May 9, 2002. The Charlotte Hornets had just won a playoff game over the New Jersey Nets thanks to a big performance by Baron Davis. His 26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and seven steals would give the Hornets their lone win of the series. This victory would not only be the last playoff victory the city of Charlotte would see for 14 years, but it would be the last game they would see a Charlotte NBA team until an expansion franchise brought the professional basketball back to Charlotte in 2004.
April 26, 2010: The Charlotte Bobcats first playoff appearance in franchise history ends at the hand of a sweep by the Orlando Magic. The Bobcats second ranked defense isn't strong enough to steal a game against Dwight Howard and the dominant Orlando Magic. Two seasons later the Bobcats would win seven games, in a lockout shortened season, to become what many have a considered the worst team in NBA history. Another season of losing would follow, and the term Bobcatting is born where a team ranks 30th in both offense and defense. The franchise is a laughingstock among NBA fans, and a forgotten franchise by national media.
April 28, 2014: The franchise has had a resurgence under the direction of a new ownership, front office, and coach. Charlotte signs arguably their biggest free agent in the history of the franchise with Al Jefferson. Steve Clifford leads a team that was ranked near the bottom in defense the year before to a top six defense in the NBA. Jefferson is named to the All-NBA team, and for the second time in franchise history the franchise is making the playoffs. However, they must face LeBron James and the defending champion Miami Heat. An injury to Jefferson severely limits him, and their offense. Once again, the Bobcats are swept.
October 29, 2014: The franchise has undergone a rebrand and brought the Hornets name and colors back to Charlotte. Building off the previous season's playoff appearance the Hornets go out and sign a lot of players coming off successful runs with their respective teams. The big name the team signs is Lance Stephenson. Kemba Walker opens the season with a gamewinning shot, and many preseason predictions have Charlotte winning the division. By the end of the year, the Hornets have missed the playoffs and fans are begging for the season to end after watching a horrible offense and inconsistent defense all season. The lone bright spot is a breakout defensive season for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Before today, this is what the Charlotte basketball franchise was known for. A whole lot of losing, and on the rare occurrences where they did actually win some games they would inevitably be swept in the playoffs. Then, when everybody finally bought in on Charlotte, the rebranded Hornets fell flat on their face and failed to meet expectations. Despite being a top 10 defense every season under Steve Clifford there was still a common fan reaction of seeing the team and just saying "It's just Charlotte" and that was a stink that they were never able to wash off.
It's been 14 years since the Hornets won a playoff game. To put that into perspective, owner of the Hornets Michael Jordan was playing for the Washington Wizards that season. A lot of younger fans were in elementary school when that happened. This franchise hasn't had success in so long that the feeling of it was long forgotten. Today, a weight was lifted off of those fans shoulders. Finally. It happened. They won a playoff game. Even if the series ends up swinging in Miami's favor, and the Hornets are eliminated in the first round, they can still say something was accomplished this year. Something that nobody has been able to since the franchise came back. A playoff victory.