Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

Archive for the ‘ Around Town ’ Category

Lakers vs. Hornets.  A streetfight to the finish.  May the second best team win.  Kobe proved karma is dead by sticking a dagger in the back of every Sacramento fan last night and denying them one more happy moment, one small shimmer of victory in a season full of struggles.  This all a day after Kobe called a referee “a fucking fag” after being awarded a technical.  (I hope the refs respond by keeping the Mamba on a quick tech whistle watch during Round 1.)  Don’t believe it, Google it, the video evidence is incontrovertible.  He was fined $100,000 by Stern.  Deservedly.  It would have been an appropriate moment for Kobe to miss that one last desperate three and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fail.  Didn’t work that way.

I’ve always been a Kobe fan, and still admire his skill; but there is something Greek-tragic-classic about a man refusing to recognize another’s time to shine and later paying the price.  I’ll be in the back row, Games 3, 4, and maybe 6, booing him every time he touches the ball.  Twittersection will be in full effect. Anywho,  you can also share Game 1 with friends.  Have fun.  You just have to know where to go.  The folks at Hornets247.com have a suggestion: go to their watch party.  From their site:

Where: The Doors Pizza.

It’s located at 7537 Maple Street, New Orleans, LA 70118.

When: Party starts at 1pm. Game starts at 2:30.

Sounds good.  Cheer the home team.  Boo Kobe.  Hate the Lakers.  Share well wishes for David West.  Drink beer.  Send sexts.  Whatever does it for you.  (Hopefully all of the above.)  Oh, and feel free to tell anyone present that we’d have a chance to win if we still had Marcus Thornton.  I’ll get your back.  Just don’t mention it to ticktock6; she might break her Abita bottle on the bar and stab someone.  Yup, she’s the one who answered the 247 poll: “Nothing satisfies me. I love Marcus Thornton.”  So did I.

[Deep sigh.]

Difficult year, no doubt.  But let’s go out swinging.

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.

Stern is a Genius

By on December 8, 2010

If you were in the middle of a public relations war with a powerful union, and had thus far failed to convince the public at large that your claims about NBA teams losing money was true, what would you do?  If you were David Stern, you’d buy the Hornets on behalf of the NBA and present them as Exhibit A to that skeptic public.

Leaked financials?  Tales of woe?  A steadfast determination to prove that in today’s economic climate the only way to survive is to slash player salaries?  Stern has hit a home run with this one.  By opening up a team to public examination in a way that would be impossible with an owner-owned club, Stern has laid bare the problems that can plague a franchise, and possibly even cause a fanbase to lose their loved team.  What fan wants that?  He’s put it all out there, plain as day, evidence of how your city could lose their team too.  Unless, of course, the collective bargaining agreement is severely altered.

It’s why Stern’s in no rush to sell the Hornets.  I mean, if a bunch of Nola-purchasers show up on his doorstep, he’s sure to sell the team back. But, either way, he’s had the ability to parade about his example of NBA finance, and what is wrong with it; he’s made his argument to the public that players are paid too much.  And for one, I’m buying into it.

Guaranteed contracts have to go.  Max caps need be lowered.  The only other options are increased game tickets and concessions.  And I can tell you which path gets my vote.   In the end, Stern’s game is public relations.  He’s won this round.  He also gets the moral high ground of having saved the Katrina-plagued Hornets.  Which, in part, is why Stern won’t let New Orleans lose the Hornets.   He wants this win on his record.

So for all the nay-sayers out there.  Keep talking.  I’ll keep doing everything I can to save the Hornets.  And along the way.  I might even find myself grateful to David Stern.

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.

So let me sum up:

I'll be over here with my four friends, trying to process this.

I'll be over here with my four friends, trying to process this.

Jeff Bower has been fired. The Hornets are in the middle of free agency and haven’t signed anyone but Aaron Gray. They were already dealing with a million and two rumors of George Shinn’s sketchiness, and now they’re dealing with more because they may have backed out of Luther Head’s contract for no good reason and his agent is pitching a fit. Oh, plus the rumors that Chris Paul wants nothing to do with this mess. Let us not forget the Tom Thibodeau drama. And the rumors that the sale of the team to Gary Chouest has been held up for … why? Who even knows what the deal is? The last time there was a public statement was back in May when the local New Orleans public was told the deal was done.

Whether you liked Bower or not (I’m personally ambivalent), having him here was infinitely better than having no one. Who’s making the basketball decisions around here? The Assistant GM is– Oh. That’s right. We don’t have one. The guy in charge is George Shinn’s brother-in-law, who was a food service executive before joining the Hornets in 2005 (leaving aside for the moment the fact that he thinks Chris Paul rumors are started by people like me who “live in basements, in their pajamas” and never the perfectly legitimate New York media who are soooo responsible simply because they have a desk in an office).

Oh hey, maybe the VP is a basketball guy? Ha. Maybe he’s George Shinn’s son who has only a high school diploma, but according to his bio in the media guide “relies on his 20 years of experience in basketball to provide insight about basketball-related decisions” and “has been closely involved with the Hornets organization since its inception in 1987.” That sounds like a lot of experience. Huh. Maybe I am wrong. Except I’m not. Y’all, Chad Shinn is 30. His biography actually, no joke, IS COUNTING THE VAST EXPERIENCE HE GLEANED AS A 10-YEAR-OLD AMONG HIS QUALIFICATIONS. But hey, we do have, like, two scouts though. Let’s give a Hornets Hype shout out to our two scouts! What uuuuuupp Basketball Operations Department! Keep on fighting the good fight there. Yeah.

I mean, have I missed anything here? Can we get some basketball people up in here?

Dear god, I’m surrounded by idiots. Get me six martinis. I’ll be over there, with my fingers in my ears till October. I… can’t… hear… you.

Huge sigh of relief.

I was pretty sure the “impasse” in the talks that supposedly happened in the last two weeks was just a bit of gamesmanship and bargaining strategy from Shinn, since it was pretty clear there weren’t ever any other investors involved besides Chouest, but you can never be sure. If the sale talks dragged on any longer, it was going to start affecting the coach search, draft, and free agency. I’m definitely glad it’s getting done.

The Times Picayune is saying the official announcement of the transfer of ownership will happen Wednesday Thursday afternoon. We know Chouest is a Louisiana native, who bought his one quarter share in the team in 2007 with the goal of keeping basketball in New Orleans. We know he’s the owner of Edison Chouest Offshore, which manufactures marine vessels for the oil industry. Since the company is privately held, no source is clear on exactly how much he’s worth, but it’s certainly more than George Shinn. If he is indeed a billionaire, as rumored, this would put him in the top half of the list of the NBA’s richest owners**. But beyond that, Chouest is something of a mystery man, preferring to remain Shinn’s silent partner. He has only granted one interview, to my knowledge, and that was at the announcement of the purchase of his 25% stake in the team. We don’t know his ideas about the direction of the team. We don’t know how he feels about going over the luxury tax to ensure that Chris Paul stays in New Orleans. And we don’t know the possible future effects of the recent oil rig disaster on his business.

What we do know is that two of this blog’s least favorite things,  1) stupid error-riddled articles about the Hornets being cheap and 2) stupid error-riddled articles about the Hornets moving to another city, are probably about to be gone. Permanently. It’s like going to your high school reunion and seeing that the people who made fun of you got fat and work in retail now. Are we allowed to steal free agents out from under other teams’ noses and then laugh in their faces, or at least their local beat writers’ faces, now that we’re super super rich? Please say yes.

This is a good day for Hornets fans.

** Quoth the TP: “Many sources in the New Orleans area have indicated that Chouest’s financial resources are vast, easily in the 10-figure range.” The NBA apparently has eight other billionaire owners.

Closing That Door

By on April 12, 2010

I don’t feel super pumped about last night’s blowout win over the T-Wolves to close out the Hornets’ home schedule, but I don’t feel bad about it either. They didn’t lose. They didn’t play down to a terrible team. They didn’t blow a lead. They managed to pull themselves together enough to do the right thing for the fans.

Where are we going? Where have we been?

Byron Scott is gone. Rasual Butler, Tyson Chandler, Devin Brown, and Hilton Armstrong are gone. The Hornets overcame a terrible start to give us a scrappy, fun January and February, only to lose the franchise player to what pretty much ended up being a season-ending injury. (Oh, if it weren’t for that one errant pass and that one unfortunately positioned cameraman! What might have been!) Once they realized they were missing the playoffs, you could see the fire sort of go out of them, as we watched the inevitable slide toward the end of the season.

George Shinn is reportedly in the midst of selling the team to (local! richer!) minority partner Gary Chouest. This may mean big front office changes are on the way, heading into the offseason. This may mean the end, finally, of those pesky rumors we read every five minutes about how cheap the team is and how they’re going to move. We might have seen the last of Jeff Bower, as both coach and GM. The Hornets had one of the best drafts in the NBA in 2009. I discovered a new favorite player. We’ll most likely have the 11th pick in June.  Lots of stuff went down this season. It will continue to go down as we head into the draft and the summer.

I have not given my opinion on this blog about the upcoming sale of the team, but anyone who’s read Hornets Hype long enough can guess what it is easily enough. From the beginning, we’ve been about exactly two things: 1) Watching this team rise, under the leadership of the basketball magician Chris Paul, and 2) Keeping the team in New Orleans. Period. And I just don’t see how Shinn selling the team is anything but great news, when it comes to those two things we  care about the most. Chouest is local.  He’s got deeper pockets than Shinn; he’s got money coming from other places and therefore more resources. He doesn’t just want a basketball team– he wants a basketball team in New Orleans.

Looking back on the season, I realize I had more fun watching this year than I did in 2008-09, even though the team won 14 less games. So I can’t really say it was all a waste. It wouldn’t be true. Last night before tipoff, the rookies took the court to address the crowd (Lil Buckets is not the best public speaker– he not only looked 10 times more nervous than he’s ever looked while playing, but he hilariously started off his speech with, “Yeaaahh, so I know we didn’t have a real good season, but… “). I can’t think of anything more fitting– more than any other players on the team, this was their season. Watching Marcus Thornton go from wearing a suit to being a 20 PPG starter was worth the price of admission. Add in Collison’s masterful turn in substituting for the injured Chris Paul, and these two were the reason to watch. And you know what? I’m also going to shout out David West here, who, in case you didn’t notice, turned it on in the last two months of the season and particularly outdid himself in terms of assists, passing better this spring than he has in his entire career.

On a personal note, the Hype is doing the house-buying thing, so that’s why I haven’t been around much in the last couple weeks. Of course, the Hornets haven’t been around much in the last couple weeks either… It is what it is. We’ll probably have something to say about the playoffs. We’ll definitely have stuff to say about the draft. We’ll be around.

I don’t know. I just feel very strongly that all is not lost. I feel like big things are around the corner.

We’ll be here, waiting.

Top Hats and High Tops Gala

By on March 27, 2010

Last night we were lucky enough to be able to attend the Hornets annual Top Hats and High Tops gala to benefit the George Shinn Foundation. We had never been before, and we had a lot of fun. It was at the Roosevelt Hotel. Didn’t take too many pics, or really stalk the players, but here’s a short recap, bullet-style.

  • The room at the RooseveltEmeka Okafor pulled up and handed his car to the valet just as we arrived. It was a black Benz. Surprise, surprise (if you’ve ever gone to the airport to greet the team after a road trip, you know that this is THE official NBA player car or something).
  • Everyone was there, even Sean Marks, Ike Diogu, and Peja. Marks had his arm in one of those huge immobilizing casts that looks like a box. Ike looked fine, but Peja had a bit of a limp. I would not expect him back on the floor just yet.
  • Julian Wright sang a John Legend song on stage. He was pretty good!
  • Emeka’s date bid on his signed Mardi Gras jersey and photo at the silent auction. And I am pretty sure I saw them walking out with it at the end of the evening too. LOL!
  • I didn’t really stare at any of the players’ wives/girlfriends/dates, so don’t even ask for details on them or what they wore.
  • We got a player at our table, and they pulled names out of hats to see who. It turned out to be Aaron Gray. He and his date were super nice and put up with everyone at the table talking nonstop about Twitter. Aaron (as George Shinn gives a speech about his cancer): Are you all twittering right now? … We were. We are all horrible people. Haha.
  • Aaron Gray ate two dinner plates.
  • The event was 1920s themed. Turns out that’s what the ’20s photoshoot the Hornets players did last month was for. They had big, sepia versions of all the players on the wall and in the silent auction.
  • One of the coolest silent auction items was the entire team’s signed shoes. It took up like a whole table. I’m not sure what you would do with it.
  • I only saw James Posey from afar. Sigh. For those of you who remember, last year Posey was in a bad shooting slump, and the day after I took a picture with him at an appearance, he came out and went off like crazy from three. I took credit, and the joke was, any Hornet who touches me will have a great game the next night. Unfortunately, I forgot about this until late in the evening. The only players who touched Lucky Ticktock6 were Marcus Thornton, Darren Collison, and David West, and let’s face it, they were all going to have good games anyway. Wasted opportunity…
  • My goal for the evening was a pic with Buckets. I ended up getting both rookies, because they were sitting beside each other talking when I walked up, and I didn’t want to leave Lil Dimes out. I did not explain to Thornton that I am responsible for him getting stuck with being called “Lil Buckets.” (Niall at Hornets 247 recently told me it says Lil Buckets on his sheet that the Hornets hand around to the media.) Maybe another time…
  • The ladies love Peja. I don’t get it. Haha.
  • Chris Paul was wearing a velvet blazer and gray and white (I think) Dunks. And glasses. Stylin.
Our table with Aaron Gray

Our table (except mW, who's taking the picture)with Aaron Gray. His date is sitting. I'm on the right. He was popular with the ladies, as you can see.

And… wait for it… wait for it… the highlight of my night:

ROOKIE SANDWICH!!

ROOKIE SANDWICH!!

In person, this looked like he was hugging him around the waist

In person, this looked like he was hugging him around the waist. It was heart-warming and stuff.

Besides this picture.

  • Aaron “BIG NASTY” Gray and his random yet masterful D-ing up of Dwight Howard in the Hornets win over the Magic on Friday
  • The Hornets giving away a prize a day this month, which you’re eligible for if you renew your season tickets (oh all right, fine, the reason this is on this list is because I won something…)
  • Marcus Thornton’s game-icing three on Friday. Everyone had already risen to their feet before he took the shot. It was a moment! It was fun!
  • D West’s 40-10 game. Mr. West is in the building! (for people who don’t come to home games, this is the sound clip that plays after every D West bucket… this is its first season. At first I didn’t like it but it’s sort of grown on me. His prior clip was “Wake up, Mr. West-est-est!” Good thing we have Kanye around to provide D West with all his nice beats.)
  • Darren Collison’s last 5 games: 24.2 pts/7.6 ast in 43 minutes (43! Oof… CP! Come back!)
  • Marcus Thornton’s last 5 games: 22.6 pts/4.8 reb/shooting 49% from the field (seriously) and 43% from three in 32 minutes. Can we please please please put more emphasis on per minutes stats instead of points per game? The Buckets Monster is crazy good at what he does (get buckets) and his stats still look like crap from all those games early in the year when he got 5 minutes of garbage time. Boo.
  • Crazy comebacks! This team doesn’t die.
  • Myself and mW went to a Hornets season ticketholder dinner on Thursday and Jeff Bower told us that CP is “one to three weeks” away from returning. He’s shooting and riding the bike right now and progressing well in his therapy. Chris Paul himself, when interviewed by ESPN last night, said he doesn’t plan to come back until he’s “110%, because of the style of ball I play.” Let’s hope he’s smart about this!
  • THE MARDI GRAS BABY IS GONE! It wasn’t at the game Friday.
  • Last night I had a totally weird dream that was probably the result of playing Mass Effect 2 all afternoon and then watching basketball: I dreamed that, while scanning a planet, we unlocked an upgrade that would turn Darren Collison into Chris Paul. Now I’m all fascinated by what kind of an upgrade that would be… “Sticky Gloves — your Shepard holds onto the ball better for 30% less turnovers.” “Prothean Visor– plus 15% to court vision.” “Mental Quickness Implant– you are now a veteran, working the refs in a craftier manner for a 10% free throw bonus to your entire team.” Oh, the possibilities! (Wow, I need to stop gaming… just kidding, no I don’t…)

My non-favorite thing about this week/weekend was the losing. Boo losing. It ruins everyone’s fun. Let’s not do it anymore.

Last time I checked, Mardi Gras was over yesterday. And yet… and yet… I could not believe my eyes when, at the Hornets/Jazz game last night, I looked up and beheld the Cousin of Chucky, with its slightly less terrifying friends the King and the Jester, lining up for its nightly scooter race. When will the terror end, people? WHEN WILL IT END?

Look at its FACE. You cannot tell me it doesn't mean me harm. I won't believe you.

Look at its FACE. You cannot tell me it doesn't mean me harm. I won't believe you.

It’s not just that, deep within my soul, I am afraid of this diabolical creature. I now suspect the Baby is causing us to lose. I think (I could be slightly off on this, but hold on, because the stats are still going to bear me out whether I’m off one or two games or not) the Baby made its first appearance in the Clippers home game on January 13th..

Prior to that, the Hornets had an impressive 14-3 home record, enough to rival top teams in the conference and especially impressive considering they were an under .500 team. Since then? SINCE THEN? 3-6. Oh, Chris Paul is out? I call B.S. Chris Paul was out in late November/early December when the Hornets were winning all those home games. Oh, the schedule is stronger? I call B.S. again. The Hornets have recently lost to the likes of the Bulls and the Sixers at home. They even at one point had lost four in a row, something that hasn’t happened all season.

I hope that little boy was still in possession of his soul when the baby was finished with him...

I hope that little boy was still in possession of his soul when the baby was finished with him... No, seriously, I'm really worried about him. This pic gets bonus points for how friggin EVIL the Jester looks. I hadn't noticed it before because I was focused on the baby but wow.

Here it is on a scooter

Here it is on a scooter

Thanks to reader Robbie, who emailed me pics, we now have more photographic evidence of the Baby’s existence. Serious props to him. Photographing the Mardi Gras Baby is akin to catching the Sasquatch on film. Actually, I’m surprised it even shows up on camera…