The Charlotte Hornets was a fitting name — in 1775, just prior to the American Revolution, Lord Cornwallis referred to Charlotte as “a hornet’s nest of rebellion” and the people of that city have worn that rebellious badge proudly ever since.
The New Orleans Hornets… that name is just the leftover a team moved there then run into the ground by the previous owner.
With a deal coming soon for new owner there may a new name coming, too, reports Ian Thompson at Sports Illustrated (in a great look at the state of the Hornets franchise right now, with a hat tip to IamaGM.com).
The most interesting decision of the new owner may be whether to rebrand the franchise. Will the “Hornets” nickname be relinquished and enabled to return to Charlotte, where owner Michael Jordan could rebrand his own underperforming franchise?
If so, how would the basketball team of New Orleans rename itself? No suggestions will be made here, for the new name would have to represent the resilient spirit of New Orleans and its fans. It would be the finishing act of a franchise that has been reinvented, a team committed to the city that wouldn’t let go.
Jordan may or may not want the Hornets name back — a lot of people in Charlotte do not like Bobcats, as they thought previous owner Robert Johnson was naming the team after himself — but it makes sense to me for New Orleans to get a fresh start. Under the new lease deal they are committed to the city until 2024 at least, so they need to have something that works with the community.
This is not an easy market for the NBA — New Orleans was a small market and that was before hurricane Katrina, when many who moved away did not return. But go read the story, the city is backing the team and it is a franchise poised to make a big move if they can keep Eric Gordon and have a little lottery luck.
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.