New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets

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New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
Founded 1988
Arena Due to damage caused to the New Orleans Arena by Hurricane Katrina, games are split between:
Team History Charlotte Hornets
New Orleans Hornets

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets

Team Colors Teal blue, Purple, and Gold
NBA Championships 0
Conference Championships 0
Division Titles 0
Owner George Shinn
Head Coach Byron Scott
Mascot "Hugo"

The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets are a National Basketball Association team based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The team relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for at least the 2005-2006 season due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. The current head coach is Byron Scott.


Franchise history

The franchise played its first game as the Charlotte Hornets in October 1988. The name "Hornets" was chosen because of its traditional use by Charlotte's professional sports teams. (Charlotte Hornets was used by the city's minor league baseball franchises from 1901 to 1972, and by its entry in the short-lived World Football League in 1974 and 1975.) The name derived from the nickname "Hornets' Nest" that was bestowed upon the city by Lord General Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War. The team was led by guard Kelly Tripucka, who provided instant points. Tripucka was Charlotte's top scorer for the franchise's first two seasons. The team also had sharpshooting rookie Rex Chapman, who was also an instant scoring threat.

For the 1990-91 season, the team picked up guard Kendall Gill in the NBA Draft, and got slightly better, but still managed to win the draft lottery and the rights to the number one overall pick.

Charlotte Hornets

For the 1991-92 season, the Hornets drafted power forward Larry Johnson from UNLV with the number one overall pick. Johnson had an impact season, finishing among league leaders in points and rebounds, and winning the 1992 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Kendall Gill led the club in scoring, with over 20 points per game.

In 1992-93, the team won the second pick in the draft, using it to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning. The Hornets now had two 20-10 threats in Johnson and Mourning, who with Gill formed perhaps the league's top young trio. It was good enough for fifth in the Eastern Conference and a playoff spot, where they upset the Boston Celtics with Mourning's famous series-winning shot. However, they lacked the experience and depth to defeat the New York Knicks.

The next few years were marked by injuries to Johnson and Mourning, though they did get back to the playoffs in 1994-95, only to be beaten by the Chicago Bulls.

In the offseason the team dealt Mourning to the Miami Heat for guard Glen Rice and center Matt Geiger. Geiger and Johnson tied for the team lead in rebounds, while Johnson and Rice provided balanced but high-powered scoring, with all-star guard Kenny Anderson running the point for the injured Muggsy Bogues.

The offseason was again marked by vast changes: Anderson declined to re-sign, Johnson was shipped to the Knicks for power forward Anthony Mason, and lottery draft pick guard Kobe Bryant was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for center Vlade Divac. The new-look Hornets were apparently even better, however, with Divac and Geiger providing the best center combo in the league, Mason averaging a double-double and all-NBA third team honors, Bogues back at the point, and Rice having the finest season of his career, finishing third in the league in scoring and earning all-NBA second team honors. Rice was also the allstar game MVP, setting several scoring records. The team also spotted the best season of their history, making it back to the playoffs.

1997-98 was also successful. The team picked up a new free-agent backcourt in point guard David Wesley and shooting guard Bobby Phills. With Wesley, Phills, Rice, Mason and Divac, the Hornets romped through the regular season, with Rice finishing sixth in scoring and earning all-NBA third team honors and the team making it all the way to the second round of the playoffs for the second time in franchise history, again being stopped the Bulls.

1999 was turbulent, with Rice being traded to the Lakers for Eddie Jones

1999-2000 was a return to prominence, with the addition of free agent Derrick Coleman and third overall draft pick, point guard Baron Davis. The lineup of Wesley, Jones, Mason, Coleman and Campbell tore through much of the season, but on January 12, 2000 Bobby Phills was killed in an automobile accident. His number was retired on February 9. The team returned to the playoffs, where they succumbed to the Philadelphia 76ers. Jones led the league in steals, but in the offseason he and Mason were shipped to the Heat in exchange for Jamal Mashburn and P.J. Brown.

The Hornets, with the lineup of Davis, Wesley, Mashburn, Brown and Campbell made it back to the playoffs, where they defeated the third-ranked Heat and made it to the second round for the third time in franchise history. They returned the following season by beating the Orlando Magic, but were upended by the New Jersey Nets.

In May of 2002 the Hornets were given permission to relocate to New Orleans. Shortly after that, Charlotte would be awarded a new NBA franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats began play in November of 2004.

The move to New Orleans was precipitated by several mis-cues on the part of team ownership: George Shinn was accused of sexual misconduct; many years of trading future superstars like Kobe Bryant and Alonzo Mourning because of an inability to pay market value; and finally culminating in a demand from the Hornets that the city of Charlotte agree to build a new arena at no cost to team ownership. The city turned the offer down, forcing the move to New Orleans. A deal was quickly made to play at the New Orleans Arena, next door to the Superdome.

October 30, 2002: The New Orleans Hornets open their inaugural season in New Orleans against the Utah Jazz; "Pistol" Pete Maravich has his number retired during halftime. It was the first NBA game played in New Orleans in 23 years. They qualified for the playoffs for the fourth straight year in 2002-03, but were beaten by Philadelphia again.

After the season, the team decided to move in a different direction and allowed the contract of head coach Paul Silas to expire. He was replaced by Tim Floyd, and the Hornets got off to a 17-7 start, but the team reverted to form and finished 41-41, narrowly missing out on home court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. They drew the Miami Heat, but Dwyane Wade's last second shot sunk the Hornets in Game One of the series. The teams ended up winning all their respective home games after that, but Wade's shot was the difference, even though the series went to seven games, the Heat winning 4-3.

After the season, Floyd was fired and the team hired Byron Scott to be their head coach. With a move into the Southwestern Division of the Western Conference which included four playoff teams in the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and Memphis Grizzlies, the team was not expected to compete for a playoff spot. In a season marred by injury to the team's three all-stars (Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire, and Jamal Mashburn) an 0-8 start quickly became a 2-29 record, which started a watch of how bad their record could get, threatening the Philadelphia 76ers' record of a 9-73 season. The team performed better in January and February with the emerging play of fan favorite Dan Dickau, but the season was essentially over before it started with the horrendous start. Despite the lack of success, the team's roster was reshaped, with older veterans Baron Davis and Jamal Mashburn traded to facilitate a rebuilding process. The team found stronger support for their younger, scrappier players than they did the previous year when they were better on the floor.

Recent Events

Due to Hurricane Katrina, the Hornets will play 35 home games in the 2005-2006 season at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, with the remaining 6 to be played at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU in Baton Rouge [1]. The team will be referred to as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets for the 2005-06 NBA season (due to simplicity reasons, most media outlets continue referring to them as the New Orleans Hornets).

Support for the team in Oklahoma City has been very strong with its corporate community as well as the city itself. The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets announced the historic signing of a presenting sponsorship package with five Oklahoma City-based corporate partners. Only the fifth presenting sponsorship signed in NBA history, this partnership between the Hornets and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Devon Energy Corporation, Kerr-McGee Corporation, MidFirst Bank, and The Oklahoman, the major daily newspaper, is the first in major professional sports history to include five partners in a single presenting sponsorship role. [2]

There is very strong speculation in the sports world that the Hornets will make the relocation to Oklahoma City permanent. However, Shinn and the NBA Board of Governors will make the final determination toward season's end - perhaps as early as February. Should Oklahoma City not permanently land the Hornets, the city figures to merit strong consideration for any NBA expansion or current team's relocation.

Players of note

Basketball Hall of Famers:

Not to be forgotten:

Retired numbers:

Note: The Hornets retired "Pistol" Pete Maravich's number during their first game in New Orleans in honor of his basketball contributions to the area at LSU and with New Orleans' previous NBA team, the Jazz.


New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
Current Roster
Head Coach: Byron Scott Edit
F/C 12 Chris Andersen (Blinn College (TX))
F 32 Sean Banks (Memphis)
F 33 Brandon Bass (LSU)
G 3 Troy Bell (Boston College)
C/F 42 P.J. Brown (Louisiana Tech)
G/F 45 Rasual Butler (La Salle)
G 5 Speedy Claxton (Hofstra)
G/F 20 Alex Garcia (Brazil)
F 15 Maciej Lampe (Poland)
F 9 George Lynch (North Carolina)
G 6 Arvydas Macijauskas (Lithuania)
F 10 Bostjan Nachbar (Slovenia)
F/G Desmond Mason (Oklahoma State)
G 3 Chris Paul (Wake Forest)
G 23 J.R. Smith (St. Benedict's Prep,
Newark, New Jersey)
G 1 Kirk Snyder (Nevada)
F/C 4 Jackson Vroman (Iowa State)
F 30 David West (Xavier (OH))
(FA) - Free Agent New Orleans Hornets

External links

National Basketball Association
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Western Conference
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Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors | Los Angeles Clippers | Los Angeles Lakers | Phoenix Suns | Sacramento Kings
Southwest Division: Dallas Mavericks | Houston Rockets | Memphis Grizzlies | New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets | San Antonio Spurs
Other Articles: NBA Finals | NBA All-Star Game | NBA Draft | Current Team Rosters |
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