Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

So the Hornets traded Tyson Chandler today.

That may seem like a lame way to begin this, but really, it’s something I had to do. ‘Cause every time someone says it or types it, I’m still getting this little jolt, like, “Wait, what? Tyson isn’t on our team?” I guarantee you that when I go back up the the top to proofread this post, I’ll think, “Wait, what? Tyson was traded?” despite having written about it for however many paragraphs. And it’s because of that jolt that I have to type it out.

mW said I should talk about the bullshit the Hornets organization has tried to put past us, the emails we’ve received from the official Hornets mailing list that claim this move was made to “add more size” (From 7-1 to 6-10 is more size now? I guess I should claim to be 5’9 then, while we’re at it, if that’s the way math works in this strange Hornets PR twilight zone) and “more rebounding” (so Tyson was having a down year– neither Smith nor Wilcox can equal his rebounds). Do I wish they would just be honest and say it was about cutting salary? Yes. Do I think sending out these B.S. emails and making Bob and Gil be falsely and gratingly cheerful on the broadcast is akin to treating fans like they think we’re stupid? Of course.

But you know, I’m not going to talk about that. Partly because I don’t have the energy. But mostly because there’s a guy out there who doesn’t deserve that junk mingled into a post that should rightly be about him.

I know many of you have either read the About section of this blog, or heard my story of how I became a basketball fan. Then you’ll have a little perspective on where I’m coming from. Because, man, I honestly can’t tell you when I last felt this betrayed by a team. I mean, this is probably going back to when Dominik Hasek screwed over the Buffalo Sabres in 2001, so we are talking eight years without major sports hurt for me. I think what stings the worst for me is we all imagined that CP-DWest-Tyson was the nucleus, the young guys you build around. Of the starting lineup, Peja seemed like the one who gets supplanted in a year or two for youth, perhaps by Julian Wright. And– this is the crux of the thing– if I thought that, if most of us thought that, what did Chris Paul think, when he signed that three year extension last summer?

Good luck, TC

Photo by Matt aka Storm Surge Photography

I don’t know.

I know I thought this was a guy who was gonna be with us a while. But I’m not going to talk about that. I’m going to talk about those early days, back in the beginning of last season when New Orleans Arena was sparsely dotted with 8,000 fans, back before no one believed. I didn’t really want to be there. mW bought the tickets for me, and I felt sort of like I was being dragged to games every other day. I had never thought much of the NBA. It wasn’t the stereotypes for me so much as that the game itself seemed trite. Growing up in hockey rinks, where a goal meant leaping-out-of-your-seat everything, how could I think much of a game where you could score 100 points and shrug them off as nothing? I thought it would bore me, and for about a month and a half, it did.

But then something subtly changed. I think it was shortly after mW bought a Peja Stojakovic jersey. He said I should get one too, and we could match. And logically, it made excellent sense, seeing as Peja and I share a similar former-Yugoslavian heritage. Except I told him I didn’t want one. Because I’d decided that Tyson Chandler was my favorite Hornet. Maybe it was the hops, maybe it was the aura of good-natured goofiness around him. Maybe it was the energy he brought to games. And who can forget his hilarious blog posts? And Jannero Pargo dubbing him the Ceiling Fan Repair Man?

I’m going to talk about my best Tyson moment. It was last year, in the game at Golden State. TC had 22 points and 22 rebounds, and the Hornets won 116 to 104, but the highlight was this one dunk. He caught the alley oop from CP, threw it down, and then turned to the crowd and absolutely growled and swaggered. He just had this monster crazy staredown for everyone around there. Man, we were out of our seats.

Which reminds me: we need to pause and haveĀ  a moment of silence for the Crescent City Connection. (For those of you not in the know, that was the infamous Chris Paul-to-Tyson Chandler alley oop combo, nicknamed after a local bridge.) You would have thought the roof was going to come off the building when TC caught one and threw it down… which he did, over 100 times last season, the most in the league. For a big guy, Tyson could run with the best of them, and he and CP just seemed to have an sixth sense for knowing where the other guy was on the floor.

He could fire up a crowd. He knew how to. He liked doing it.

You can tell me I should know it’s a business. And I do. I haven’t watched the NBA, but I’ve watched sports long enough to know that. Like AI said it was practice, it’s sure enough a business. Business, man. We talkin about business. Business. I know that. I do.

But in the end, he was my favorite guy on the team.

And I do not believe in this whole newfangled “liberated fandom” trend. I don’t. And don’t accuse me of not being deep. I majored in philosophy, OK? I get what Free Darko is saying, and I get the levels on which they’re saying it. But I’ve largely come to the conclusion that it’s not for me and will never will be. Because I don’t understand how you can go to each and every game and not get attached, and not form opinions of players– more than players, really, people– based on what you see. And not then take those opinions and merge them into some messy whole, tied together in your head, just those guys and you and a basketball court and a small glowing screen. And so, OK, maybe we’re lucky as Hornets fans, because we can have our likable lightning and chaos combined with our intense partisanship– after all, not everyone has a CP. We can have our flash and our alley oop and go home feeling like what we saw was somehow more than the money, than commercialism, than marketing. We can push down the guilt. Or we could. Until something like today happens, and it’s there, exposed, like how it would feel to momentarily glimpse the timbers that hold up your house and realize they’re rotted through. And then the floor stops being see-through, and another great play happens, and suddenly we’ll find ourselves distracted once more.

But the trend is objective, objective, objective. Feel free to enjoy the game as art, but actually caring about it is passe. Well, I care about it. And I’m not a journalist. I’m not a theorist. I’m a fan, and that’s the philosophy on which I started this blog. Let everyone else break down the facts. We’re going to react. And you know, what is wrong with that? What, are we living in an age where we’re too cool or too numb to feel? Or wait, even better, you’re going to tell me I feel more open to reacting to things because I’m a girl? Bullshit.

Basketball is something we watch. And if we watch enough, we start to feel a sense of ownership. “Our” team. “We” won tonight. And we start to project things onto it that may not be entirely realistic. So then it’s this massive startling jolt when something business-y gets done.

Like my favorite Hornet player getting traded today.

And you can say it was just the beginning for me as an NBA fan. You can say I’ll have other favorite players.

But he was the first.

And I guess, for that, I want to say thanks. Thank you for your strength. Thank you for your humor. Thank you for representing our city. Thank you for wearing New Orleans on your shirt, if only for a couple of years.

Good luck, big man. I hope you make your All Star game one day… ’cause I’ll miss you.



Comments

38 Responses to “The Post You Never Wanted to Write”

  1. Hey tt6, Tyson was my favorite player, too. I really respected the things he did for the community, especially the teachers.

    I was supposed to have one of those fan profiles at the back of the game programs, but I said my favorite player is Tyson, so I don’t know if they’ll ever run it. I wound up getting my fan photo for the page taken before a recent game, and maybe because I was standing at the edge of the court, I decided to tilt my head back and ROAR LIKE TYSON! holding both hands to make a NBA 3 sign, cuz 3 x 2 hands = Tyson Chandler, No. 6, for the New Orleans Hornets.

    Look, we can still root like crazy for Tyson. Except when he plays my team with New Orleans across the chest. Then I’m gonna want him to miss dunks, foul everybody, including the cheerleaders, and brick every free throw. We still got a team with some game that’s scintillating…

  2. Hornet-Saint says:

    I still won’t be cheering for any Thunder games, although I wish TC well.

  3. Hornet-Saint says:

    BTW, have you seen the season ticket prices for next year? Jacked them up a lot. My current seat is going from $1,075 to $1,419.

    Yours are going to $2,021! (43 games with preseason * now $47)!

    In this economy too… Unbelievable.

  4. Matt - Storm Surge says:

    I was saving that shot for the end of the season when we talked about what a great run it was for us. None of that set has been published anywhere and its the best shots Ive gotten of any of the team (including the stuff I shoot at Sportsline @Hooters).

    Tyson, Im sorry to see you go. You were taken from us too soon.

  5. Nice post. I think we’re all still in a state of shock… one that probably won’t be lifted for a while. I’m a little used to teams disappointing me because of the Saints, but I always thought the Hornets were going to be different.

    In the past, a couple of players have tried to screw us (Baron, JR), but you can just ship those morons off and move on as an organization. But when it’s the ownership and management that is putting lipstick on a pig and making indefensible trades (seriosuly, we broke up our core and couldn’t get a single draft pick in the deal?), then it’s much harder to deal with.

    Good luck, Tyson. I’ll be raising my glass to you all Mardi Gras weekend.

  6. Cayman_hornet says:

    Here’s my question – surely it makes far more business sense to keep him? Ok sure we go over the salary cap, but with CP-DWest-TC we were guaranteed at least a conference title in three years. That would have given us way more money than the luxury tax would have taken out.
    Stupid stupid stupid….

  7. Along those lines, Cayman_hornet, why am I as a season ticketholder going to pay $300 more for my seats when I’m not sure the organization is committed to giving me back a winning product?

    Lost in a lot of this is that yes, we’re under the luxury tax now, but we still have little to NO cap room to make moves to further improve or replace Tyson. The reluctance to draft and place trust in young players has to stop, because it’s one of the only ways they’re going to get out of this mess.

  8. I am still in the state of shock….I don’t know what to say. I have been Hornets fan since they moved in. Now I have moved out of NO about 2 years, I am still rooting nobody but Hornets. I guess when they ship CP and DW out, I will lose the touch of Hornets.

    Business…money make me sick!!!!

  9. I’m still in a state of shock. I loved the CP – Tyson connection with the alley-oops! How can the organization do that? It was CP-West-Tyson for a while!!!!! :(
    i’m really angry too!!!! can we petition?

  10. I took comfort in the fact that the Hornets seemed to have a soul, in addition to a brain. The team seemed to genuinely like each other, they were successful, and they treated their fans well and appreciated them. A win-win situation. They chipped away at that a little bit when they brought in Wells and James, raised prices for tickets and parking, and scaled back on the extras at the games. But this move and the way they are spinning it have dealt a major blow. I’m re-considering my 4 season tickets for next year, especially if we are looking at another 30% price hike.

    I realize that we are a small-market team with a small-time ownership, so that we start out with a disadvantage against everyone in the West except maybe San Antonio and Utah. However, CP3 presents the same type of opportunity to break through that Duncan did for San Antonio. We need the same type of family approach and long term thinking that they have. I’ll bet two rounds of playoff games would pay for the luxury tax, but without Tyson we won’t make it past one. A company with a soul would consider that…..

  11. This is heartbreaking. TT6 please put up the Sad James Posey face for me.

  12. sad Posey facemore sad Pose angry Pose James Posey is sad. Twice. There are actually two sad James Posey faces. And while I’m at it, how about an angry Posey? I think this trade is worth 2 sad Poseys and 1 angry one.

  13. So….wonder what is next……does bower try to get the two things we need(now a good backup and a good starting center as well as a two guard who can slash to the basket instead of just shoot jumpshots all day) or will the Hornets of old show up and just start performing random trades again that keep us at roughly the same place but never bring us near a title. Pisses me off to watch miami make deals to make them better and even teams like oklahoma and charlotte are adding good players to the mix……phoenix got jason richardson……just pisses me off watching other teams try to better themselves even if it doesn’t work out they are trying but I don’t get that feeling with the Hornets right now. They had all the right pieces minus two spots, back up center and decent starting two guard how freaking hard would it be to get that. Houston gets artest in the offseason……..seriously when are we going to make a move that will benefit this team every single time there is a major trade we maybe move up a few spots and bam we are right back where we started.

  14. @ Cayman_hornet and TT6: I agree that this trade also made bad business sense. One of the writers at Golden State of Mind put it really well: “The Hornets should be looking to build a stronger brand in their local city and increase ties to the community. Their eyes should be on the long-term. Take a few losses in the short-term if that’s what it takes.” Well put. Tyson was part of the greater piece that convinced us all that CP would win multiple rings with this team, and that the organization would do everything possible to get them there.

    But I’ll cut short my commentary other than to say TT6 was right in the main post. Her idea was much better than mine.

  15. I feel like I’ve been traded for a salary cap.

  16. His face is on the goddamned building.

  17. YoungFella says:

    Yesterday you guys asked for boycott ideas. I couldn’t come up with anything clever to do publicly, but I realized that to hit Shinn hardest would be in his pocketbook.

    So I will not pay to park, I will not buy any concessions, I will sneak in my alcohol in a flask. I will make my GF drink her water from the fountain or sneak in a bottle. I will not buy my playoff tickets from the team, but will rather get them 2nd hand on eBay.

    Shinn will not get another penny from me until he has righted this situation.

  18. YoungFella says:

    Forgot to list – no authentic merchandise that the Hornets get cuts of. Get your stuff secondhand on eBay or from non-licensed providers like homemade shirts, etc.

  19. Youngfella–

    We think alike! We’re doing the same thing tonight. We already talked about it last night. Buying Subway on the way to the game so we won’t buy concessions. And I plan to purchase a big fat flask.

    And you know, last year we bought EVERYTHING there. We made a point to, because we really wanted to do our part in helping this team stay in New Orleans. But right now I don’t feel like the organization has necessarily done ITS part. So I won’t be spending for a little while, if that’s the least I can do.

    George Shinn made enough money yesterday. He’s not getting my twenty bucks.

  20. Good call, Youngfella. I was going to do a post calling for a boycott, but wanted to think it through. I don’t want to hurt the team with a permanent loss of revenue, but I would like to organize a 1 game boycott to show them we’re mad, and that in all actuality, we’re the ones who pay the bills.

  21. I wish I had a costume of DEATH to wear to the ESPN game tonight! Complete with a scythe and one of those voice changing boxes so I could sound like Darth Vader. I bet that would visually sum up our feelings about the trade.

    Note I am never gonna pull for OKC because I dig TC. But I routinely root for players I like, except when they play the Hornets, like Mike Bibby and Bobby Jackson, AI, Nate Robinson, and Danny Granger. Sometimes, I confess, I even admire Ginobilli, although I always yell at him for flopping. I watch as much basketball as possible, so naturally I pull for these guys to play well, and if their team goes up against a team that needs to lose so the Hornets prosper, it makes the game more fun to watch. I’ll add TC to the list, and I stand in awe of Durant’s scoring machine abilities, but nope, no love for OKC’s team.

    That said, I really feel for tt6′s predicament. I think you will do permanent homage to all that Tyson meant to getting you into the game, simply by keeping #6 in your handle. I actually envy your connection to Tyson.

    Look, I’ve been a NBA fan since I was an itty bitty kid, and now I’m roughly as old as dirt. I think if you could let me watch any game in hoops history, I would be real tempted to see Elgin Baylor in person before he hurt his knee because he was the first powerful high flyer, and Elgin in his prime was just b4 my time. I will go on & on talking about the complete game of Oscar Robertson and dig into stats comparing CP3 to Nate “Tiny” Archibald, who is the only player to lead the league in assists and scoring in the same season! I see the game thru so many prisms of history, but this Hornets team still has a chance to get somewhere, even this year, if the team actually focuses like hell on rebounding the ball. I don’t know about winning it all, but I like our Hornets considered as the playoff underdogs.

    What we can’t stand for in any way, shape or attitude is for the Hornets to strand CP3′s awesome talent in any scenario like what the old Jazz did to Maravich. Pistol sacrificed his career for the Jazz, injuring himself, and trying to play hurt, during what could’ve been the team’s magical first playoff run. Then the team moved to m-f-n Utah, and reluctantly traded him to the Celtics. I won’t stand by for such shenanigans from this management because Chris Paul has all the moxie, talent, and drive to win rings and compete at the highest level.

    Like I wrote on hornets247, this is gut check time. I know where I stand: I want MY team here in New Orleans to keep my talented magician guard within reach of a ring, and I will be loud and proud to have the chance to urge MY team forward. The Hornets are definitely on serious fan probation for ditching Tyson, but I have to think that if Wilcox is ever gonna get his shine on and play for his next contract, he will seize this chance with the Hornets. He’d have to be a blundering underachiever not to see what’s at stake for him, and if he ever wants to be a starter in the NBA here’s his golden chance to show & prove. Otherwise, Wilcox can make oodles of dough sitting on the bench for future crappy teams, like the Clippers, Sonics and Thunder where he came from, and I won’t ever say his name again, except as an infamous memory that will brand his career potential forever.

    So guys, don’t make me get that DEATH costume. I don’t want to bust that cap on your sorry Hornets management butt.

  22. macatak911 says:

    I’m joining the boycott…..I bought WOW every game….

  23. YoungFella says:

    Hey Ticktock and mW – if you can hold off on having a flask for tonight’s game, I’d HIGHLY recommend getting rum runner flasks at http://www.rumrunnerflasks.com/.

    They’re vinyl and plastic and undetectable by metal detectors like many standard flasks. Also they’re bendy and fit easily into your jeans or jacket. I got them for my cruise in December and have been using them at Hornets game off and on since then. They’re really cheap and they arrive in like 2 days. It’s amazingly fast.

  24. Holy crap Chris P just dominated the first quarter, not to sound selfish CP but um…..the shoot first pass second idea seems to work for you

  25. @ Youngfella: LOL

    @ Michael: totally. And tack on a 3 to his highlight reel.

  26. TYSON ISN’T GONE! He failed his physical? Didn’t they know he was hurt?

  27. YoungFella says:

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!

  28. HO. LY. SHIT.

    Welcome back, big man. Let’s get that ring.

  29. Uh, but then we still don’t have him because he’s hurt. I’m utterly confused right now. I just turned on ESPN and I have no idea what’s going on.

  30. So it makes me wonder how hurt he really is. I actually feel worse now with this wrinkle than with him gone because we were about to have a full almost healthy bench… Which means I’ve gone corporate.

    I am confused

  31. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AuS5TtpcrgoY6iazYG2DZta8vLYF?slug=aw-tradebuzz021709&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    Turf toe… I wonder how long he has been playing on that? No wonder they were trying to dump him. Turf toe has ended many an athlete’s season.

  32. Matt - Storm Surge says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

    HUGE win AND Tyson fails his physical. Could tonight have gone any better? I mean really. I wish to jeebus I had bought lottery tickets!

  33. This is weird. No wonder Bower wasn’t in his usual seat tonight. I just figured he didn’t want to get beer “accidentally” spilled on him.

  34. I believe that Bower tried to pull a fast one on the Thunder. That is my own conspiracy theory.

    “Here’s a player that won’t play this season and will have a nagging injury the rest of his career. Thx4ur big men that go off the books at the end of the season”

    He almost pulled it off. I’m impressed with the sneakiness.

  35. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3917505&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines

    i’m so glad….. no matter what, Tyson is soul of the team– you can’t trade him away when he’s hurt! He’ll get better and then he’ll play better!!!

  36. Wow….one of the best posts I’ve ever read on your site. I have been playing ball and watching the NBA since the 70′s. I love the game of basketball and the NBA….I always have and I tried to make a living playing professionally , but it didn’t happen for me(it did for a few friends of mine). The business side of sports can screw up the game for us as fans….it doesn’t leave any better taste in your mouth whatever the sport involved. I am glad that this trade was nixed as we all know it wasn’t a basketball decision but a business one….let us all hope that there aren’t any lingering psychological effects…..props for a killa post Ticktock6

  37. [...] feel really terrible for Sarah (of Hornets Hype… look at this sad post she wrote) and the rest of the Hornets fan base. This move doesn’t make sense to me. Joe Smith and [...]



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