As Mr. Dwyer mentioned earlier, the Hornets are currently in the stewardship of the league office while the NBA tries to find a Louisiana-based owner for the franchise. You see, the NBA cares greatly about keeping teams in their cities whenever possible. Huh, what's that you say? Pay no attention to those Sonics behind the curtain.
We at BDL are here to help. After crunching several numbers in our basketballular supercomputer and introducing "the human element" (i.e. several Wikipedia searches), we have assembled the most complete list of potential local owners for the Hornets.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: America's favorite supercouple bought a home in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina to pledge their support to their area. Even though they don't spend much time in the city, they've been accepted warmly, with one group even pushing for Pitt to become mayor last year.
The Hornets need them, too. Even though they have one of the league's brightest superstars in Chris Paul(notes), this franchise is far from glamorous, perhaps because their main uniform color is best-suited for rollerbladers in the 1990s. Pitt and Jolie can introduce some much-needed pizazz. And while Jolie typically gives her money to third-world causes, certainly she can make a charitable donation to one of the roughly 47 cities she calls home.
David Simon: As any fan of "The Wire" knows, television writer Simon hails from Baltimore, not New Orleans. But on his new HBO show, "Treme," Simon is attempting to provide a Dickensian picture of "Nawlins" (that's what they say in real life!) just like he did for his hometown. As owner, Simon would certainly keep the team in its current city because it's part of the local culture and an authentic part of the heartbeat that keeps the city moving through good times and bad. The only negative is that he'll get on the public address system every game at halftime to harangue out-of-town fans for daring to experience a corporate-sanctioned part of the city and not the reality of it all. Look out, Mark Cuban: There's a new loudmouth owner in town!
Harry Connick Jr.: America's favorite jazzman, Connick is a tireless advocate for his hometown. However, starring in great films like "Hope Floats" and "Copycat" does not pay the bills as much as you might think, so he will have to head up an ownership group of roughly 7,000 jazz musicians as the public face of the franchise.
Why Connick? Well, he's attractive, passionate, and someone America already knows and loves. Three seasons ago, when the NBA played its All-Star game in New Orleans, Connick was all over the place as a "respectable" representative of the city's vibrant music community. Never mind that he's not actually the most truly representative face they could pick. Let's just sweep that issue away for now. (Note: Dr. John was considered for this position but lost due to being in the right place at the wrong time.)
Gov. Bobby Jindal: Louisiana's governor is nominally small government, but he's already pledged his support for the franchise to stay in New Orleans. The next step is easy: have the state take the Hornets in a stewardship similar to the NBA's current relationship with the team. Sure, it goes against Jindal's stated political beliefs, but I'm sure it will work out for the best. Because as he told us once before while mimicking Kenneth the Page from "30 Rock," Americans can do anything if they set their mind to it.
Emeril Lagasse: Our nation's favorite loudmouth chef has tons of money -- his empire generates roughly $150 million in annual revenue -- and hosted his signature show "Emeril Live!" in his hometown for many years. But the best reason for Emeril's purchase of the Hornets is that it will make for the best video-board promos ever. Is the crowd quiet? Tell them to "kick it up a notch." Did Trevor Ariza(notes) just hit a three? "Bam!" Even if the finished product is a mess -- like most of Emeril's creations -- at least it will sound good.
Other suggestions: James Carville, Master P, the ghost of Pete Maravich, Les Miles, Archie Manning, a really good bowl of gumbo.
- New Orleans