Rumors had been circulating for a couple of weeks, so it was no real surprise when the NBA announced that it was offering the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans.
But it still hurts.
You see, I still have lingering pains from losing the original Hornets to New Orleans in 2002.
The argument at that time was that Charlotte had lackluster ticket sales and TV viewership.
People have forgotten that Charlotte sold out 346 consecutive home games at the start of the franchise. With 41 home games a year, that was more than eight seasons.
And, for those first eight seasons, Charlotte led the entire NBA in attendance.
Then owner George Shinn started to alienate fans. Stars like Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson and Kendall Gill were traded away, along with the draft rights to one Kobe Bryant.
Then the team traded away Glen Rice, and coach Dave Cowens resigned in the middle of the season after two great seasons where the team went a combined 105-59.
A great team with a bright future suddenly was struggling to play .500 ball.
Then came accusations that Shinn had sexually assaulted an employee. Shinn denied the assault, but admitted to two affairs outside of his marriage.
He was ready to leave Charlotte and take the team with him. In fact, in a 2008 article in the Charlotte Observer, Shinn admitted that his affairs were a part of the reason he moved the franchise.
New Orleans wanted another NBA franchise after losing the Jazz to Utah several years ago. The team courted Shinn to move the team.
And now the NBA is rewarding that same city with an All-Star Game that was supposed to come to North Carolina.
Imagine this scenario:
A young woman has a good career going for her, making good money. She marries a businessman who has dreams of making it big, so she is supportive, both emotionally and financially.
Then after years of marriage, he is turning down sex with her, and there are rumors of an affair.
One day he files for divorce, boots her to the curb and moves his girlfriend into the house.
The wife loved that place and made the mortgage payments on the property, but now she was homeless.
Years later, the woman is back on her feet with a house of her own in Mayberry, doing well. Unfortunately, a tree falls on the porch and does some damage.
That’s bad, but at least she has insurance, so she can rebuild.
However, the insurance company steps in and says it has decided to withhold this amount because she lives in Mayberry.
Sure, the woman did nothing wrong, and she should get the financial boost, but since the insurance company is mad at the town of Mayberry — for something she couldn’t possibly control — the woman doesn’t get her money.
And then, to make matters worse, the company decides to give that money to her ex-husband because his trophy wife has always wanted a porch on their home.
See what I mean? Absolutely, you’d be mad at the insurance company for taking your money away, but you’d be doubly ticked off that they would give that money to the conniving woman that stole your husband in the past, leaving you without a home.
The city of Charlotte didn’t pass HB2. In fact, the whole reason the law was passed was because Charlotte was trying to pass its own city law in support of LGBT rights.
And not only does the NBA hurt the city of Charlotte and all the NBA fans living in the NC/SC area, but the league makes the everything worse by giving the All-Star Game to the one city that would hurt us the most. Thirty teams the NBA could have picked, and the league went with the mistress that lured Shinn away.
The Charlotte Hornets deserve better. NBA fans living in the Carolinas deserve better.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.