muggsy-bogues
The Charlotte Hornets Are BACK – Why You Should Care (Video)
Saturday , Jun , 01 , 2013 Paul Eide

The Charlotte Hornets Are BACK – Why You Should Care (Video)

When New Orleans became the Pelicans, it cleared the way for the Charlotte Hornets to return to the NBA.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: In the mid-nineties, there was no cooler team in any sport than the Charlotte Hornets.


Even though the Hornets never won a title, never even advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs, they were a cultural phenomenon thanks to huge personalities and the coolest jerseys in NBA history.

The Charlotte Hornets were established in 1988 via the expansion draft, which saw them build the squad around Kelly Tripuka, Dell Curry, Rex Chapman and 5-3 Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player in NBA history. Even though they weren't great, the Hornets were a surprise success in their first season, leading the NBA in attendance (something they would achieve seven times during 14 years in Charlotte). Eventually, the Hornets would sell out 364 consecutive games, essentially nine consecutive seasons.

The Hornets won 20 games in year one, 21 in year two, 26 in year three and hosted the 1991 NBA All-Star Game. The momentum was building and the All-Star Game was a national introduction.

Prior to year four, the Hornets entered the NBA Draft with the number one overall pick and made a pick that affected the franchise for years to come. Larry Johnson, who would eventually become "Grandmama", was the reigning Naismith Award winner as the best player in college basketball. 

And even though they won less than half of their games (31), they now had their identity and face of the franchise. LJ was tough, charismatic and one of the best players in the game averaging 19.2 ppg and 11 rpg as a rookie.

After Johnson's Rookie of the Year season, his jersey began to pop up more and more outside of Charlotte, in places like Omaha, Nebraska; places where they had no business popping up.

In 1992 the Hornets held the second pick in the NBA Draft and used it to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning. Equally as tough and talented as Johnson, suddenly the Hornets were raising eyebrows.

Johnson, Mourning and Kendall Gill, a #1 draft pick three years prior was the highest scoring trio in the league. In year five, the Hornets had their first winning season (44-38) and made their first playoff appearance, upsetting the heavily favored Boston Celtics in the first round. Charlote was eliminated in the second round, but the groundwork was set; the Hornets were now a legit NBA franchise.

With the success, even more people jumped on the bandwagon and it was now "cool" to say you were a Hornets fan. And when you said it, you weren't mocked; you would generally receive a knowing nod of approval and the unspoken, "This dude is cool," sentiment of the time.

In 1993 the Hornets struggled to a 41-41 record due in large part to injuries to "Zo" and "LJ" and missed the playoffs. Mourning averaged a double double, and Johnson  was second on the team in both scoring and rebounding.

Even though the franchise took a step back, point guard Muggsy Bogues had the best season of his career. Bogues scored 10.3 ppg, his 10.1 apg was second most in the league and he led the league in assist to turnover ratio. Bogues was the spark-plug that made the Hornets one of the most exciting teams ever.

He didn't have the biggest name, or body, on the team, but he would ultimately retire as the Hornets' career leader in minutes played (19,768), assists (5,557), steals (1,067), turnovers (1,118), and assists per 48 minutes (13.5).

The next season, the Hornets finished the regular season going 50-32, and returned to the playoffs. Johnson and Mourning again led the team in points-per-game, while also leading the club in rebounding. However, Charlotte was bounced from the playoffs in the first round, falling to the Chicago Bulls in four games.

Following the season, the core of the team, and of the franchise, was broken up as the Hornets traded Mourning to the Miami Heat.

By 1995 the Hornets were selling the most jerseys in the league. But, the Mourning trade really marked the beginning of the end for the Hornets as a succesful NBA franchise led by the exciting style spearheaded by Bogues, Johnson and Mourning. After a 41-41 season, LJ was dealt to the New York Knicks. Bogues was limited due to injury, losing minutes to Kenny Anderson, and was no longer a Hornet after 1997.

The Hornets enjoyed success even after the "Bigh Three" left, making the playoffs in five of the following six years before the franchise left Charlotte for New Orleans, but it was a completely different team. And with it, the buzz and aura of coolness that had been established, slowly dissipated.

Sure there was success, but the early Hornets teams were exciting to watch, especially as they grew from league doormat to consistent contender. All NBA fans saw this development and felt like they were a part of it, which was expressed by the record setting merchandise sales. Liking the Hornets even when they were good wasn't like liking the Yankees and Dallas Cowboys when they were good; there was an understated cool to it that people just "got".

So why should you care that the Charlotte Hornets are being reincarnated? Because with a built in fan-base and the re-birth of the fantastic uniforms, NBA fans will at least be treated to whatever magic is left. And for as bad as they have been as the Charlotte Bobcats under Michael Jordan, it's basically like rebuilding the Hornets again, from the ground up, for a second time.

And maybe if we're lucky, we'll get to see bikini brief-esque shorts like the ones Kelly Tripucka has on in this introductory press conference from 1988:

 

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Top 5 Sub Six Foot Players In NBA History
Friday , Mar , 22 , 2013 Paul Eide

Top 5 Sub Six Foot Players In NBA History

Eazy-E once said, "Bruthas my height don't fight", and, some guys his height shot jumpers and dominated the NBA.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: As Shaq famously said, "No one roots for Goliath."

People love the underdog, particularly an underdog who can hold his own and make you forget he could possibly even be regarded as such.

Muggsy Bogues, 5-3

To think a 5-3 player could even play in the NBA is amazing, but not only to play, but to be a starter and one of the most effective guards in the NBA for years. A thirteen year pro, Bogues finished in the top four or better in assists in five seasons and ranks 17th in NBA in total assists. One of the quickest NBA players ever, Bogues also finished in the top ten in steals in three separet seasons. 

Spud Webb, 5-7

After all these years of watching the highlghts, it still cracks me up to see Spud Webb's tiny body assaulting the rim the way he did in those old dunk contests, when they actually mattered. Because at 5-7 it was impresive to see him dunk, let alone throw it down with authority. But he wasn't just a dunker, Spud was a consistent scorer averaging 11.6+ppg for five straight seasons, culminating with a career high 16.0 ppg in 1991-92 and leading the league in free throw percentage in 1994-95. For his career, Webb averaged 9.9 ppg and 5.3 apg.

Calvin Murphy, 5-9

Murphy left his mark as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, setting NBA records for consecutive free throws made and highest percentage ever at various points in his career. Even without the three-pointer for the majority of his career, Murphy averaged 30.0+ppg in all but two of his 13 NBA seasons and in seven of those seasons averaged five or more assists per game. His career free throw percentage of .892% is seventh in NBA history.

Damon Stoudamire, 5-9

Stoudamire was the quickest basketball player I have ever seen in person in my life. And to see a guy under six feet tall take over a game is a remarkable sight. The thing that offset his quickness so well, was his ability to hit the outside shot (career .35% from three), with his singular southpaw style. For being such a pure scorer, he passed the ball with equal effectiveness, averaging 6.5 apg or more in seven of his first 11 seasons and 6.1 for his career. And, the Mighty Mouse tat inspied a million imitators, inclding my friend Chase Belmont- what up playa?

Michael Adams, 5-10

Adams' career like his playing style was a blur. The perfect point guard for the high scoring Nuggets teams of the late 80's and 90's that played defense only as a way to get back on offense quicker, he led the NBA in three point attempts for four seasons in a row, also leading in three pointer made in two of those four. The true personification of a gunner, he averaged a career high 26.5 ppg in 1990-91 while also dishing out 10.5 apg. Adams could hit from anywhere and never met a shot he didn't take.

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Best “Short” NBA Player Ever?
Thursday , Aug , 04 , 2011 Paul Eide

Best “Short” NBA Player Ever?

 

What I mean by short is any player six feet or under. A couple of week ago I wrote an article about some of the tallest NBA players ever. So it got me thinking; who was the most impactful six foot tall or shorter player in NBA history? Here are the first five guys that came to mind:

 

Muggsy Bogues, 5-3

To think a 5-3 inch player could even play in the NBA is remarkable. Not only play in the NBA, but on top of that be a starter and one of the most effective guards in the NBA for several years. Who got the most out of his height or lack thereof? A thirteen year pro, Bogues finished in the top four or better in assists in five season and ranks 17th in NBA history in total assists. One of the quickest NBA players ever, he also finished in the top ten in steals three separate seasons.

 

Damon Stoudamire, 5-9

Stoudamire was the quickest basketball player I have ever seen in person in my life. And to see a guy under six feet tall take over a game is remarkable. The thing that offset Stoudamire’s quickness so well was his ability to shoot and consistently hit from the outside, keeping opponents off balance. For being such a pure scorer, he distributed the rock exceptionally well, averaging 6.5 asp or more in seven of his first 11 seasons.

 

Spud Webb, 5-7

After all these years of watching the highlights, it still cracks me p to see Spud Webb’s tiny body assaulting the rim the way he did in those old dunk contests. Because at 5-7, it was just impressive to see him dunk, let alone throw it down with authority that rivaled the power of Dominique Wilkins. But he wasn’t just a marketing ploy. Spud was a consistent scorer as well, averaging 11.6 ppg for five straight seasons, culminating with a career high 16.0 ppg in 91-92, and leading the league in free throw percentage (.934%) in 94-95. For his career he averaged 9.9 ppg and a surprising 5.3 apg.

 

Calvin Murphy, 5-9

Murphy left his mark as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, setting NBA records for consecutive free throws made and highest percentage ever at various points in his career. Even without the aid of the three pointer for the majority of his career, Murphy averaged 20.0+ ppg in all but two of his 13 NBA seasons, and in seven of those seasons averaged five or more assists per game. His career free throw average of .892% is seventh in NBA history.

 

Michael Adams, 5-10

Michael Adams’ career, like his playing style, was a blur. He was the perfect point guard for the Denver Nuggets teams of the late 80’s and early 90’s leading the NBA in three point attempts four straight years, leading the league in made attempts in two of those years. He averaged a career high 26.5 ppg in 90-91 (along with 10.5 apg) and scored at least 12.1 ppg in seven of his 11 seasons. He was an exciting player to watch who could and would hoist it from anywhere.