Steve Clifford and LaMelo Ball ‘a recipe for disaster?’ Hornets fans react to new coach

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
Jeff Siner/jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Charlotte Hornets finally found their head coach, hiring Steve Clifford on Friday.

To answer some immediate questions, yes, it’s that Steve Clifford, and no, it’s not 2013.

Clifford, who coached in Charlotte from 2013-2018, made the playoffs twice during his tenure, losing in the first round on each occasion. One key difference between his last tenure and the upcoming one? The presence of LaMelo Ball, one of the most dynamic players in the league.

Clifford’s hire prompted a slew of jokes and reactions from Hornets fans and the NBA community.

Podcaster Jabari Davis made the connection between Clifford’s return and team owner Michael Jordan’s return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995 — using a picture of the press release Jordan’s agent sent out at the time.

Darin Gantt, writer for Panthers.com, remarked on how the situation was vaguely similar to one the Panthers had where they fired former general manager Marty Hurney only to hire him again five years later.

Philip Rossman-Reich, host of the Locked On Magic podcast, called the move a “solid hire.”

Clifford coached in Orlando after he was fired from Charlotte. Rossman-Reich said this was “probably the most offensively talented team” the coach has ever had.

The host of the Locked on Hornets podcast, Doug Branson, felt similarly, saying he anticipated seeing “Clifford with a bonafide star (Ball),” something he hasn’t had before.

Clifford did coach Kemba Walker in Charlotte.

But a reply to Branson’s tweet showed many Hornets fans’ skepticism, noting that Clifford and young players often clashed during his first Charlotte stay. “Him and LaMelo is a recipe for disaster,” the fan said.