Top 50 Charlotte Hornets

Entering the National Basketball Association as an expansion team in 1988, the Charlotte Hornets have had an interesting history, though not necessarily a successful one. Many speculated that the city could not support professional basketball, this despite North Carolina being a haven for the college game.

The pundits were proven wrong as though they played like an expansion team, the attendance was huge and they led the NBA in that category during their inaugural season. Charlotte suffered through the aches and pains of being an expansion team, but finally they made the playoffs and has a few good players which gave them national attention, though when they slipped back, the attendance wasn’t there and they fell to the bottom in that category and management moved the team to New Orleans following the end of the 2001/02 season.

While that might seem like it would doom professional basketball in Charlotte, the state had already shown it could support hockey (the Carolina Hurricanes) and football (the Carolina Panthers) the NBA wanted to give it another try and in 2004, the Charlotte Bobcats were born, though again feeling the pains of expansion.

Meanwhile, back in New Orleans, the team sought to come up a team that reflected their own region. For the 2013-14 season, they were renamed the Pelicans, and the city of Charlotte looked to get back their old name, which after one year they had. This is where it becomes very interesting for our purposes.

The new Charlotte Hornets absorbed the history of the old Charlotte Hornets, which splits the career of many “Hornets” whose best years are divided between New Orleans and Charlotte for our Top 50s.

This list is up to the end of the 2014/15 season.

Note: Basketball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics and post-season accolades.
Had this been the lineal history of the Charlotte Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans), Jamaal Magloire would have a much higher rank. In fact, in his first two years in the NBA (that was spent in Charlotte), he only started eight games but he proved that he belonged in the NBA and would actually have his highest PER season and true shooting percentage (2001-02) in Charlotte, and when the team was in New Orleans, he…
While the Slovenian seven footer may not have been a huge star in the National Basketball Association, Primoz Brezec did have a couple of decent campaigns with Charlotte where he averaged over 10 Points per Game. A selection in the expansion draft, Brezec enjoyed the most minutes of his career, but beyond his first two seasons as a Bobcat, Brezec didn’t accomplish much else in North American basketball.
The story of Bobby Phills is a tragic one as the Shooting Guard died in a car crash while speeding on January 12, 2000. The Hornets would retire his number in his memory the following month, which would become the first (and to date only) number retired in franchise history.
Eddie Robinson was a very capable backup Small Forward who spent the first half of his brief career with Charlotte. Robinson, who was not a starter often, did showcase some athleticism that allowed him to have a decent career in the NBA, far more than was expected from an undrafted player from Central Oklahoma.
A two time NCAA Champion at the University of Kentucky, Nazr Mohammed would not have the same kind of team success playing in Charlotte. Still the native of Chicago was an above average defensive presence who was a great presence under the glass. He would have his highest PER in a season (19.6) with Charlotte in the 2009/10 campaign.
Brad Miller would become the first undrafted player to make an All Star team, though unfortunately for Charlotte that took place long after he left the organization.
While Matt Carroll was not one of the most productive players in NBA history (realistically, expansion got him a job with Charlotte), Carroll does have one of the longer tenures (serving two stints) with the franchise. He was known for his work ethic as a player, making the most for what he had and you knew he was never going to make a mistake due to apathy.
While Stephen Jackson was considered a problem by many fans, the well travelled Shooting Guard was considered a popular player among his teammates. Jackson played two seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats where he would post good scoring numbers with a 19.8 Points per Game Average and above par defense.
A forgotten player in basketball lore, Armen Gilliam was somewhat of an ironman who had his best seasons with Charlotte, though this was likely due to expansion and being a top option in his brief time with the squad. Still, this was clearly his best run in the NBA and one that got him on this list.
When you think of Kurt Rambis you think of two things: those glasses and the Los Angeles Lakers. It is forgotten by many that Rambis had a role in the early days of the Charlotte Hornets.