A look back at Bobcats HISTORY! Picture the old school news-reel footage. Look! A young(ish) Bernie Bikerstaff! IS THAT JUMAINE JONES?!
“History” is a relative term of course. 7 seasons and the 8th is in jeopardy with the current NBA Lockout dragging out and worse than any of us could have imagined back when the Mavericks and the Heat were battling for the NBA Championship back in early June. Before I begin to wallow in the pitiful act that so many of my fellow NBA bloggers have taken to, that of whining about nothing to talk about, let’s take a step back in time and look at what got us where we are today.
I don’t want to go step by step; you can check Wikipedia for all that garbage, I mean, information. Instead, I’d like to shine a light on some of the guys who might be forgotten. I’m not talking about Primoz Brezec or Brevin Knight. We know those types from the early years, don’t we? I mean, I do, my friends do. I mean, post a comment if you want me to write about those guys, I certainly will. No, I’m thinking more of the deeply under-the-radar guys. See if you can think about Jason Hart, Bernard Robinson, Jack Voskuhl, Alan Anderson. Are guys like that any less important than Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton or Emeka Okafor have been to the franchise? Well, technically, yeah, when you look at any metric you can come up with, they are in fact less important than those that I’ve named, but as people?
Maybe I’m getting a bit grandiose on the subject. I’m looking at more than lockout-fodder. I’m not groping for something that I’d find interesting that happens to be Bobcats related. I’m not desperate and trying to trick you into reading something, anything, while we wait for the lockout to end. I promise, none of that is the case. I am simply nostalgic and I don’t think enough has been written about the guys outside of the sort of “Big 5″ guys that played in Charlotte.
The “Big 5″ as I’ll call them of the Bobcats entire existence are Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, Emeka Okafor, Jason Richardson and Stephen Jackson. The attention and impact of those players in their time in Charlotte has far overshadowed any other players the Bobcats have had. You can look at the Bobcats “All Time” roster as having 3 levels, “Big 5,” mid-level contributors and everybody else. If you talk attention, because of the extended off-season and early draft of NBA players, you can consider the “Big 5,” then closely followed by draft picks, a few of which didn’t work out, then everybody else.
So, there is a great gaping hole in the coverage. Or am I simply nostalgic? I don’t know. I just think a bit of credit is due to the guys we haven’t been mentioned hardly at all. When you think of the turnover that the Bobcats have had, and the simple nature of the expansion teams of the NBA, there are quite a few guys who will disappear.
Back when Charlotte had the Hornets, it was so new, so fresh, such a big deal, we were enamoured by players that probably no one else thinks of. Kelly Tripuka, Armon Gilliam (who recently died), Kenny Gattison, Mike Giminski. Hell, you could make the case that the legends we have around the team today were made because of the support and deification of guys like Dell Curry and Muggsey Bogues.
With the Bobcats, we didn’t have that. It was Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace (who was a nice surprise) and then what? I can remember going to a game just before Christmas in that first year and Primoz Brezec was probably playing against nobody. There was a sweet little family right beside me, Mom, Dad and a little boy. The mom leans over at one point and says “Hey honey, maybe you want to ask Santa Claus for a number seven Bobcats instead of that number seventeen Panthers?” In my imagination I have the kid saying “No way ma! Jake Delhomme is on Bojangles commercials. You just called the Bobcats center ‘Number seven.’ We don’t even know his name, get serious.”
No one is left from that initial roster. Hell, no one but Henderson and Augustin are left from last year’s starting roster. Muggsy played in Charlotte for 9 years and Dell Curry played here for 10 years. The Bobcats haven’t even made it to 9 years yet. So, yeah, there’s less nostalgia around this team. There have been two owners, there have been 2 or 3 different front office regimes, if you want to call them that. Larry Brown buzzed through here and turned the roster upside-down and inside out.
My point is, there are some early guys we need to remember and we need to sort of give a little praise to. Alan Anderson tried out for the team in that free agent mini-camp just before the lockout. Anderson was a free agent rookie who made the team in the second year and actually started seven games in his rookie year. There’s Brevin Knight, who came in and was the on the court general the Bobcats needed in the early years and helped Raymond Felton become the NBA player he is. Brevin has remained around the franchise, doing some color commentary on radio for home games in recent years. Knight is still #10 in total points for the franchise.
So, expect some posts on some of these “old school” players. Some of the guys who only played in the ugly, shiny, orange uniforms with the superman font on the front.