coming for you!

Update: Part 2 has been posted at The New Orleans Hornets Fan. 

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