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CHAW- George Shinn

By Jude

WVU fans are certainly forgiven if they don't know who George Shinn is. But in North Carolina, he's an asshole of the kind of notoriety befitting the man for whom this award is named.

George Shinn is the principle owner of the New Orleans Hornets, formerly the Charlotte Hornets. The timeline of his assholishness is fairly easy to follow, but it's action he took this past week which opened up a whole new can of asshole all over again.

Once upon a time, the Charlotte Hornets were the hottest ticket in the NBA. They led the NBA in attendance for eight consecutive seasons (1988-1996), and they boasted an insane (for pro basketball) 21,000 season-ticket holders. I lived a couple of hours away from Charlotte in South Carolina during those years, and I can tell you that Hornets fever was felt in the entire Carolina region, including the guy writing this article. (Which is why you'll have to excuse the extended rant to follow.)

Shinn was one of the partners that brought a franchise to Charlotte and was revered by Hornets fans and citizens of Charlotte alike. Then the true asshole of the man came to light, and the wheels fell off faster than anyone would've believed.

First, Shinn fired the Hornets' first ever coach, Dick Harter, on the same day that Harter's brother died of cancer. Then there was a messy sexual assault trial on Court TV that angered some in the community because of Shinn's religious pomposity.

But what truly angered Hornets fans was just how much of a cheapass George Shinn was. The Hornets were blessed with some solid draft choices and free agent pickups, and became a playoff mainstay in the Eastern Conference. But one by one, Shinn let all of them leave by free agency or traded them to prevent from paying them competitive salaries.

Allow me to tell you a story.

At one time in downtown Charlotte, there was a huge building with a beautiful mural of the "Big 3" of the Charlotte Hornets, Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson, and Mugsy Bogues. It was huge, about 80 feet tall or so, and really one of the more awesome things you'll ever see for a professional team in any city. (Somehow, I found a picture of it to post here):

Well, after Alonzo Mourning finished his rookie contract and was an acknowledged superstar on the rise, he wanted to be paid a reasonable salary. That wasn't happening with Shinn as the owner. He immediately traded 'Zo to Miami for Glen Rice, Matt Geiger, Khalid Reeves, and a draft pick that would be Tony Delk. (Glen Rice could score, but losing 'Zo was a HUGE dropoff.)

So the guys that painted the mural painted over 'Zo, leaving Mugsy and LJ. (Who, along with Lawrence Taylor, was really one of the first guys to use his initials exclusively to refer to himself in the third person.)

Then LJ wanted a decent contract, so Shinn shipped him off to the Knicks in exchange for the imminently unwatchable Anthony Mason and Brad Lohaus. (In their official NBA.com team history, the Hornets also point out that they helped the franchise that same year by trading "a first round draft pick" for Vlade Divac. However, they conveniently leave out the fact that the draft pick in question was Kobe Bryant.)

So they painted over LJ and just left Mugsy and the Hornet. Which didn't last long, because the next season Shinn traded Mugsy to Golden State.

The "Big 3", a beloved young nucleus regularly making the playoffs with a bright future, was destroyed by Shinn in 3 seasons, all because he refused to pay them. What an asshole.

But the fans still loved the TEAM itself, and still showed up in droves to support it, despite a total lack of commitment from the owner.

At this point, despite the fact that the Hornets' arena, the Charlotte Coliseum, was only 10 freaking years old, Shinn began making overtures to the Charlotte community and city leaders that the Hornets couldn't remain financially viable in Charlotte if he didn't get a brand new, ENTIRELY taxpayer-funded arena within the next few years. He started openly flirting with other cities, holding the city of Charlotte ransom. At one point, the city approved a proposal to build a new arena for hundreds of millions of dollars if Shinn would just put up 13 million of his own dollars. He refused. (The business side of Shinn's failings are covered in full detail in this article).

So after open flirtation with other cities, holding a gun to the city of Charlotte's collective heads, and trading away the likable nucleus of the team, Hornets fans had had enough. They went from the best attendance in the league to the worst, and Shinn used the fact that his ticket sales were now stagnant to convince the NBA to allow him to move the team to New Orleans, who was waiting with promises of a brand-spanking-new arena, free of charge to the imminently cheap Shinn.

The reason that for this history lesson in George Shinn's assholishness, and why he's receiving the Chris Henry Asshole of the Week award?

He's doing it all over again.

Earlier this week, Shinn attempted to trade the 26-year old stud center and key component of a team contending for the 4th seed in the Western Conference playoffs, Tyson Chandler, to the Oklahoma City Thunder (another NBA travesty) for two stiffs with expiring contracts that he wouldn't have to continue to pay after this year, unlike Chandler. (Hilariously, the trade blew up in Shinn's face when Chandler failed his physical and the trade was rescinded.)

"Say, you're not going to want a raise with this Coach of the Year Award are you? If so, pack your bags, buddy."

Additionally, Shinn has been grumbling that he will move the team again if he doesn't receive the yearly fee from the State of Louisiana estimated to be around 7 million dollars. (Gee, what might've happened in Louisiana recently that would cause their funds to be slightly depleted?)

Finally, he's deserving of this award if for no other reason than the fact that the Hornets official NBA site features ridiculously pompous bios of him and his douchebag family. (Note that the entire history of the Charlotte franchise is breezed over in a single sentence, but he makes a point to note the publication of his 1977 autobiography “Good Morning, Lord!”)

So for all of this, the Couch is proud to offer an entirely-belated Chris Henry Asshole of the Week Award to George Shinn. You certainly deserve it, George.

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Poster Thread
Posted: 2/27/2009 6:51 pm  Updated: 2/27/2009 6:51 pm
Suspected Punter
Joined: 4/17/2007
From: Bluefield
Posts: 188
 Re: CHAW- George Shinn
As a hornet fan this chaw is greatly deserved! You did forget one thing, he also traded Baron Davis for Speedy Claxton and I think Dale Davis (sorry replying on memory not facts). If the Hornets had a owner like a Mark Cuban, love him or hate him he will do anything to have a competitve team on the court. Im sure there would be a banner in CHARLOTTE right now.
Posted: 2/27/2009 8:48 pm  Updated: 2/27/2009 8:48 pm
Gettin' Schmitty
Joined: 1/25/2006
From: ohio via Panther WV
Posts: 9518
 Re: CHAW- George Shinn
I can see young Jude now playing the hell out of some NBA Jam using Morning and Johnson.
Posted: 2/27/2009 11:49 pm  Updated: 2/27/2009 11:49 pm
Joined: 7/21/2006
From: Boone County, WV
Posts: 12965
 Re: CHAW- George Shinn
Sounds like this guy is more deserving of this award than a lot of people that it's been bestowed upon.

Of course it's hard to compare some of the other guys to professional assholes.
Posted: 2/28/2009 4:43 pm  Updated: 2/28/2009 4:43 pm
Makin' it Rain
Joined: 5/14/2008
Posts: 4794
 Re: CHAW- George Shinn
Poster: southerndubv Posted: 2/27/2009 6:51:11 pm As a hornet fan this chaw is greatly deserved! You did forget one thing, he also traded Baron Davis for Speedy Claxton and I think Dale Davis (sorry replying on memory not facts). If the Hornets had a owner like a Mark Cuban, love him or hate him he will do anything to have a competitve team on the court. Im sure there would be a banner in CHARLOTTE right now.

Grew up 45 min. from Charlotte and remember this whole process. Shinn deserves the chaw and a punch in the face.
Posted: 3/1/2009 12:20 am  Updated: 3/1/2009 12:20 am
Joined: 7/21/2006
From: Boone County, WV
Posts: 12965
 Re: CHAW- George Shinn
Now you folks down around Charlotte are left with the Bobcats..which can barely be classified as a real NBA team.
Posted: 3/3/2009 10:08 am  Updated: 3/3/2009 10:08 am
Pitt Hater
Joined: 8/9/2007
From: Pittsburgh
Posts: 1653
 Re: CHAW- George Shinn
Reminds me of Clay Bennett, no reason to care about the fans that stuck by the team for 30+ years or the traditions built in those years, lets just move the franchise to Oklahoma City because i'm a giant douche. The part that really burns me is that "The Glove" should have his jersey hanging in the rafters for that franchise and it'll never happen.
Posted: 3/4/2009 9:43 pm  Updated: 3/4/2009 9:43 pm
Here for the Beer
Joined: 8/28/2007
From: Dallas, TX
Posts: 352
 Re: CHAW- George Shinn
I remember the mural very well. I was wondering to myself, as an artist, it takes a long time to create a piece of work. Not only was it beautiful, it represented our pride in our first professional team of the Carolinas.

When Alonzo left, and the mural was changed, I at first said "that's business, but after the 3 mural, it was obvious it was management. It wasn't hard to notice, after all, the story of Shinn and his repeated "ransom" acts were in our paper at least a third of his last three years.

The Carolinas could be argued the best basketball state in the country. Indiana probably takes the cake in high school, but NC owns college basketball, and for a short while, it was the best pro team attendance-wise.

When Shinn left, I remembered saying to myself, "New Orleans doesn't know what they're getting into....." The NBA should get rid of him. His constant betrayal of the city and anyone within his organization should be stopped - after all, the NBA is concerned with its image nowdays, or is it money....... I can't remember??????
Posted: 11/2/2009 2:12 am  Updated: 11/2/2009 2:12 am
Here for the Beer
Joined: 8/26/2007
From: Naples, FL
Posts: 456
 Re: CHAW- George Shinn
"Now you folks down around Charlotte are left with the Bobcats..which can barely be classified as a real NBA team."

Yeah, thanks for that reminder.....


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