Well, March is off to a wonderful start isn't it? The Hornets won all three games they played last week and are now firmly in the playoff picture. Sitting the in sixth seed, they trail the Atlanta Hawks by just one game in the standings and are within 2.5 games below the Miami Heat for homecourt seeding. How things change in just a few short weeks of outstanding play.
Speaking of outstanding play and the playoffs, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has taken the bold step of declaring the Charlotte Hornets a playoff team this season. In his article, Bonnell cites the huge win over the Indiana Pacers this past week as evidence. Sweeping the season series against another playoff competitor and coming up big in all the key moments helped the Hornets lock up a 108-101 victory over the visiting Pacers. Also, he points out how the Jefferson injury may have been a blessing in disguise because without it we may never have found out if Cody Zeller really was an NBA center. Worth pointing out that rookie Frank Kaminsky was afforded more opportunities as well thanks to Jefferson's absence.
Building on the Hornets' playoff momentum, there are parallels between the NBA franchise and the Carolina Panthers of the NFL according to Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer. There are six "eerie" similarities according to Fowler who lists among them, "Kemba Walker = Cam Newton" and both have head coaches who are "honest and smart," getting their shots at the top spot as coach in Charlotte. Fowler also takes the time to point out that they both have outperformed the expectations of a local sports columnist (Fowler, himself) when he picked the NFL franchise to finish 8-8 and has the Hornets going 40-42. Of course, he exhorts his readers to tune in and catch the rest of the ride with the Hornets and we agree.
Echoing the sentiments of writers in Charlotte and At The Hive, Hardwood Paroxysm's Jacob Rosen gives a Lion Face to the Hornets playoff odds. He notes that their strong play on the road sets them up for a good run of play coming up at home. He also runs through other topics in the league including the Wizards and Pacers playoff position, the Spurs not realizing they clinched a playoff spot and James Harden issues.
Add to the growing list of things that Hornets win, besides basketball games and hearts of men, women and children everywhere, the spiky-haired Jeremy Lin bobblehead. Alysha Tsuji of USA Today's For The Win presented us with a side-by-side image of real life Jeremy Lin and his Hornets bobblehead counterpart and I'd have to agree with her - the Hornets nailed this one.
Of course, the Hornets admitted that it took some time to get right, but I'm sure you agree that it was worth the effort.
And sometimes you can take a little extra time to get the details right when your owner is the GOAT and has, once again, made it into the Forbes billionaire's list. That's right! Michael Jordan is worth a lot of money. This is his second year on the list. Ananth Pandian of cbssports.com details how he made his billions and notes that he is the only NBA player to make the list, though fellow owners Paul Allen (Trail Blazers) and Steve Ballmer (Clippers) are not only on the list, but higher than Jordan. The article also details how Jordan has slowly increased his ownership share and that has proved to be a wise investment as the value of the franchise has sky-rocketed over the last five-to-six years. Oh, and sneakers. Lots of sneakers.
Speaking of amazing basketball players of the 1990s, Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer jumps into our list for a second time, as the last of our Hornets links this week. Fowler did a Q&A with Hornets assistant and former New York Knick great, Patrick Ewing. There are some great responses about his favorite playing memories, what he likes about being an assistant in Charlotte and his long history with Michael Jordan including a pick-up game in street clothes when they were much younger. Some of the best responses come toward the end as he speaks about regretting his decision to play anywhere outside of New York instead of ending his career with the Knicks and who he would pick between LeBron and Steph if given the choice.