Posts Tagged ‘Larry Johnson’

The Hornets Are Returning; Are These Classic Uniforms, Too?


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ALL BALL NERVE CENTER –One of the first NBA games I remember attending was in Charlotte, N.C., in 1989, during the Charlotte Hornets’ inaugural season. I was an Atlantan and a Hawks fan, but we were on a family vacation, driving somewhere or another on a route that took us through North Carolina. My Dad, a huge NBA fan, planned ahead and ordered Hornets tickets. We rolled into town on March 27, 1989, just in time to see the Hornets host the New York Knicks.

The Hornets weren’t particularly good — they were an expansion team, after all — but the fans there in Charlotte loved basketball and loved the Hornets. I convinced my Dad to buy me a Hornets caricature t-shirt featuring Muggsy Bogues, Robert Reid, Kurt Rambis, and several other players.

I settled in to root for the home team, and all these years later, I remember exactly two things about that game:

1. Every time Hornets center Tim Kempton caught the ball, the man behind me would yell, “STONE HANDS” at the top of his his lungs. I guess he wasn’t a Kempton fan.

2. Patrick Ewing destroyed the Hornets that night, finishing with 45 points.

The Hornets eventually got pretty good, drafting Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. They drafted Kobe Bryant!  … but then they then immediately traded Kobe to the Lakers. Eventually, then-owner George Shinn moved the team to New Orleans. The NBA added the Charlotte Bobcats to the league to fill the void. The Hornets were sold, the Bobcats were sold. Last season, the Hornets announced they would change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans. Not missing a beat, new Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan recently announced that his franchise will be changing its name to the Hornets.

This has spurred a torrent of Hornets-related nostalgia. Kobe himself took to Twitter and reminded us all of those few minutes when he was a Hornet…

BuzzFeed went long on the team’s history, reporting that their popular mascot, Hugo the Hornet, was actually designed by Jim Henson‘s daughter, Cheryl.

And then there were the uniforms. The colors and logo were unique enough to make them different, special even. WCNC in Charlotte dug up some old video from the reveal of the Hornets uniforms, featuring designer Alexander Julian and original Hornets star Kelly Tripucka. It’s especially worth noting the shorts, which are not only incredibly short by today’s standards, but also, as I recall, featured pleats.

It’s too early to tell which way the new Charlotte Hornets will go with their logo and uniform — they won’t be changing until 2014 — but as they’ve shown with the buzz they’ve garnered from the name change, it would be hard to go wrong by looking to their past.

(via SI.com)

All Ball Fave Five: Best Last Name Teams

by Micah Hart

You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week will count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.

Remember last year when the Nets had four Williams on their team? Crazy right? Maybe not, actually. As it turns out, Williams is the most populous last name in professional basketball history, with 69 players.

Williams is the most popular surname — but is it the best? For this week’s Fave Five, we took a look at the history books to pull out the five best teams by last name.

A couple quick notes: This list is entirely subjective, but there was a little method to the madness. First off, given the sheer mass of players who have competed over the years in the NBA and ABA, we narrowed the list to last names with at least 10 players listed in the Basketball Reference database.

Then, to help whittle down the contenders even more, we used Win Shares (if you are unfamiliar with them, here’s a brief description) as a baseline for judging performance. With a few exceptions, the five players we chose for each team had the most career Win Shares within each last name. To help further guide our hand, we then averaged the win share totals per starting five. I’m sure anyone with basic skills in statistical analysis could poke any number of holes in this methodology, but like I say, this list is ultimately subjective. So too bad.

Also — we used statistics to help frame the debate, but ultimately the rankings came down to answering this question: If these teams played each other head to head, with each player in their individual primes, who would win?

Here we go!

5. Miller

 


Total Millers:
16 (including 2012 Draft picks Quincy and Darius)
Starting Five: Reggie Miller (174.4), Andre Miller (90.1), Brad Miller (76.5), Mike Miller (53.5), Oliver Miller (21.1)
Hall of Famers: One, as of Friday
Average career WS of starting five: 83.1

The Miller name is pretty top heavy. Reggie, making his way into the Hall of Fame this weekend, is 15th on the all-time list in Win Shares, while Oliver has the least amount of any starter in the top five. In fact, only one other Miller (Larry, a G/F who played seven seasons in the ABA from 1968-75), has put up even double-digit career WS totals*.

*Quincy and Darius, you have your work cut out for you.

This isn’t the flashiest bunch of players, Reggie aside, but the rest of this lineup put together a fine collection of NBA careers in their time. And yeah, Oliver is the weak link here, but the dude — when he was fit enough, which perhaps wasn’t so often — could ball.

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Grand Ma-Ma is back!

by Zettler Clay

Larry Johnson, former collegiate and NBA All-Star, is reprising one of the most memorable characters in basketball history. “Grand Ma Ma,” the sweet gold-tooth elderly with hops is back, pitching…tea.

Yes, tea. Johnson will tout “Grand Ma Ma Southern Sweet Tea” for his company, Hall of Fame Beverages this summer. What, you thought he’d let a brand this iconic escape our consciousness without another appearance?

Introducing the Bragging Rights Bracket

by Micah Hart

Here’s a popular conversation around this time of year:

Sports Fan A: Oh man, imagine how good School A would be if Player X had just stayed one more year. They might have won the NCAA Tournament!

Sports Fan B: Tell me about it. And look how good School B could have been this year. Player Y and Player Z would both be seniors!

If you watched the two amazing basketball documentaries last weekend — ESPN’s “Fab Five” and HBO’s “Runnin’ Rebels” — you know what I’m talking about.

Nowadays, Chris Webber would never have called his infamous timeout in the NCAA title game because he’d almost certainly have left after his freshman year — as would have Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard. Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon — all of whom were first-round picks in 1991 — returned to UNLV after winning the 1990 national championship. The only guys who have done that recently were Florida’s ’04s of Corey Brewer, Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Taurean Green — and even then, everyone knew they were the exception.

While we’ll never know if Syracuse could have repeated as national champs in 2004 had Carmelo Anthony stayed, or what kind of ridiculous stats Kevin Durant might have put up had he stayed four years at Texas, we do know they became stars in the NBA.

Which leads us to a new series we will be running on All Ball over the course of the next few weeks:

Bragging Rights: The Ultimate Battle for School Pride

The premise is simple:

We want to know which school has the best NBA players. Over the next few weeks, we will pit every school with at least five players currently on active NBA rosters against each other in a hypothetical, March Madness-style, single-elimination bracket.

We’ve seeded the teams (see below), and we’ll roll out a few games each week. You vote for the winners.

We’ll start this afternoon with Stanford vs. LSU.

Why spend your time wondering how good your favorite college team could have been when your favorite players are still in action today? Once a Dukie, always a Dukie, right?

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