George Shinn brought professional sports to Charlotte in 1988, convincing the NBA to not only expand into Miami, Orlando, and Minnesota. After not getting what he wanted (a new uptown arena), Shinn threatened, then moved the team to New Orleans to begin the 2002-03 season. After several lackluster seasons attendance-wise, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Without a usable arena, Shinn found Oklahoma City and moved the team (temporarily) for the season. Attendance jumped this season, with Oklahoma City loving its first professional sport team (see a pattern?)Meanwhile, Bob Johnson (creator of BET) bought a new franchise in the NBA and brought the team to Charlotte. Charlotte built a new, state-of-the-art arena for the team, and the first 2 seasons have been building ones. Players from around the league have raved about the new arena.
Despite having the newest arena in the NBA, the league announced today that the next to-be-scheduled All-Star game in 2008 will be held in New Orleans.
I understand that David Stern (the NBA commissioner) wants to show a committment to New Orleans, and the city certainly needs some hope and another reason to rebuild. However, it is also pretty traditional in the NBA to award the All-Star game to either the newest team or the newest arena, in order to show off one or the other. Charlotte is both, but is taking a backseat to Shinn again. Shinn is back to his old tricks again, demanding a new practice facility or heâ€™ll move the team to Oklahoma City.
Come on, NBAâ€¦go ahead and commit the 2009 game to Charlotte, even if itâ€™s ahead of the schedule. Your leagueâ€™s only minority owner is doing a good jobâ€¦.show Charlotte your committment too!