Hornets Hype

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Archive for the ‘ CrowdWatch ’ Category

Help Save the Hornets. For Real.

By on December 27, 2010

Sure, we joked about buying the Hornets. But low and behold the guys over at Hornets247 have organized a real charity organization, the Save Our Hornets Foundation, which is accepting donations to help put people in seats at the Hornets game, to help ensure the attendance benchmark is set and the Hornets are locked into several more years of their lease, making it much more likely that the next owner is someone who wants to keep the team in New Orleans.

This Foundation is for real and sends schoolkids to games, so it’s a great cause in more ways than one.  No one need be rich to help.  Twenty bucks here, ten bucks there (or more), and with all the different donors, it will add up.  So this holiday season, take the time to give a little (or a lot) to help keep the Hornets in New Orleans.  Prove wrong the world who thinks New Orleans can’t support more than one championship team.  It’s the right thing to do.

Help Hornets Hype Buy The Hornets

By on December 5, 2010

By now, the rumors are everywhere.  The Hornets ownership situation is in chaos.  George Shinn wants out.  Gary Chouest wants out.  Maybe the NBA wants in?  Perhaps this is why the Times Picayune dug up the little nugget warning folks that if the Hornets don’t average 14,214 in attendance through the end of the year, the team can pay a $10 million exit fee and walk.  No big deal with either Shinn or Chouest involved: Shinn doesn’t have the extra $10M and Chouest has no incentive in moving away from his home.  But if some billionaire from St. Louis, Seattle, or Kansas City wants in, that $10 may be chump change.  So what’s a fan to do?

Buy the team.

That’s right.  It’s not that hard.  Hornets Hype will incorporate and start selling shares in a private stock offering.  Fellow #twittersection friend, @snavetrebor, correctly points out that all it takes is 17,000 investors willing to pay $17,000 each.  Symmetry.  I like it.  So what say you, folks, want to own an NBA team?

It’s the American way; the power of many accomplish what individuals alone cannot.  Plus, there’s no reason, if y’all want, that you can’t buy more than one share.  Spend $34,000 and you get two shares, $68,000 for four.  You get the idea.  So for all you millionaires out there, you can get 59 shares for just over $1 million.  Not a bad deal, right?  We can share a luxury suite or two, with the largest investors to get the floor seats.  Any unsold floor seats can go by lottery if unsold by gametime.

Don’t worry about how it all works.  Hornets Hype’s lawyers will draft a comprehensive set of by-laws to govern HornetsHype, Inc.; but, for the sake of parity, we’ll try to set up most decisions by majority rule.  Although, Chouest owns 35% of the team now,  51% of our ownership own the remaining 65%, and so will be able to override anything he says or does.  Unlikely anyone would personally own more than half of our corporation, but who are we to stop investors from helping buy the Hornets and keeping them in New Orleans?

So, if you have $17,000 or more burning a hole in your pocket, hit us up.  If not, well, buy some goddamn tickets.  We’re not that far off the attendance mark that keeps any potential out-of-state investor from swooping in and stealing the team.  The Hornets, despite their recent swoon, are 8-2 at home.  That’s some good percentage of happy basketball.  So go watch.  In person.  Support your team.  Even if you aren’t committed enough to help buy the team, show some love and help give someone else local a reason to do so.  It’ll be the best money you’ve spent in a long while.

With the loss at Sacramento the other night, the Hornets fell to 1-8 on the road this year. This is a new look for our fave team, which actually sported a better record on the road than at home in early 2007-08. Ah, but those were different days… the Hornets were sneaking up on teams, and New Orleans Arena wasn’t quite so full of loudness and win. (I can’t really complain, being a season ticketholder– I’ve only seen two losses live in a waaaayyy down season, and that’s including preseason: NO is 6-2 at home.) Seriously, though, the team needs to get its road mojo back. Thoughts?

Lil Buckets' home and away look... what's up with that?

Lil Buckets' home and away look... what's up with that?

1) More drunks. Look, I am sure there are drunk people in every arena. I am not naive. But there are a lot of drunk people in New Orleans. The Hornets need to import like 100 bums, you know, from off the street is okay, and give them free beer. Maybe beads too. Do you think the drunks would yell more with beads? Hell, give the drunks some beads.

2) Lil Buckets needs to wear his sleeve! Has anyone else noticed this but me? I actually didn’t notice till last week. Marcus Thornton wears a shooting sleeve on his left arm in all the home games but never on the road. Why? I am dying to know. But we’re begging him. Wear the damn sleeve. Please.

3) Place a large humidifying machine in the locker room and all hotel rooms and practice areas. Make it very damp and gross. This is to simulate New Orleans’ humidity.

4) Bust out the pregame prayer. Surely we’re the only arena that has that. Let’s take George Shinn’s holy rollerisms on the road! Jesus for everyone! In every city! (Disclaimer: My distaste for the pregame prayer is not a knock on Christians. It is not meant to be intended that way. We do not like the prayer because it reflects a lack of diversity. You may feel free to disagree with us. We’ll still love you.) We are at the point where prayer might be a legitimate option.

5) Is David West sitting on his bouncy ball on the road this year? I haven’t noticed. If he’s not, he needs to be.

6) Pass out iPods to the team and play “SHOUT!” on the Hornets bench. This song wins games. It is statistically impossible for the Hornets to lose a game once “SHOUT” has been played in the fourth quarter. Why is it statistically impossible? Because it’s never happened. “SHOUT” is like 65-0, seriously. It’s an ice cold closer.

7) I know James Posey distributes hugs on the road. But does he give fist bumps to the entire bench, coaches, team personnel, the waterboy, the ballboys, and the like six other random people who happen to be sitting around there? C’mon, Hornets. Get this man some random people to fist bump. Each extra person is an extra dose of PURE LUCK. Filled with champagne and championship sparkles and stuff.

8.) Peja on a Stick. I’m sure you have room for one on the plane. Put one of the rooks in charge of it.

Ooh Dem Mardi Gras Jerseys

By on November 18, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras!

The Hornets officially unveiled their Mardi Gras special third jerseys today in a super secret (OK, not really, it was semi-open to the public, just at the inconvenient hour of 3 PM, so I didn’t go) ceremony at Mardi Gras World. So it clashes like crazy and might make your eyes bleed. Everything Mardi Gras related clashes like crazy! It’s all good. I mean, you can’t complain about the colors in this case. The colors are Mardi Gras. I like the NOLA and the patterned sides. The only thing I’m not a fan of is the two-toned front and back. It looks really cool in theory, but the Hornets better not be playing any teams that wear green or purple, because you won’t be able to tell who’s coming or going. Like the 2008 All Star jerseys that looked great until you realized the white/gold of the West looked really similar to the white/silver of the East, and when the players turned around it was impossible to tell which team was which.

And now for some pics from the unveiling, courtesy of Matt a.k.a. Storm Surge Photography. Darren Collison and Julian Wright modeled the jerseys for fans and media. Click the thumbnail to see the large version. Huge thanks to Matt, who attended the event, for sending along the pics.

Darren Collison throws beadsMardi Gras jerseys on actual playersGreen on the back

Modeling!Side detailJuJu and Lil Dimes on the float

Julian WrightMardi Gras IndiansDarren Collison aka Lil Dimes

I bet people will totally pick these up. It’s something you can wear at parades every year. It’s the very definition of “local color.” Check out what UniWatch has to say about the new jerseys (basically that they do so many things wrong, it should be hideous, and yet they like ‘em anyway). You can already buy a Chris Paul one, plus matching wristbands, headband, and hat in the Hornets Nest online store. The unis debut on February 5th at home vs. the Sixers.

P.S. Look at the close-up detail on the CP jersey. I just realized the trim that actually looks like a weird checkered pattern is actually BEADS. Now that’s pretty cool.

Chris Paul Mardi Gras swingman

Chris Paul Mardi Gras swingman

There was a moment just before the final buzzer sounded when I’d forgotten the Hornets just lost.

DC: happy and hustlingIf you follow me on Twitter, you probably watched me completely spaz out and go crazy when Darren Collison and Lil Buckets checked into the game with six and a half minutes left. And did they ever hit the game with a splash. Thornton had 8 pts and 1 rebound in 6:34, going 2-3 from three. Collison went 6-3 with a steal, running the fast break more times than I think we saw all game. Both rookies hit all their free throws. And they were zipping all over the place, cutting to the basket.

I’ve been mostly Thornton-Thornton-Thornton till now, I know, but there is just a joy and energy that Collison brings that I really enjoyed last night. You can just see it in the bounce of his feet. When he got slammed under the basket by a flagrant foul, he popped right up, clapped his hands, and grinned. And if Byron Scott thinks Bobby Brown brings speed to the lineup? Collison’s speed blows his out of the water. These guys were hungry. It was so contagious even Songaila and Posey seemed to perk up a bit. Hilton was inspired to do at least two things right.

Will people pay to watch a losing team? That’s the question, isn’t it? Clearly one of the answers is you pay to watch Chris Paul, because he’s a future great. But last night I found another answer. I watched Darren Collison steal the ball and zip up court, and Marcus Thornton cut all over the place. And I thought, “I would pay money to watch these kids make mistakes and lose.” If you couldn’t see the difference between those six minutes and watching 4 or 5 guys nearing the end of their careers going through the motions and looking depressed as they realize they might not regain their old form, then you must be blind.

Do I have sympathy? Yes. I do. People get older. I’m getting older too, and the reality is that most of us hate it. My 50-win predictions for this team were based on Posey/Peja/Peterson maintaining some kind of consistency with their career stats. We could probably handle a drop-off from one. But not all three. And you know– this may come as a huge shock so be prepared for it– I don’t include Devin Brown in that bunch. Not today, anyway. Because I think he really tried last night, put in an impossible situation, and he hit his shots. And I love all of these guys. I wasn’t upset when we traded Rasual Butler, because between the Three Ps, the Hornets looked to have that role covered. How do you predict things like this?

But the bottom line is, if Byron Scott really means it when he says he wants the team to run more, if the Hornets take a deep honest look at themselves and finally accept that some players have deteriorated, if the team wants to put a product on the floor that’s exciting for the fans, the last six minutes of Lakers/Hornets is what we need to see. I want to see Chris Paul balling with young kids who are creative, who can keep up with him.

Look, you don’t play the rookies because you think they’re going to be some magical solution, some great mysterious hope that can be plugged in to fix the problems with this team. They won’t. You play them because, even though you may lose with them, you’re already losing without them. The fans who pay the money to sit in the seats deserve to see something fun. They deserve to see something that gives them hope for the future. They deserve to see hustle and heart. Beginnings not endings. The local kid getting his chance and making his dream come true under the bright lights.

If you’re not giving us a championship this year, give us something we can love. That’s all I ask.

Oh, and pssstt. Byron. You looking for answers? Here’s a freebie: Thornton is your starting 2.

I missed this post from Minnesota T-Wolves blog Canis Hoopus when it came out a couple days after the draft, but I’m going to link to it anyway because it’s a great rant. It’s about the national media’s treatment of the Ricky Rubio circus, particularly the rampant use of “unnamed sources” and cliches about Minnesota and the organization.

What does this have to do with the Hornets? Well, you know we’re interested in critiquing the failings of the mainstream media on this blog. But all his points are particularly relevant to one of our favorite causes– taking writers/sports personalities to task (sarcastically) for their sloppy research on New Orleans and the franchise’s situation here. Amazingly, I read an article even last week that stated the Hornets might be forced to trade Tyson Chandler because they can’t put butts in the seats (despite factual evidence that pops up at the top of a simple Google search — which anyone could have performed in 30 seconds– stating that the Hornets were actually 8th out of 30 teams in percentage of butts in seats this season).

So, it’s interesting to read about other maligned small-market franchises’ struggle with the same crap.

I hate that it took a humiliating 58-point loss to get this to finally, finally happen. It sucks. It does  not make everything right, and seeing these words on ESPN is not worth what we’ve gone through as Hornets fans in the last month.

But reading this from Marc Stein makes me feel oddly vindicated and satisfied in a way that I would not expect I could feel this morning:

“It’s not just that the Hornets folded so meekly and early at home, which is sufficiently unforgivable.

Or that they also lost games to the Nuggets by 29, 15 and 21 points.

It’s that the Hornets unashamedly quit so quickly in Game 4 after fans in New Orleans showed up this season with greater regularity than the team could have ever dreamed, shaming misinformed know-it-alls like me who kept telling you that local residents couldn’t possibly invest their time and money into something as trivial as rooting for the local basketball team after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

The Hornets consistently played at near-capacity in a building that holds 17,188, selling out well over half of their games. It seems that we were all wrong about the post-Katrina viability of NBA basketball in the Crescent City.

Not nearly as wrong, though, as foisting the unspeakable score line of Nuggets 121, Hornets 63 on a ridiculously loyal fan base in their farewell ’til next season.”

I know we already knew this. But I didn’t realize how good it would feel to have a major media outlet finally write the truth about New Orleans and the Hornets. Accompanied by the words “we were all wrong.” And I thank Mr. Stein for saying it.

I’m feeling so warm and fuzzy I think I have to take him off the $#*t List.

As for how I feel about the Hornets, better to ask me again in a month. Because– and I am not saying I don’t love this team, and I am not saying I’m cancelling my season tickets or never blogging again or anything like that– I agree with Marc Stein. I hope they know that when they said “F this!” to the game on Monday, they did that to me. They did that to us.

I don’t have anything else to say about it, except that I hope they know.

IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTION

By on April 24, 2009

… that Game 3 is not yet sold out.

I heard this from a friend who was able to purchase a ticket in the front row of the upper bowl, center court, this morning. Ladies and gentlemen of New Orleans, this is B.S. of the highest order, and I will not stand for it. We sold out tons of games against scrubby teams this year. We had the highest attendance increase in the NBA. We put season ticket holders in the entire lower bowl. And people who claim to be fans are not going to this game?

“Oh, we’re afraid to go because the team might lose again! Wah, the NFL draft is tomorrow (Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I would have more fun watching my cat lick his butt for six hours). Wah, it’s Jazzfest! Wah, it’s at noon! Waaaahhhh!”

Bluto’s Speech

Now go forth and tell everyone you know that there is playoff basketball tomorrow at 12:00 noon. Tell them the chance to support NEW ORLEANS on national television (ESPN) is not to be missed. Neither is m*@#$%f*@king playoff basketball.

Before I lose my mind and do something drastic.

We’re Still Winners

By on April 21, 2009

In the interest of celebrating the bigger picture, the Hornets had the highest attendance increase in the NBA this season.

The New Orleans Hornets saw their gate increase by 20 percent this season, the highest increase in the NBA, while the Sacramento Kings had the biggest drop in attendance with a 10 percent decline.

Biggest gains (through April 13)
New Orleans Hornets: 20.3%
Indiana Pacers: 17.5%
Philadelphia 76ers: 7.0%

So that just goes to show you– don’t tell the people of New Orleans they can’t do something!

Still Standing

By on April 2, 2009

The Beastitude of a True Fighter

The Beastitude of a True Fighter

A lot of us die-hards were dealing with disillusionment in the aftermath of Friday’s loss to the Knicks. I think it was the point when some of us finally said goodbye to this season’s playoff hopes. The team came out of the All-Star break on a tear, traded Tyson Chandler, got him back, went on a 7-game winning streak, lost Peja, lost Tyson again, had a chance to steal the division lead from the Rockets at home and failed miserably, won too-close games against weak teams, and then had another chance to leap a spot in the standings against the Nuggets at home and failed miserably. Roller coaster, right?

Losing to the Knicks, in a game where Chris Paul stooped so low as to engage in trash talk with the likes of Nate Robinson … James Posey got ejected and suspended for chucking the ball at a ref … the team performed a complete 180 and decided to entirely abandon defense in the second half… seemed sort of like an end. It seemed like we were able to exhale that breath and finally come to terms with the fact that a team that could lose, and worse, lose like that, in the middle of a tight playoff race was just not a contender. And I’m ashamed to admit it almost felt good to let go of that, after all the injuries and disappointments of this season. I wondered on Twitter whether it would be better to save money by not buying playoff tickets, since we were one and done anyway.

And so it was that on Sunday I arrived at the Spurs game thinking, “Okay, we’re not going to win. No Tyson. No Peja. No Posey. I’ll just have some beers and enjoy being here. Enjoy the games we have left.” It’s a slow process, letting go of a season. The cracks appeared early. The .500 start. Then they got a little deeper. The home loss to the Warriors. The 4th quarter meltdown against the Blazers. Then they dropped the Knicks game on Friday. And suddenly, there it was in front of us, what we should have seen all along.

It was right after tipoff that I glanced up and realized that the arena was full. And I mean really full. People stacked to the top of the upper bowl. And not quiet people, either. This became apparent in the first two or three minutes, when a weak foul call on what looked like a Tim Duncan flop was met with a roar of boos.

So I guess at this point I should explain the hangup I have about this team. Which is that, every time they go on a losing streak, I get completely freaked out. Because we’re not that far removed from last season, when no one was coming to games. And part of me is just terrified that if the team fails this season, people will give up and stop coming. I do not want this team to leave New Orleans. I will fight and scratch and throw elbows for them not to leave this city. I will do whatever I can to prevent that from ever happening. I started this blog because I felt this so strongly.

On Sunday, I looked at the people hanging over the edge of the upper deck and it hit me, and I thought, “Oh my god. The city still believes in this team.” The crowd was roaring and the adrenaline was blazing and I’d forgotten how that could be.  And the Hornets were winning. They had no business winning. I don’t think anyone I talked to that day even bothered to entertain the thought of them winning. I mean, we were all just there for the beer. I thought to myself at that moment, “I would trade three losses to the Knicks for what I saw in this building tonight.” And it’s a sentiment that doesn’t make sense when you’re racing for playoff seeding. You can’t trade three games for one game. It’s a feeling I can’t explain. Maybe I’m just a junkie for this team, but I meant it. Five days later, I still mean it.

It’s stupid, right? Because how I feel can’t impact what happens in these games. What is a crowd, after all, but a lot of people yelling? But we do care. And we feel disillusioned and mad and cheated on the nights when it seems like the team doesn’t care. Because when we come to games, come yelling till we’re hoarse, come wearing the team colors, come booing and cursing and refusing to sit down, we’re putting a bit of ourselves out there and into the game. And we want to feel like we’re getting something in return.

We just want something we can feel proud of.

The team gives David West a standing ovation

The team gives David West a standing ovation

And then, as if we were even expecting it to be taken up another notch after the Spurs game, in stepped David West.

I’m not sure this was appreciated by the national media, because how many people watch Kings or Clippers games? Surely not many. But the dude could barely walk on a messed-up ankle, let alone run. And he drops 40-9-6 on the Kings. He comes out of the game with just a couple minutes left and we think, surely he’s done. But suddenly Sacramento throws up a crazy shot, and the Hornets are down one with just 1.7 on the clock. And there’s David West, checking into the game, wincing. And yet he holds off two Kings defenders so Rasual Butler can get that one shot. And, well, we all know what happens then.

This is what I say.

It’s time to stop waiting for the team of potential greatness that exists in my head to show up. It’s time to love the team we have. The one that’s fun but terribly flawed. The one that sometimes seems a little too laid-back and underachieving. The one that the rest of the country gave up on a long time ago. Because they wear New Orleans on their shirts, and when you think about it, they’re not so different from this city, are they?

What it comes down to for me is this: Any team that can come out and fight like what I saw this week, I will follow to the end.

So let’s go there. 74 down. 8 to go.