|New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets|
|History|| Charlotte Hornets |
New Orleans Hornets
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
|Arena|| Ford Center |
New Orleans Arena
|City|| Oklahoma City, Oklahoma |
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Team Colors||Teal, Purple, and Gold|
|Head Coach||Byron Scott|
The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets are a professional basketball team based in New Orleans, Louisiana. They play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
In 1987, the NBA awarded an expansion franchise to four cities. Charlotte, North Carolina was one of those cities blessed with a new NBA team, along with Miami, Florida for the 1988-89 season. Minneapolis, Minnesota and Orlando, Florida were awarded teams for the 1989-90 season. The new franchise in Charlotte was originally named the Charlotte Spirit. However local fans in the Charlotte area took exception to that nickname. Not long after entering the league, the name was changed.
The franchise played its first game as the Charlotte Hornets in October 1988. The name "Hornets" was chosen because of its traditional use by Charlotte's professional sports teams. Charlotte Hornets was used by the city's minor league baseball franchises from 1901 to 1972, and also by its entry in the short-lived World Football League in 1974 and 1975. The name derived from the city's fierce resistance to British occupation during the Revolutionary War, leading Lord General Cornwallis to refer to it as the "Hornets' Nest".
The 1988 team was led by guard Kelly Tripucka, who provided instant offense. Tripucka was Charlotte's top scorer for the franchise's first two seasons. The team also had sharpshooting rookie Rex Chapman, who was a long-distance scoring threat. For the 1990-91 season, the team picked up guard Kendall Gill in the NBA Draft, and got slightly better, but still managed to win the draft lottery and the rights to the number one overall pick in the following year's draft.
For the 1991-92 season, the Hornets drafted power forward Larry Johnson from UNLV with the number one overall pick. Johnson had an impact season, finishing among league leaders in points and rebounds, and winning the 1992 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Kendall Gill led the club in scoring, with over 20 points per game.
In 1992-93, the team won the second pick in the draft, using it to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning. The Hornets now had two 20-10 threats in Johnson and Mourning, who with Gill formed perhaps the league's top young trio. It was good enough for fifth in the Eastern Conference and a playoff spot, where they upset the Boston Celtics with Mourning's famous series-winning shot. However, they lacked the experience and depth to defeat the New York Knicks.
The next few years were marked by injuries to Johnson and Mourning, though they did get back to the playoffs in 1994-95, only to be beaten by the Chicago Bulls.
In the offseason the team dealt Mourning to the Miami Heat for guard Glen Rice and center Matt Geiger. Geiger and Johnson tied for the team lead in rebounds, while Johnson and Rice provided balanced but high-powered scoring, with all-star guard Kenny Anderson running the point for the injured Muggsy Bogues.
The offseason was again marked by vast changes: Anderson declined to re-sign, Johnson was shipped to the Knicks for power forward Anthony Mason, and lottery draft pick guard Kobe Bryant was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for center Vlade Divac. The new-look Hornets were apparently even better, however, with Divac and Geiger providing the best center combo in the league, Mason averaging a double-double and all-NBA third team honors, Bogues back at the point, and Rice having the finest season of his career, finishing third in the league in scoring and earning all-NBA second team honors. Rice was also the All-Star game MVP, setting several scoring records. The team also spotted the best season of their history, making it back to the playoffs.
1997-98 was also successful. The team picked up a new free-agent backcourt in point guard David Wesley and shooting guard Bobby Phills. With Wesley, Phills, Rice, Mason and Divac, the Hornets romped through the regular season, with Rice finishing sixth in scoring and earning all-NBA third team honors and the team making it all the way to the second round of the playoffs for the second time in franchise history, again being stopped the Bulls. 1998-1999 would also turbulent, with Rice being traded to the Lakers for Eddie Jones
1999-2000 was a return to prominence, with the addition of free agent Derrick Coleman and third overall draft pick, point guard Baron Davis. The lineup of Wesley, Jones, Mason, Coleman and Campbell tore through much of the season, but on January 12, 2000 Bobby Phills was killed in an automobile accident. His number was retired on February 9. The team returned to the playoffs, where they succumbed to the Philadelphia 76ers. Jones led the league in steals, but in the offseason he and Mason were shipped to the Heat in exchange for Jamal Mashburn and P.J. Brown.
The Hornets, with the lineup of Davis, Wesley, Mashburn, Brown and Campbell made it back to the playoffs, where they upset the third-seeded Heat and made it to the conference semifinals for the third time in franchise history, before losing the the Milwaukee Bucks. They returned the following season by beating the Orlando Magic, but were upended by the New Jersey Nets. Many thought this was because of Jamal Mashburn missing the playoffs. The Hornets relocated to New Orleans after disputes with the city of Charlotte over a new arena. With the Hornets gone, the NBA returned to Charlotte by way of expansion to a 30th team: the new Charlotte Bobcats.
In May of 2002, the move to New Orleans was precipitated by several mis-cues on the part of team ownership. George Shinn was accused of sexual misconduct; he was accused of trading future superstars like Kobe Bryant and Alonzo Mourning due to an inability to pay market value; and finally he issued an ultimatum demanding that the city of Charlotte agree to build a new arena at no cost to team ownership or else he'd leave. The city turned the offer down, forcing the move to New Orleans. (Despite rejecting the Hornets' offer, Charlotte still managed to build the arena anyway, and it opened in 2005 as the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.) A deal was quickly made to play at the New Orleans Arena, next door to the Louisiana Superdome.
October 30, 2002: The New Orleans Hornets opened their inaugural season in New Orleans against the Utah Jazz, who, coincidentally, were originally called the New Orleans Jazz; "Pistol" Pete Maravich had his number retired during halftime. It was the first NBA game played in New Orleans in 23 years. They qualified for the playoffs for the fourth straight year in 2002-03, but were beaten by Philadelphia again. Jamal Mashburn also missed most of these playoffs.
After the season, the team decided to move in a different direction and allowed the contract of head coach Paul Silas to expire. He was replaced by Tim Floyd, and the Hornets got off to a 17-7 start, but the team reverted to form and finished 41-41, narrowly missing out on home court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. They played the Miami Heat in the playoffs, but Dwyane Wade's last second shot sunk the Hornets in Game One of the series. The teams ended up winning all their respective home games after that, but Wade's shot was the difference, even though the series went to seven games, the Heat winning 4-3.
After the season, Floyd was fired and the team hired Byron Scott to be their head coach. With a move into the Southwestern Division of the Western Conference which included four playoff teams in the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and Memphis Grizzlies, the team was not expected to compete for a playoff spot. In a season marred by injury to the team's three all-stars (Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire, and Jamal Mashburn) an 0-8 start quickly became a 2-29 record, which started a watch of how bad their record could get, threatening the Philadelphia 76ers' record of a 9-73 season. The team performed better in January and February with the emerging play of fan favorite Dan Dickau, but the season was essentially over before it started with the horrendous start. As a result of the lack of success, the team's roster was reshaped, with older veterans Baron Davis and Jamal Mashburn traded to facilitate a rebuilding process. The team found stronger support for their younger, scrappier players than they did the previous year. They also acquired Jimmy Jackson from the Houston Rockets, but Jackson never reported to the team (which surprisingly was supported by leading NBA analysts on radio shows and TV networks) and was traded again, this time to the Phoenix Suns for Maciej Lampe, Casey Jacobsen, and Jackson Vroman, none of which made a significant impact.
The attendance, on a steady decline since the team's arrival in the Big Easy, soon reached all-time lows for the franchise in New Orleans. However, the team did enjoy a brief resurgence in local support as a result of the popularity of Coach Byron Scott and 2005 draft-pick Chris Paul, before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina brought about yet another relocation, to Oklahoma City.
Due to the catastrophic devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina upon the community of southeastern Louisiana, the New Orleans Hornets temporarily moved their base of operations to Oklahoma City for the 2005-06 season as well as the majority of the 2006-07 season.
Record wise, the Hornets started off better than expected, which was not playoff worthy, but still good. When Chris Andersen was kicked out of the league due to a drug violation, it seemed to spark the Hornets to a hot streak, vaulting the team briefly into the sixth seed in the West. Eventually, however, the Hornets went cold, losing 12 out of 13 games to drop out of the playoff race, setting an ignonimous NBA record in the process when they scored 16 points in the second half of a game in Los Angeles versus the Clippers. The Hornets rebounded to make one final push at the end of the season for a playoff spot, but last second losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz sunk those hopes, and the team finished 38-44, 10th place in the Western Conference and 6 games out of a playoff spot.
Despite the losing record, the season was a success. Chris Paul had one of the best rookie seasons ever by an NBA point guard, and several Hornets were also in the running for other individual awards. Fans in Oklahoma City sold out the Ford Center 24 times, solidifying their city's readiness for a permanent "Big Four" professional sports franchise, while the New Orleans Arena was packed for three games in March.
The team's future is still up in the air, as owner George Shinn has refused to make any commital decisons up to this point. More will be expected out of the Hornets, as they play 35 games next year in the Ford Center and 6 in the New Orleans Arena.
Players of note編輯
None as of the 2004-05 season.
Not to be forgotten:編輯
- Kenny Anderson
- Muggsy Bogues
- Elden Campbell
- Rex Chapman
- Derrick Coleman
- Dell Curry
- Baron Davis
- Vlade Divac
- Matt Geiger
- Kendall Gill
- Eddie Jones
- Larry Johnson
- Jamaal Magloire
- Jamal Mashburn
- Anthony Mason
- Alonzo Mourning
- Johnny Newman
- Bobby Phills
- J.R. Reid
- Glen Rice
- David Wesley
- George Lynch
- Robert Traylor
- Lee Nailon
Note: The Hornets retired "Pistol" Pete Maravich's number during their first game in New Orleans in honor of his basketball contributions to the area at LSU and with New Orleans' previous NBA team, the Jazz.
- Dick Harter (1988-1989)
- Gene Littles (1989-1991)
- Allan Bristow (1991-1996)
- Dave Cowens (1996-1998)
- Paul Silas (1998-2002)
New Orleans Hornets - Oklahoma City Hornets
- New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets official web site
- HornetsReport.com (New Orleans Fan site)
- HornetsCentral.com (Oklahoma City Fan site)
- Official web site of the Hornets Summer Pro League
- NBA Fantasy Basketball Stats - New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets