I've been trying to wrap my head around this Google+ thing all week. It's either the newest and best form of social media and the best thing ever, or a somewhat redundant platform that spiked in new users because people are curious what all the fuss is about and it will die a quick death. Ultimately, I think it's probably somewhere in between. It's most likely progress in a world that's still discovering itself and I think it will be around in some form or another. But what do I know? Circles still confuse and frustrate me. Point being, it has distracted me from introducing myself around here, so here goes.
I remember the very first regular season NBA game to take place in Charlotte featuring an NBA team from Charlotte. It was a black tie affair. Literally. No, I'm serious, everyone was told to dress in formal wear. And they did. I like to think this was the precursor to the same-color t-shirt phenomenon we now enjoy. Our bad.
The newly formed Charlotte Hornets were facing off against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hornets had the most outlandish uniforms (pinstripes! But not on the shorts, anyway...) in the NBA and cursed the sports world with teal, our bad again. They printed up this commemorative ticket with a portrait of Brad Daugherty jumping center against Kelly Tripucka (I think)...which doesn't make a lot of sense but if anyone has a picture of that thing please let me know. The Charlotte Coliseum was jammed. Truthfully though, the Hornets could have been playing an intrasqaud scrimmage and the place would have still been brimming with excitement. This was something new for an entire city.
It was Charlotte's entry into the world of professional sports. Say what you will about George Shinn, but without him there would have been no Hornets, no Panthers and no Bobcats. And besides, without his presence we never would have seen this picture of him in a suit and tie, wearing a white headband and holding a broom. Also appearing during a playoff series in Charlotte: a little-known-at-the-time Jack Black, also wearing a headband, and singing the national anthem. Headbands were kinda the thing.
I could reel off memory after memory from the old Charlotte Coliseum...so I'll go ahead and do that: the first time seeing Michael Jordan in person on an NBA basketball court, the win on the Kurt Rambis tip-in over Jordan's Bulls, Dr. K, Grandmama, Zo, Zo's shot from the top of the key, Muggsy, Kendall Gill, Rex Chapman, Rex Chapman's Spandex (also my NBA fantasy team name two years ago), Rex Chapman's mullet (which, in retrospect may have been a better choice for my NBA fantasy team name), the NBA All-Star game. There was a freaking All-Star game in Charlotte! And celebrities came. Someone has to have some really boring stories about just what in the hell those people didn't do over that weekend. I remember David Wesley and Baron Davis, Bobby Phills,
Kobe Bryant Vlade Divac, the heartbreak by some and evil celebration by most when the NBA left town. The list goes on and on but I won't.
I don't take this trip down memory lane to make you nostalgic for the past, maybe you didn't even like the Hornets (what's wrong with you?) or maybe you just don't care. But that was a great time to be a kid growing up in Charlotte. That time helped me, and others, connect to a sports league we'd only been able to experience from afar. And that afar wasn't even in HD.
That's when my passion for the game of basketball and the league was fueled. And that's basically what led me here. Probably same as you. I hope I can add some fun things to the mix, and stir some lively debate. Thanks for all the welcoming comments thus far and for checking out my first piece on Kemba Walker signing with Under Armour.
Despite all the gloom over the league right now, I'm excited to see what this young core the Bobcats are putting together can mean for this franchise. Hopefully we can get back to talking about actual basketball soon. I look forward to doing that here, and in my Google+ Circles.