by Sam Hieb
So says Greensboro native and Charlotte Hornets president and chief operating officer Fred Whitfield, who grew up on the old Carolina Courgars model:
“As a kid in Greensboro,” Whitfield said, “it was awesome being able to sit on the goal pads and see the stars of the ABA go up and down the court. When you’re 12, 13, 14 years old, that’s pretty tough to beat.”
The Cougars were a regional franchise, dividing home games among the Greensboro Coliseum and arenas in Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. It’s an idea that wouldn’t work in the NBA, and with a merger of leagues looming, investors moved the team to St. Louis.
But would a smaller regional model work in the D-League?
That’s the proposal Matt Brown, managing director of the coliseum complex, talked about this week when Greensboro was named a finalist for the Hornets’ new minor-league team along with Raleigh, Fayetteville, Asheville and South Carolina cities Charleston, Columbia and Greenville.
Greensboro’s proposal would put D-League home games in three venues — a curtained coliseum main arena, a 3,400-seat Special Events Center court and Joel Coliseum.
None of the three could accommodate all the team’s home games alone because of busy current use.
Yeah the three-venue option is a tough bid, but the Triad’s still the logical choice, being right up the road from Charlotte. But always keep in mind —it’s Michael Jordan’s world, we just live in it.