I’m actually excited about this!
Time to get a Hornets education
Hornets vs. Celtics playoff game tonight at 8. I won’t spoil the end for GWMVP, since I don’t think the stork had brought him home yet, but it was definitely the most hype I ever got for a game.
And I will forever blame George Shinn for not doing whatever in his power to keep that team together. Grandmama, Zo, Muggsy, Dell, Kendall Gill…
They paid the wrong guy. If they pay Zo, history is much different around here. But, in theory they could have paid Alonzo too, but that’s where George Shinn comes in.
Crowd energy is so incredible…man
I wasn’t around for that one or any of the classic Hornets outside of being in the crib for the Baron Davis years but I knew the ending.
I’ve always heard that Zo basically forced his way out and was a jerk in the lockeroom, that LJ was much more liked.
Zo was upset LJ was paid and the man when he was honestly a better player. He wanted to be paid more and when they wouldn’t his agent pushed him to be traded.
Later on you would see Alonzo and LJ fighting in a playoff series between the Heat and the Knicks. A lot of people say that went back to the Hornet days when they both wanted to be the man.
LJ was loved universally at the time for sure but Shinn paid LJ emotionally and not analytically. It sucks LJ got hurt but basketball at that time with a dominant 2 way big man was more valuable.
You’re probably right, Bonnell was on a podcast recently and basically painted Alonzo as the bad guy and LJ as the good guy when it came to that situation. So that’s where I got my idea from.
I’m not necessarily sure that Zo and LJ’s beef first started because of the contract issues. For those that weren’t here for it, Zo might’ve been the angriest player during games in the entire league, and we loved him for that. He didn’t back down from anyone - Ewing, Shaq, Barkley, Rodman, Olajuwon - he was all in their face from the jump.
But LJ was the rising star, getting a shoe deal with Converse along with Magic and Bird, and he was quickly being built up as the next superstar of the league. (And nobody can tell me that he wouldn’t have been a hall of famer if his back never went out. Muscle bound athletic freak of nature could not be slowed down by anybody)
It was probably a classic case of two alpha dogs in a competitive environment. While working for a common cause, they probably kept butting heads in the background. It wasn’t too evident on court, but who knows what was said off of it.
But the first contract was just a dumb move on the Hornet’s part in the first place. They decided to give LJ the biggest contract in NBA history, I think something like a 12 year contract for $84M. Yes you young heads, that says 12 YEARS. Locked in.
LJ was deserving of a big contract, but you didn’t have to start league altering precedents to secure the man. Overbidding yourself for one guy, which in turn caused you to tighten your pocket books when the next star was due was such a tragic, shortsighted failure of management, which set the stage for the historically bad management style that is now ingrained into the fabric of our beloved murder hornets.
The Zo negotiations started tough, but I think everyone thought they’d work it out eventually. I don’t even think the final numbers were that far off, maybe like a few hundred thousand. But Shinn decided to draw a line in the sand, and instead of just ponying up the small difference and securing the next budding dynasty, he dared Zo to find a better offer. Which he did.
I hated Zo from then on (later interviews with him have softened me on this a bit, I don’t blame him as much as Shinn), and since I always hated the Heat, it just added to my disdain. And speaking of classic Hornets games, the Baron Davis led sweep of the Hardaway/Morning Heat, with the whole city wearing headbands in solidarity, was one of my greatest Hornets experiences. The Heat were the 3 seed and were predicted to easily handle the lowly 6 seed Hornets, but we actually beat them down so brutally, none of the games will ever be shown on classic tv.
Won by 26 both the first and second games, and swept them off 94-79 the last game. Can’t even explain the feeling of pure…exuberance, but satisfaction. Maybe one of the only times in team history where we could feel smug, and proud of it.
QC I’m surprised that Game 3 against the Heat didn’t make the replay list. Man I was there in the upper level that night and the chants will live with me forever, that was one of the best nights ever. You talk about the coliseum being on fire, that was the last flashback to how it used to be. That and the 1st half of Game 6 the next series against Milwaukee. Insane
So weird watching Rod Higgins playing against us 29 years ago.
Why is the 1995 New Jersey game a 2001-02? Clippers game?