The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

2 September 2005

Sports buzz

Rumors are flying that the NBA's New Orleans Hornets may relocate to Oklahoma City on a temporary basis, perhaps even permanently.

Nothing is graven in stone just yet, of course. The most logical move for the Hornets, I think, is to relocate to LSU's Pete Maravich Center, just up the road in Baton Rouge. The downside is capacity: the Maravich seats only 14,000. Both Houston and Dallas have offered to host the Hornets on a temporary basis, and indeed the team staff has taken office space in Houston, courtesy of the Rockets, while the home office is drowned out.

But there are a couple of advantages to having the Hornets in Oklahoma City. If nothing else, we'd see, once and for all, if there's enough community support for a major-league sports team. The Ford Center holds 18,500 for basketball, slightly more than the New Orleans Arena. (A few Blazers hockey games would have to be bumped to the Cox in 2005-06.)

Whatever happens, it has to happen quickly: the Hornets' season opens 2 November at Cleveland, and their first home game (vs. Sacramento) is only two days later.

Addendum: From OKPartisan's post on this subject:

It was quite a stunner to read such a mercenary-sounding article after just reading that the Astrodome is full, and more housing is needed for Hurricane Katrina's refugees. I had had hopes that our city would once again demonstrate the "Oklahoma Standard" and offer the Ford Center.

Another addendum: R. Alex contemplates the fate of that other New Orleans team:

I think the chances that there will be a New Orleans Saints a decade from now to be 2-1 against. It's possible, but they are a bubble city to begin with and I have my doubts that the city will ever again be as it was. San Antonio is also a bubble city and one unlikely to get a team while Los Angeles remains vacant unless they can demonstrate a whole lot of fan interest and LA demonstrates more apathy, but even if not the Saints, perhaps the Chiefs or another relocating team. Taking the Saints for a year would give them an opportunity to do that. And Birmingham isn't a bubble city, though it seems to believe itself to be.

To the extent that they've thought about it — and they probably have not since they have much more dire concerns at the moment — New Orleans has got to be pulling for Baton Rouge. It's in Louisiana, drive-able, and cannnot hold an NFL team of its own and so it would clearly be a placeholding rather than auditioning. The problem is that Baton Rouge was slammed pretty hard, too.

I suspect they'd rather have the Hornets close to home, too.

Posted at 9:20 AM to Net Proceeds

I've really been worried about where they might
be playing. Thanks for posting that. It's so
relevant and pertinent.

Posted by: buddyhackett at 11:29 AM on 2 September 2005

I am absolutely disgusted that that is what our city is working on right now. Why don't we house refugees there? What exactly is our city, supposed shining example of compassion and action after disaster, doing to aid the victims? Why is Houston doing so much, and we are doing so little? Sure, individuals and organizations are doing their part, but our city should step up as a city and offer our help.

I have heard so many people around here blaming the victims. Many of the people stuck in the disaster area had no way to get out. Don't people remember that those who were unable to leave were encouraged to seek shelter in the Superdome? And so what if some people made a mistake, underestimated the storm, and chose to stay? Where is the Christian forgiveness that people in our city are so quick to claim as their own? Where is the compassion? What would Jesus do, people?!!! Certainly not drool over the prospects of scrounging an NBA team.

Posted by: OKPartisan at 1:07 PM on 2 September 2005

I've gotta agree with OKPartisan on the callousness of city sports officials worrying about trying to get the Hornets -- especially when OKC indicated today they would offer no facilities for the growing influx of displaced hurricane victims. In the face of something this mind-numbingly tragic, Tim Brassfield's comments in the paper today were beyond craven.

Posted by: Chase at 1:29 PM on 2 September 2005

It does seem a bit opportunistic, yes; I personally don't think it's going to happen, but there is a small core of downtown types which is still smarting about not getting an NBA expansion team last time, and, well, you can see what's uppermost in their minds.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:59 PM on 2 September 2005

Excuse me? It's really hard to imagine that you
feel that hurricane victims are more important
than keeping our downtown area clean for
Bricktown shoppers? Oh please. Do you really
think human beings are more important than
developers? It's not like this is a Christian community.

Wait a minute.

Posted by: buddyhackett at 2:44 PM on 2 September 2005