Benson buys Hornets
David Stern's reign of terror in New Orleans is over!
Reportedly, Tom Benson has purchased the New Orleans Hornets for $338 million. Benson quickly reversed the fortunes of the New Orleans Saints when he became their owner in 1985. Since then, the Saints have made nine trips to the playoffs and won Super Bowl 44.
David Stern retrospective
Although I've been critical of David Stern in the past, I will give him credit for doing everything in his power to keep the Hornets in New Orleans. Stern became the owner to prevent them from leaving New Orleans. Once the Hornets got a long-term deal to stay in New Orleans and a local owner was found, Stern's work was done.
For that, I'd like to thank David Stern.
Those in the national media who didn't understand what has been happening behind closed doors this season have been pontificating that the Hornets would leave New Orleans. The fact is, New Orleans residents like me knew a new deal would be reached with the state and several groups were vying to purchase the team.
Ironically, the best thing about Tom Benson is that he's not a sports expert. When Benson purchased the Saints in 1985, he had been a car dealer. But Tom Benson hired NFL experts to recommend candidates to run the Saints' front office. As a result, Benson hired Jim Finks as Saints general manager and the rest is history.
New Orleans Hornets
Similarly, I doubt Tom Benson will be making trade recommendations to the Hornets' front office. Benson will talk to NBA experts about how to staff his front office. I have mixed feelings about current GM Dell Demps. However, I sincerely hope Benson retains Monty Williams as the New Orleans head coach.
At 85 years of age, Tom Benson will likely not be the Hornets' owner as long as he has owned the Saints. Benson's daughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, is being groomed to someday take over the Saints. Presumably, LeBlanc will also take over the Hornets down the line. This would ensure that New Orleans is the Hornets' permanent home.
Will Hornets equal Saints success?
Now that they're staying in New Orleans, winning is the next goal for Hornets' fans. The thought of the Hornets someday winning the NBA Finals like the Saints won the Super Bowl almost makes me giddy.
With Tom Benson as the Hornets owner, anything is possible!
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in the New Orleans Arena the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals.
Brian Mahoney, "AP Source: Saints owner lines up to buy Hornets," yahoo.com
More from this contributorCP3 or C-3PO?