Sunday, January 27, 2008

You better recognize the Hornets or the family rabbit dies!

Well, the Forecast over at apparently took time away from the Senior Bowl practices, NFL Free Agency, buying everything on earth that says LSU National Champions, and working on his 12th mock draft to look up and see the Hornets are actually pretty good. We won't bag on him too much cause we really like the Fatal Attraction reference.

Forecast: Hornets will not be ignored

By Ralph Malbrough

Let’s call the Hornet’s 102-78 thrashing of San Antonio their Glenn Close moment.

You remember the movie ‘Fatal Attraction’ from the 1980’s where Close plays Michael Douglas’ insane mistress and declares, “I won’t be ignored, Dan!”

Well the Hornets just did the exact same to the Crescent City, the only thing that was missing during Saturday’s beat down of the Spurs was the family rabbit in a pot.

It’s ok, if you haven’t really been paying attention to the local professional basketball team.
I’ll be honest, until last Monday I didn’t realize they were leading the Western Conference but I discovered this while searching New Orleans websites for Saints Senior Bowl info.

I read something about Byron Scott possibly coaching in the All Star game and then it hit me, “If Scott might coach the West then that means the Hornets have the best record in the conference. Wait, that can’t be right let me go to and check…holy #$%! The Hornets lead the Western Conference!”

Upon discovering this fact I immediately purchased the NBA League Pass half season package so I can watch the Hornets games because they aren’t scheduled to be on national TV one time in the second half of the year.

Now the diehard Hornet fans (all 10 of you) may mock my late arrival to the party but I’m just like all the other average New Orleans sports fans: It’s Saints and LSU football until they aren’t playing games anymore.

It wasn’t always like this of course, regular readers of this fine column will remember the Hornets intensive days from January through the June NBA Draft.

The problem was the Hornets have been gone for two years. Out of site out of mind and their two year stay in Oklahoma City I think has caused huge damage to their chances of staying in New Orleans long term.

Think about it: they were in New Orleans for three years and then gone for two.

For two years the only Hornets coverage was highlights on the news and the paper had a beat writer following them.

Sure the games were on TV but with everything going on post Katrina then throw in the Saints 2006 magical run, LSU football at an all time best, add LSU’s Final Four and the Hornets could not have been more irrelevant.

The Hornets seem to be a long shot to be in New Orleans post 2009.

For pre-Katrina New Orleans to get the Hornets remember how the business community had to rally to sell enough tickets and suites?

The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation moved mountains to get the Hornets here, don’t forget that.

So in a smaller New Orleans it seems getting the Hornets to average 14,700 might be very difficult.

And it may prove to be so--- except for one thing --- the Hornets might be in the NBA Finals in the next two years which means they might be playing into June or even into late May if they make the Western Conference Finals.

And since the NBA only takes like two weeks off and then the next season starts that means the Hornets could have the momentum of a deep playoff run to get to the magic attendance figures in 2009.

I’m not here to tell you it’s your civic duty to support the team or that the business community needs to step up.

No, I’ll let other columnists carry that water.

You do what you want and maybe New Orleans just doesn’t care about pro basketball.

I just know Saturday night my cell phone was ringing off the hook with calls and text messages from friends getting all fired up over the Hornets.

Yeah it’s true they just crushed the defending champs on the road on the second night of back-to-back games, Chris Paul and David West do look like the second coming of Stockton and Malone, Peja Stojakovic is the three point threat they need when he’s healthy, and Tyson Chandler is a solid presence in the middle.

The Hornets are 31-12, have all their core players locked in for the next three to five years and whether you like it or not they won’t be ignored anymore.

Now all the team has to do is have a deep playoff run so we can all learn to enjoy pro basketball.

No pressure guys.

Ralph Malbrough is a Saints and Hornets fan living in Houston. He can be reached at

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