Hornets Beat: Fan Edition

Published: July 25, 2011

In this weeks edition of Hornets Beat, we will be taking a look back and then forward from the perspective of some of New Orleans’ finest souls. We have a superhero (of sorts), four writers, and five questions. No time to waste on this fine Monday Morning so let’s get to it.

The Purple Hornet was a Bee-Zanie last year, and is one of the most visually recognizable fans the Hornets have ever had. Alejandro de los Rios covers the Hornets for Gambit’s Blog of New Orleans. say-what is a long time contributor and owner at Hornets Report. Mason Ginsberg is a writer for HoopDat. I’m some dude who snuck by security.

1. When and why did you first become a Hornets fan?

The Purple Hornet, Superfan- I’ve been an NBA fan since I can remember and followed a bunch of teams in my life time. When I heard we were actually getting an NBA team in 2002, my loyalties went directly to our hometown team. I can’t imagine following anyone but the Hornets now.

Alejandro de los Rios, Gambit- Three years ago when the Hornets made that crazy run and lost to the Spurs in Game 7 not only made me a Hornets fan but also reinvigorated my love for the NBA

say-what, Hornets Report- I first became a Hornets fan during the relocation process, probably January of 2002. I suffered through the loss of the Jazz and was glad that the NBA was giving us a well-deserved second chance.

Mason Ginsberg, Hoopdat- I’ve been a huge basketball fan for my entire life, so I naturally became a Hornets fan the instant that the team announced it was moving to New Orleans.

Joe Gerrity- I had followed the team to some extend since I decided to move to New Orleans originally, but it was the first game I attended after they came back from Katrina, against Philadelphia, that I really became a die-hard.

2. What was your favorite day in Hornets history?

The Purple Hornet, Superfan- “..with the 13th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft..the Hornets select…Julian Wright from Kansas” KIDDING. As a Hornets fan, I can’t pick one day in history, so I’m going to choose the 07-08 Season. 56-26 and Conference Champs, beating the Mavs in the first round and taking the Spurs to 7 games in the Conference Semis. It was the season where we all saw the start of greatness in the city or so we thought.

Alejandro de los Rios, Gambit- When they hired Monty Williams and Dell Demps, shook themselves out of the funk of the Bower/Scott years and became a competent and exciting young franchise

say-what, Hornets Report- Opening night, October 30, 2002. Hornets beat the Jazz. Nothing could top that night for me.

Mason Ginsberg, Hoopdat- October 30th, 2002 is up there (opening night of the Hornets’ first season in NOLA), but I think April 29th, 2008 edges it out (game 5 series-clinching victory over Dallas). It still stands as the city’s only NBA playoff series victory, and I won’t soon forget how nice it was to convincingly prove all of the doubters wrong who made us the trendy pick for a first round upset.

Joe Gerrity- I want to say it was the watch party that Hornets247 threw for the opening game of the playoff series against LA, but I think I’m going to go with April 29th, 2008. It was my birthday, and I got to dance in the streets with Soul Rebels after clinching the series against Dallas.

3. What was your least favorite day?

The Purple Hornet, Superfan- April 27, 2009 — 58 point loss to Denver in the playoffs. Besides the game 7 loss to the Spurs in the Conference Semis, this was the hardest loss to sit in the Arena for. Even though 3/4′s of the Arena had left, we sat there until the final buzzer and endured the full pain with our team.

Alejandro de los Rios, Gambit- Every day someone reminds me of the sketchy ownership situation or another CP3 trade rumor comes up

say-what, Hornets Report- Not so much a day as it was an era – the 2 year fiasco that was the OKC years. The Hornets, and George Shinn, botched their “temporary” stay in OKC and OKC’s politicians and business leaders with an eye towards looting the team didn’t help. The Hornets made New Orleans feel like unwanted stepchildren.

Mason Ginsberg, Hoopdat- The game that stung the most was game 7 against the Spurs in the 2008 Western Conference semis (5/19/08). I know it was the greatest season in the team’s brief tenure here, but having it end on our home court after being up three games to two really hurt. Least favorite day overall? June 30th, 2011. Regardless of the state of the Hornets’ franchise, basketball is better than no basketball, so the day that the current lockout began tops all else.

Joe Gerrity- The loss against the Nuggets was pretty awful by itself, but at the time Frogs

Gone Fishin, a band from Denver, was staying at my house. There was no getting away from that one no matter how hard I tried. They still bring it up whenever I see them…

4. What would you expect your interest level would be in the NBA if they missed an entire season due to a lockout?

The Purple Hornet, Superfan- My interest level will be the same no matter what. I love basketball, have always loved basketball and will always love basketball. I’m ready for the season to start tomorrow, but we all know this will be a long and drawn out process. I’m just hoping we get to see some basketball this season.

Alejandro de los Rios, Gambit- As much as I love the NBA…I can live without it. That’s not to say that I won’t go back to watching games when they get back, but the owners and players are pretty stupid to go from one the most exciting seasons in recent memory to a labor dispute that could cancel the next

say-what, Hornets Report- If the NBA were to miss the entire season, I’d probably lose whatever remaining interest I have in the league. Yes, that was my initial reaction to the question. But, I really need to qualify this response. I’d lose total interest if the end result were a CBA that didn’t result in financial and competitive balance for the smaller market teams and/or left the top players on each team with too much control over player and coaching decisions. If these concerns are met, I still wouldn’t just come back as if nothing happened, but I’d eventually come around.

Mason Ginsberg, Hoopdat- Like most of us, my interest level in the NBA would obviously be diminished in the short term with no basketball being played. That being said, I’m a sucker for pro basketball and love the NBA too much to be any less interested in the league itself whenever play resumes, no matter how selfish the owners and players act.

Joe Gerrity- If we miss an entire season, small market teams take a bad deal to resolve things, and Gary Chouest makes it clear he wasn’t going to buy, then it would be a lot harder to care as much. Fortunately I don’t think any of those three things will happen.

5. How do you feel about re-branding the franchise under a new owner?

The Purple Hornet, Superfan- Funny you ask. On a certain website this week, while searching for hats, 4 out of their 5 hats were Charlotte Hornets hats. I’m not one of the fans pushing for it, but if it happens, it happens. I’m a firm believer that winning cures all. Win and the fans of New Orleans will show up and claim the Hornets as their own. Let’s get an owner first, one who is looking to improve this roster and win some games. Personally, re-branding is the last thing on my to-do list. IF it happens though, my name choice is The KREWE of New Orleans.

Alejandro de los Rios, Gambit- I don’t necessarily think a new owner will “rebrand” the franchise. At least, I hope not because the Hornets PR and marketing have done a great job forging the team’s identity here in New Orleans (even though, as I’ve said, the Hornets need to put in five times as much effort to get less than half the attention of the Saints).

say-what, Hornets Report- The Hornets desperately need a rebrand. Ten years later and people still call them the Charlotte Hornets. Now with the mess George Shinn created that led to his turning the team over to the league, a fresh start is needed more than ever. The Hornets have long been referred to as “cheap” and “struggling”, why keep a name with so much negative baggage?

Mason Ginsberg, Hoopdat- If the objective is to give the team a more local flavor, then sure, why not? At first I was skeptical of the idea, but that kind of action would show a great deal of commitment to the city, so any new owner who wished to do so would be okay in my book.

Joe Gerrity- I would support an owner who wanted to localize the branding a little more. The fact is, Hornets aren’t bees. They also live in nests, not hives. The whole thing is very confusing, especially since I’ve never seen one in Louisiana.


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