Hornets Lose, but New Orleans Finally Wins

As the Hornets returned to the New Orleans arena for the first time this season, and since Hurricane Katrina, it represented another small step for the city towards normalcy. Although it can only really be characterized as a small step, it was a significant one nonetheless. In front of a standing room only sellout crowd of 17,744 the Hornets lost to the Lakers 113-107, but New Orleans finally won.

It was another step in the many that preceded and will follow, but again a significant one. Does the sellout crowd prove the city is ready to support a NBA franchise? Not exactly, but it is a sign that New Orleans is a city that is willing and possibly even ready to try. What will it lead to? Who knows. First, it better start with the league granting the city more than six games in New Orleans next season. That low number just seems unfair (6 out of the 41 scheduled home games is ridiculous). After a low attendance for a game against the Suns in Baton Rouge earlier this season, only a month and a half after the storm, the team and the league quickly retracted the other two games promised to be played there this season and moved them back to Oklahoma City. If they can take games away from us, they can certainly give them back.

In an atmosphere that I’m sure had a playoff feel, the city’s faithful packed the seats of the arena that’s floor was flooded just 5 months ago. The New Orleans Hornets returned home, and for one night we could again truly lay claim to our NBA franchise. For one night they were the New Orleans Hornets again. A team and a name that we should have never felt the need to reclaim.

The fans were there not only in support of the Hornets, but in support of themselves. To show one and another and the rest of the state and the country that we refuse to be forgotten. Refuse to be forgotten by our President, our state officials, former New Orleanians that have left and plan no return, the NFL, the NBA or by anyone.

Yes some of the fans were there to see Kobe. I don’t care, they were there. For just about every home game in the NBA a superstar comes to town. That’s part of the league’s allure.

Last night New Orleans was given the chance to prove its resilience, and prove to the NBA it still matters. When given the chance to set aside their worries, if only for one night, the city sold every ticket the arena would sell them.

In a process of many steps restoring power is a step, rebuilding bridges is a step, rebuilding homes is a step, reopening businesses is a step, reopening hospitals is a step, the two weeks of Mardi Gras was a step, this game was a step, Jazz Fest will be a huge step as will the return of the Saints.

In a time when some in this country think this city isn’t worth protecting, isn’t worth rebuilding, you showed the sport’s world that you’re not going anywhere. Anyone who thinks New Orleans isn’t still one of the best cities in the country has obviously never been to our city before.

On a night when the Big Easy was asked to show their support and to prove they still mattered, as always you stepped up no matter the cost. In a country where the city is fighting to not be forgotten you stood up to be heard. Last night you took a huge step towards accomplishing that.

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