We managed to lock down an interview with resident Hornet super-fan 'Hornet Henry.' Currently a contributor to Hornets.com, Hornet Henry kindly imparted some words of wisdom to those that aspire to one day reach his level of fandom. To find the inner workings of a superfan, read on. I'd introduce him more thoroughly, but he does a pretty good job of it himself...
At the Hive: For Hornets fans that don't frequent the official website or don't know who you are, who is "Hornet Henry"?
Hornet Henry: I am an enthusiastic Hornets supporter who writes articles about my favorite team on Hornets.com. I like to believe that I’m the universe’s most avid Hornets backer, although admittedly there is no actual scientific evidence to verify this claim. For people who are not familiar with my work, it might help to check out a couple of my personal favorite articles, including Why We Love the Hornets and Top 10 FANtastic Moments of 2007-08.
While we’re on this subject, I’d like to point out that some of what I write should occasionally be taken with a grain of salt. I use a truckload of tongue-in-cheek humor, but sometimes that gets lost in the translation when people read my prose for the first time. I’ve considered using words with fewer syllables, just in case any Spurs, Mavs, Rockets or Grizzlies fans happen to be reading, but I eventually decided not to dumb it down for them.
By the way, I’d also like to give a shout out- I recently learned that phrase from the young folks- to one of my role models, The Optimist from Cavs.com . He’s good people.
I’m not just a writer, though. I get a big kick out of updating my Hornet Henry page on Facebook, which I started about a year ago. All Hornets fans are invited to add me as a friend. It definitely provides a better glimpse of what Hornet Henry is all about. The page includes frequent updates, behind-the-scenes news items and tons of Hornets-related pictures, with insightful photo captions written by yours truly.
The purpose of the Facebook page is the same as my articles on Hornets.com: to provide more information about the Hornets in an entertaining fashion and get people even more fired up about the team, upcoming games/events and all things Hornets.
@tH: How long have you been a Hornets fan? Do you get to go to all the games?
HH: As the younger generation likes to say, I’ve been down with the Hornets since the beginning. I go to all of the home ballgames and Fan Up as much as is humanly possible. If I am forced to skip a wedding, graduation or funeral in order to see the fellas play in the Hive, then so be it. You’ve got to have priorities.
I watch the away games on Cox Sports TV with Bob Licht and Gil McGregor just like everyone else, and/or listen on the radio as my pals Sean Kelley and Gerry V call the action. Sean actually invited me to do hard-hitting commentary on his radio show during the 2006-07 season, but that was before the FCC intervened and pulled the plug.
@tH: What was your favorite single game or event of the last season?
HH: It’s a toss-up between the Fan Up pep rally right before the playoffs, and the draft party in Metairie. Since my primary objective in life is to get Hornets fans lathered up about the team, I was overjoyed by the turnout at these events. About 3,000 people showed up at the pep rally, which was incredible. Then there were 300-plus fans at the draft party, even though the Hornets did not actually draft anyone. I’m checking with the Elias Sports Bureau as we speak, to find out if that’s an NBA record for attendance at a draft pick-less draft party!
@tH: Favorite current Hornet? Favorite all-time Hornet?
HH: My favorite current Hornet is probably Ryan Bowen, but I believe CP3, Tyson Chandler, Mo Pete, Melvin Ely, Julian Wright and David West have all also considered the possibility of serving me with a restraining order. I love Bowen because he doesn’t necessarily have an abundance of natural talent, but he will dive into the popcorn vendor to save a ball if that’s what it takes. And he has zero ego.
This quote by him pretty much sums it up: "When I went to the University of Iowa, I was so excited to be able to play for Iowa, that when I got my chance to play, that’s how I played. I describe it as being like a huge fan. If you pulled a fan out of the stands and said, Hey, you get to play two minutes. What would you do (if you were that fan)? Would you loaf up and down the court, or would you be sprinting all over the place? That’s kind of what I did initially, just to get on the court."
My favorite all-time Hornet is Dell Curry. He had arguably the smoothest shooting stroke of any player in NBA history. Plus, he’s a first-class gentleman off the court.
@tH: I know a lot of people aren't feeling the new jerseys (although I think the pinstripes are sick). Do you have any insight as to why the change was made? More importantly, thumbs up or thumbs down?
HH: I haven’t seen the new jerseys, so regrettably I can’t answer parts of this question. As far as why the change was made though, I think the Hornets wanted to come up with uniforms that acknowledged the city of New Orleans more prominently. The plans for the uniform change were in the works for a while, because the NBA requires that you apply for major modifications well in advance. The ball was rolling for this change well before the 2007-08 season tipped off in New Orleans.
@tH: What are your expectations for the Hornets this year? Call me crazy, but I think they can go 82-0...
HH: Since Im often unfairly accused of being overly optimistic about the Hornets, I might as well say I expect 83-0. Just kidding! My expectations are that they will be improved from last year’s 56-win squad, after bringing in bench sparkplug James Posey. Plus, the young fellas are only going to get better, including CP, Tyson, Julian and Hilton. A lot of these guys haven’t even reached their prime yet.
Whether they win more than 56 games, I’m not sure, because the Western Conference is extraordinarily formidable. But I think no matter what, the Hornets will be in better position to succeed in the playoffs than they were entering the 2008 postseason. It’s going to be tough in the West, but the fact that the Hornets are being mentioned as a championship contender has me extremely giddy and pacing my house in anticipation of the 2008-09 season!
@tH: Do you visit other blogs/sites a lot? Are you plugged in with all those "confidential league sources" or are you stuck refreshing Jannero Pargo's Google RSS feed every 5 seconds along with the rest of us?
HH: I’ve been trying to check out the fan blogs and websites a lot more lately. Matter of fact, At the Hive is at the top of my list based on your in-depth Hornets coverage and the fact that you’re the first website to request an interview with Hornet Henry.
As far as my sources, I have a few Hornets folks who get me the 411 on a lot of happenings around the team. I think people realize by reading Hornet Henry articles that I am privy to some information that even those hard-nosed, grizzled, muck-raking journalists from the Times-Picayune are unable to obtain.
@tH: And speaking of Pargo... yea or nay?
HH: Yea if he re-signs with the Hornets. If he doesn’t re-sign, I’d say, Thank you JP for being such an awesome dude, helping us win a lot of games the past two seasons and for being part of the best season in Hornets history.
@tH: Let's end with some quick hitters- 3-word or less answers:
@tH: Favorite nickname for David West?
HH: The 17-foot assassin.
@tH: Teal or Purple?
@tH: Of all the games on the schedule, you are most looking forward to...
HH: Opening Night, Cleveland.
@tH: First off the bench: Posey or JuJu?
@tH: Bob Licht, radio announcer or Bob Licht, television announcer?
HH: Radio announcer. However, Mrs. Hornet Henry would say television announcer because she has a huge crush on Bob and obviously can’t see his boyish good looks when he’s on the radio.
@tH: Thanks for your time, Hornet Henry, and keep up the great work!
HH: Thank you so much, At the Hive, it was my pleasure. Like I said earlier, this was my first-ever interview. I hope I did OK. Geaux Hornets!
Huge thanks to Hornet Henry for answering all of our questions! Hope you enjoyed the interview and Geaux Hornets indeed!