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OKC Thunder: Few links left to Hornets team that played in Oklahoma City

Chris Paul and David West aren't the only ones who are gone. On a night when the Thunder defeated the New Orleans Hornets, you're reminded that there aren't many folks still with the team who were here during the two seasons in OKC.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 25, 2012

The New Orleans Hornets broadcast crew dined at Mickey Mantle's on Tuesday night. A patron stopped by the table and asked Gil McGregor for an autograph.

Nice touch. Let the Hornets know they're remembered and appreciated here in the city they made Loud.

Nothing against the gregarious McGregor, a fun analyst (“Rondo, he's no Hondo”) who helped teach us the NBA, but he's about the deepest tie left from the Hornet days.

Chris Paul? Gone. David West? Gone. Any Hornet who was here during the two years of relocation? Gone.

No players. No coaches. No Hugo. Not even George Shinn, who sold the Hornets 14 months ago.

Just broadcasters Bob Licht, Sean Kelley and McGregor, plus publicist Dennis Rogers and equipment manager David Jovanovic, known affectionately around the league as Big Shot.

No one else in the Hornet entourage was here for any of those two years when OKC and the NBA started a beautiful friendship.

Time was, the Hornets' return brought a little extra buzz to downtown. No real allegiance to the Hornets; most everyone wanted to see Russell Westbrook outplay CP3 and Kevin Durant school West. But it was nice to see the guys again.

Nice to remember those crazy nights when CP3 might make a whirling dervish of a play; when West might hit a last-second jumper; when Shinn would sit straddling his midcourt seat, cheering wildly for baskets or the halftime act, it was all the same to him.

We might not have known how many fouls were required to reach the bonus, or what in the heck they meant by defensive three seconds, or why that little arc was in the middle of the lane, but we sure knew high times when we experienced them.

There was no buzz Wednesday night in Chesapeake Arena, other than the general zaniness over the Thunder and its best-in-the-NBA record. After a 101-91 victory, the Thunder is 15-3.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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