Charlotte has two major league teams, and in every year since 2012 at least one of them has made the playoffs. This year the postseason has been bereft of any Charlotte team.
In 2012, the Panthers and Charlotte Bobcats won the same number of games. The Panthers were 7-9, the Bobcats 7-59, and the playoffs went on without them.
Their reward was the draft. The Panthers selected ninth, and took a linebacker out of Boston College named Luke Kuechly.
If ever a franchise deserved the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, it was those 7-59 Bobcats. The prize was Anthony Davis, the 6-10 forward who left Kentucky after his freshman year. He was expected to be brilliant, and he has been.
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The Bobcats threw a party at what was then Time Warner Cable Arena. Executives were there. A few people from the team’s past were there. Michael Jordan was there.
As we watched on big screens, the lottery filled in. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who won 21 games and tied with New Orleans for the league’s third worst record, would draft fourth. Hooray.
The Washington Wizards, who won 20 games and had the second worst record in the NBA, would draft third. Hooray.
Only seven-victory Charlotte and 21-victory New Orleans remained. The announcement was about to be made, and everybody in the crowded room prepared to cheer.
The cheers came from New Orleans. The Bobcats, who would become the Hornets, would draft second.
The moment was one of the most deflating in Charlotte sports history, and still is.