Most of the time in their history, when the Charlotte Hornets have been successful it was in part due to a really good big man down low. In the early days of the 90's they had the early years of Alonzo Mourning as he led this new team to their first taste of the playoffs. When the franchise returned to the playoffs under a new name, the Charlotte Bobcats, they had Tyson Chandler anchoring the number one defense in the NBA. Then there were some dark years, and it wasn't until Al Jefferson signed on to the team did Charlotte find their way back to the playoffs. It's safe to say that big men, and Charlotte, have a good history with each other.
Who is your starting Center and why did you pick him?
Chris Barnewall - This was a really though pick, but I had to go with Alonzo Mourning. The dude was a FORCE in those early years.
Nick Denning - Alonzo Mourning was a no brainer. Aside from Glen Rice, he was the franchise's best player.
Tucker Warner - The starter is Big Al, who's putting up stats rarely seen in today's NBA, let alone in the history of the franchise.
Corey McPherron- Diop lumbered around for five years with a big smile and a big contract and blocked shots when he got off the pine. He was Bismack Biyombo before Bismack Biyombo was even an NBA player, and for that he is my starting center. Could soon be dethroned on my list by Big Al.
Russell Varner - I wanted to pick Al Jefferson here. I really did. I just could not not name Alonzo Mourning the starter. He, LJ and Muggsy were the original Big 3 (*ducks and runs). Zo played a big role in those early Hornets squads, and who can ever forgot his playoff game-winner against the Celtics? CLUTCH.
Austin Peters - It's hard to pick anybody over Alonzo Mourning for the starting center. He might have been the best player in franchise history.
Who is your backup Center and why did you pick him?
Chris - Al Jefferson, and he would probably be number one if he had been with the organization longer. He's been a blast to watch in his short time in Charlotte, and his first year with the team was the best of his career. He led the team back into the playoffs, and has made his mark on the franchise. The guy should be talked about in bars forever.
Nick - Al Jefferson. Just a joy to watch, and listen to. From "Ball don't lie" to "Where's my Sprite?" the guy is impossible to root against. Plus, he put up absurd numbers in 2013-14 and I hope to God Shammgod he can put up similar numbers in 2015-16.
Tucker - Vlade Divac, who some probably do not remember fondly for that whole thing where the Hornets traded Kobe Bryant to pick him, but was a terrific player in only a couple years in Charlotte and will very probably enter the Hall of Fame someday.
Russell - Al Jefferson, the old school big man in a modern day athlete's NBA. Without him, the current iteration of the Hornets would be a shell of itself. I love watching Big Al work down low and would gladly spend all day watching and breaking down any of his seemingly endless array of post moves. Plus, he remains one of my favorite athlete interviews of all-time.
Austin - DeSagana Diop. Top ten coolest names in NBA history.
Corey - Go look at Bismack Biyombo's twitter and see all the good that man does for the world.
This was mainly a battle between Big Al, Zo, and Okafor right?
Chris - You could probably make a case for Tyson Chandler, but really it all came down to those three in the end, for me.
Nick - That would be one hell of a battle.
Tucker - VIVE LA REVOLUTIÓN POSITIONAL
Russell - And Primoz Brezec and Byron Mullens. We can't forget them.
Austin - Yeah probably.
Does Center feature the best player in Charlotte history?
Chris - Ooh this is a tough one considering how great a player Larry Johnson was, and how awesome Baron Davis was in his short time in Charlotte. I think I'll give it to Zo, but it's close.
Nick - His name was Erick Dampier.
Tucker - Yes, and his name was Byron Mullens.
Russell - No, but they feature at least two of the top five.
Austin - I would say yes. Alonzo Mourning is the best player in Charlotte history.
Corey- I didn't know Tyler Hansbrough was listed as a center.
Who will go down as a more memorable Charlotte center? Zo or Big Al?
Chris - Next season will really define Big Al's legacy with Charlotte. If he's great, and helps them to another playoff berth then it could very well be him. Especially if he he chooses to re-sign with the team that summer. For now though? It'll be Zo.
Nick - If Big Al had come to Charlotte 5 years ago, I'd argue for him, but ultimately it's Zo.
Tucker - Zo, probably. He's in the Hall of Fame (Jefferson's chances are...less-than-likely), and was the starter on a few teams that went to the playoffs and actually had a shot or two of winning a series. Sure, he'll forever be more associated with another team in the same division, but thirty years from now, we'll probably remember Mourning before Jefferson as great Charlotte centers.
Russell - Dang it Tucker, stop stealing my answers!
Austin - I have to go with Zo as well. He and Baron Davis were the two most fun Hornets to watch ever, and Zo was the anchor of a great defense.
Corey - Zo maybe it would be different if Big Al wasn't as injured.