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Carl Scheer: We Didn’t Know If People Would Embrace The Hornets

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(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

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The original Hornets General Manager, Carl Scheer, who also served in that capacity for the Carolina Cougars, LA Clippers, and Denver Nuggets, joined Mac and Jim to talk about the origins of the Hornets including his favorite moment, the motivation for founding the Dunk Contest, a Cougars game that didn’t end until 2:30AM, Doug Moe and the Bobcats rebranding back to the Hornets. On Saturday, the Nuggets will be honoring Scheer for his time in Denver.
On the origin of the Slam Dunk Contest: Something did prompt me, bankruptcy. The ABA was in serious trouble. We went from eleven teams that year (1976) to seven. In one sense it was wonderful because we got to revise our schedules so Denver and Virginia, who had Julius Erving and Denver had David Thompson and those two were the greatest players in basketball at that time. We got see them eight times in Denver and eight times in Virginia. That was the only good thing about it. We sat around to talk about the All-Star Game that year and it was going to be in Denver. The idea came to me that we have to showcase what we have, and what we had was great players, who did great things and played above the rim. We decided that we would found out who the best one was and do it in a competitive basis. We did preliminaries to get to a doable, workable number before the game. Then, at halftime, we did the competition and as predicted it came down to David Thompson and Dr. J and they put on the show of all shows that has stood the test of time.
You can watch the original contest here:
On his favorite memory with the Charlotte Hornets: The very first game we didn’t know what to expect. We knew it was a tremendous college basketball environment, but we didn’t know if fans would embrace the NBA team and style. The opening night we were playing Cleveland and we had tuxedos and fancy dresses. Everyone was curiouos about what kind of basketball they would see  and it was just a wonderful evening. It would’ve been a great storybook finish to say we beaten Cleveland in overtime on a last second shot, but we lost by 40. When the team was looking up, waiting for the clock to strike zero-zero-zero so we could leave the floor. We got out of there as quick as we could and as the players left the floor there was a large noise from the floor, we thought somebody had fallen down or somebody had said something. As we looked back to the court, every person in the arena got on their feet and gave the team a standing ovation. I said to myself, this is going to be some special run.
Mr. Scheer also details the days of the ABA’s Carolina Cougars including the night the team had a big lead against Pittsburgh and Charlie Hentz shattered two backboards in the same game. The team had toi get a wooden high school backboard to complete the game.

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