These memories, not some stupid throwback shirt or snapback hat, are the real reason people are excited about the return of the Charlotte Hornets.
I remember pregaming at Jocks n Jills, eating calamari and drinking virgin daiquiris with my brother while my dad and his friends got good n liquored up before tipoff.
I remember going to more than one game where we literally could not find enough tickets for my family to sit together.
I remember feeling like we walked miles to and from the car when we arrived a little late because the parking lot was so huge. And… I remember when my dad pulled one over on the parking staff and said he was injured so we got to park all the way up front. Also, I remember there was always a section in the lot upfront that was virtually empty because it was reserved for handicapped fans that never showed.
I remember sitting in traffic for 30+ minutes just trying to get out of the arena after games.
I remember my dad buying me and my brother Muggsy jerseys at the arena that we eventually got signed (he lived in my neighborhood).
The lower level had an exclusive sort of feel to it because during introductions and many times during play they would pull the curtain closed, shutting off those poor nose-bleaders from enjoying in the intimacy that was lower-level seating. Didn’t even let you enjoy the views for a split second while you were hiking up the stairs to your cheap seats.
I remember the ushers not being total dickbags when we tried to sneak down to better seats during the 4th quarter of blowouts.
I recall the complete lack of boxes and suites.
I remember the mascot Hugo dunking all over the place at half time.
I remember the big inflated, flying Hugo that would drop off tickets and Harris Teeter gift cards… and I remember flying Hugo tragically malfunctioning/wrecking on more than one occasion.
I remember thinking the stoplights in the area surrounding the coliseum were cool.
I remember arriving early to games to be part of the “frontcourt club” or whatever it was called at the time. It was basically just an overpriced bar for the wine n cheese crowd to mingle at while the real fans watched the game.
I remember the oldschool 8-bit scoreboard graphics with the girl in pigtails raising her arms and her mouth opening in what was supposed to be celebration.
I remember the Brick Guy, and I remember wishing that one day I would grow up to get to hold up that big beautiful brick.
I remember hearing about how the scoreboard came crashing down onto the court and I remember wishing it would happen again while I was there.
I recall going to many an event outside Hornets games at that place. The circus, Disney on ice, etc.
I remember the Charlotte Sting also played at the Coliseum and that their crowds were so small that in the only Sting game I ever attended me and a friend literally just walked right down to the court and sat baseline the entire game. Also, during the halftime shootaround an errant shot bounced our way and we stole the ball. I still remember watching that sucker ballboy count his balls over and over absolutely perplexed by the realization that he had lost a ball. (The same friend that snuck away with this priceless WNBA halftime shootaround ball also made away with a D-II championship football helmet while the team was celebrating the win on the field)
I remember the hype and anticipation that was there when the Bulls were in town. Charlotte sports fans that weren’t around during the Jordan era don’t know the meaning of a “tough ticket”.
I remember returning to the coliseum in ’04 as a season ticket holder during the inaugural season for the Bobcats and thinking it was cool but also realizing the mystique and aura was missing.
I remember Baron Davis and that ridiculous buzzer beater 3 he made against the Magic in our last season in Charlotte. That shot was incorrectly called off and it was all over sportscenter for a week. http://youtu.be/TyoTKbhiBVA
I remember Muggsy and Muggsy and more Muggsy. The dude was more loved than flowers on Valentines day.
But all jokes aside… most of what I remember was this overwhelming feeling that, “This is awesome”. I’m trying not to romance the idea of the return of the Hornets because I don’t expect it to be everything it was to me as a kid, but if it even comes close I’ll be thrilled.