new orleans hornets history

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new orleans hornets history

What could possibly be next for the Hornets? While people gobble up New Orleans Hornets tickets in Oklahoma of all places, coach Byron Scott and company must wonder what other tragedy could happen. After suffering through a train wreck of a season, the fates sent a hurricane through their beautiful city, forcing them to evacuate inland.

Now in Oklahoma City, the Hornets are not having a hard time selling tickets in the basketball-starved city. But the team has to deal with matters like where they will live and how long they will live there. Just getting through this season may be considered a success. With a young team, featuring rookie Chris Paul, and athletic freak J.R. Smith, the New Orleans Hornets will look to make great strides in 2005-2006.

Fortunately the Hornets know a thing or two about moving, having recently relocated to New Orleans. Their original home was Charlotte, North Carolina, where they enjoyed a loyal following right up until the end. George Shinn moved the Hornets to the Big Easy at the end of the 2001 season.

Beginning in Charlotte in 1989, the Hornets made a name for themselves rapidly, drafting such stars as Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson. Those young stars made Charlotte the best young team of the 1990s.

With Mourning patrolling the paint and Johnson cleaning up the boards nightly, teams found Charlotte’s home court a hostile environment. Dubbed “The Hornets Nest,” their home arena came equipped with the buzz of swarming hornets, which would blare over the speakers during opposing teams’ possessions. This eventually became so unnerving that it was outlawed by the NBA.

Injuries and transactions took their toll on the Hornets eventually, leaving them without either of their young stars. The team then revamped their image, acquiring the sharp-shooting Glen Rice. Rice led a resurgence of the Hornets from 1996 to 1998. Rice went from long-range bomber to all-around superstar in his time in Charlotte, leading the team into the playoffs two years in a row.

After Rice was traded to the Lakers, the Hornets found a new leader in Baron Davis. Davis arrived in Charlotte from UCLA with a body ready for the NBA. Built like a tank, but quick as a cat, he had no problems adjusting to the league. Davis joined forces with the likes of Jamal Mashburn and PJ Brown to make the Hornets one of the most feared teams in the East.

Davis wowed Charlotte Hornets ticket holders on a nightly basis, until it was time to move the franchise south. Once in New Orleans, the Hornets gave their new fans something to cheer about, having a superb inaugural season that featured both Davis and Mashburn having career years.

In the years to follow Mashburn, Davis and Magloire were traded in a rebuilding effort that begins with Paul. The Wake Forest point guard has all the tools to turn the New Orleans Hornets around. He just needs to get the team back in New Orleans. Once there, New Orleans Hornets ticket holders should be privy to the development of an exceptional NBA talent.



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