ESPN has reached out to the TrueHoop Network to get some perspective on which teams are our favorite teams other than our actual favorite teams. For those scoring at home, that means “Who is your second favorite team?” For me, it’s a tough call between Miami and New Orleans because they employ my two favorite players in the league to watch, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. Ultimately, however, considering how much I love the city of New Orleans and the fact that I’ve never been to Miami (in addition to the fact that I’ve watched more Hornets games than Heat games over the past three years), the decision wasn’t all that hard. My second favorite team to watch is definitely NOLA.
TrueHoop will be posting some of our responses in the coming days, but I wanted to share this with you in advance since me and you are tight like that. So even though this isn’t Pacers-related at all, here ya go: The reason I love watching the Hornets.
The devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused throughout New Orleans in 2005 represented the most unforgivable breach of fiduciary duty I had ever witnessed. So it was through the lens of recent tragedy that I was delighted to watch, just a few short months later, the all-world ascension of Chris Paul, a player to whom I would donate both my kidneys if necessary. Basketball, of course, is no elixir for recovery, but if there was one place that deserved the unique joys that only a pure point guard can provide, it was NOLA.
I was instantly hooked.
In Paul’s third year, I must have watched 40 Hornets games and, much to my surprise, David West and Tyson Chandler evolved into more than just role players. They were legitimate forces in the NBA. The CP3-to-Chandler alley oop, aka the Crescent City Connection, became my nightly highlight delight as West’s mid-range accuracy and Peja’s Barry-Pepper-in-Saving-Private-Ryansque marksmanship spaced the floor for Paul to dribble wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted.
As we now know, however, the wheels came off the ’07-08 Nawlins’ team in Game 7 against the Spurs. Then, last season marked a downtrodden decline back to mediocrity as injuries decimated the roster and Tyson Chandler became a shell of his former self.
Still, with Paul at the helm, Emeka Okafor bringing new blood to town and the city still enamored with the NBA, there’s no other team I would rather watch win than the Hornets — aside from my beloved Pacers that is.