Politicians Fight For Hornets
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is rumored to have an interest in purchasing the Hornets and moving the team to Seattle. Still owning the rights to the Supersonics name, the Hornets would become the Sonics. Of course, this is all speculation, and right now, a lot of it heresay. While the future of the Hornets in the Crescent City is in question, politicians and local leaders spoke on the matter yesterday. The message was clear, let’s all do our part to keep the Hornets in Louisiana. Here is some perspective from a Seattle Sports blog.
Seattle basketball fans who are hoping the Hornets will move to the Emerald City got a message from Louisiana politicians and business leaders Monday – not so fast.
“I’m aware of (Microsoft CEO) Steve Ballmer and those billionaires in Seattle who want to bring a team back there, but the message to them is: We’re not giving up our team without a fight,” said local attorney Morris Bart.
Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and several New Orleans business leaders met Monday to discuss plans to keep the Hornets in town.
“We’ve got a number of business leaders that are more than willing to step up to the plate and help put a coalition together to buy the team and keep them in New Orleans,” Jindal said. “I’m not worried about other communities or other potential purchasers at this point.”
Last week, the NBA took control of the team from majority owner George Shinn, who was unable to work out a deal to sell the team to minority owner Gary Chouest. Rumors immediately began swirling that Ballmer could be considering buying the team and moving it to Seattle. Ballmer sold about $1.4 billion in stock recently.
Landrieu said he is confident the city will keep the franchise.
“The big message is: The future of the Hornets in the City of New Orleans is in our hands,” Landrieu said.
Commissioner David Stern has said his preference is to keep the team in New Orleans, but he said he will place a priority on the quality of potential ownership.
Jindal and Landrieu urged fans to buy more tickets over the next month and a half. The Hornets must average 14,883 for their next 12 home games to void the early exit clause in the lease this year. Jindal claims this will give the state extra time to find a long-term solution for keeping the Hornets in Louisiana.