An OKC Love Affair and Hornet Homecoming: New Orleans Returns to Oklahoma City

SportMonkAnalyst INovember 21, 2008

I usually write college football, but I couldn't resist.

The New Orleans Hornets return to Oklahoma City tonight for the first time since it got its own NBA team—to KEEP, this time!

As a native of Oklahoma City, I can't even tell you how stoked I was to have an NBA team coming to town when it was announced the Hornets would be coming for a couple seasons.

I got pumped up, went to as many games as I could, cheered my heart out and fell in love with the team. Oklahoma City, in my opinion, played a crucial role in the formation of CP3 becoming the All-Star that he is. Oklahoma City reminded the Hornets what it's like to have a fan base that actually cares and actually goes to games.

We provided a home-court advantage the Hornets hadn't seen in New Orleans and gave them all the tools to become the playoff performers they were last season.

But it wasn't a one-sided relationship. The Hornets gave a lot back to Oklahoma City.

The Hornets vitalized the City and united Sooner fans and Cowboy fans (and those silly Golden Hurricane fans) under one team. The Hornets gave us something we could truly care about and could truly call our own (for a couple seasons).

The Hornets put Oklahoma City on the map for professional teams, ensuring a successful SuperSonics move and setting up Oklahoma City nicely for an MLB or NFL expansion team down the road.

The Hornets validated the Ford Center, making it a must-stop for touring performers and leading to necessary improvements that have made it one of the better stadiums in the country.

And the Hornets made me actually start caring about the NBA for the first time since Jordan retired (the first time).

Then they went on back to New Orleans and broke my heart.

Now, after a scandalous acquiring of the Seattle SuperSonics, Oklahoma City has its own NBA team, the Thunder, led by Kevin Durant and fan-favorite, Oklahoma State grad (and former Hornet) Desmond Mason.

ESPN has been talking a lot about how the Hornets will respond to the homecoming, but what will Oklahoma City do?

I'd venture to say I'm not the only person from Oklahoma City that became a die-hard Hornets fan after going to two seasons of games, getting to know the players and cheering for victories (something New Orleans hadn't seen much of before coming to the City). Although I like the Thunder, I'll probably always be a bigger Hornets fan.

Many people in Oklahoma City still own OKC Hornets shirts and jerseys and still cheer for the Hornets. Because of that and what I've already mentioned, many people—including me—will be cheering against the home team.

So what does that do? Will it spark a Hornets-Thunder rivalry? And what if (by a miracle of heaven) the Thunder beat the Hornets? Are the fans in Oklahoma City happy? Sad? Confused?

Don't get me wrong—I love my hometown Thunder. But I loved the Hornets first.


For another native OKC fan's perspective, who will be cheering for the Thunder despite loving the Hornets, read this article.