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Jurich and Pitino halted Charlotte Hornets to Louisville

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Earlier today, we mentioned an article on titled “College Basketball Made Louisville, Then Broke It,” a piece that analyzed the uprise and downfall of Louisville athletics.

Hidden in the article was a bit of breaking news that would have been pretty substantial for the state of Kentucky…

The Charlotte Hornets had an agreement to move to Louisville in 2002, but Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich didn’t want to share the city, let alone an arena, with an NBA team.

Around the time Pitino arrived, a group of Louisville businessmen and politicians were making a concerted effort to land an NBA team. In part, this was a play for economic development. Louisville could see how pro football and hockey helped revitalize Nashville. But it also came just as much from a desire for respect. The city burghers even had a nonbinding agreement with the Charlotte Hornets, which wanted to relocate. The plan centered around building a downtown arena that the Hornets and the Cardinals would share.

Jurich and Pitino had other ideas. They had no intention of sharing an arena with an NBA team–they didn’t even want to share the city with an NBA team. Louisville was theirs. David Stern, who was then commissioner of the NBA, recalls thinking, “If Rick Pitino doesn’t want us there, why are we going there?” The Hornets went to New Orleans instead.

The Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002 to become the New Orleans Hornets. In 2013, they became the New Orleans Pelicans.

If it weren’t for two power-hungry individuals, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and Darius Miller would be playing professional basketball in Louisville right now.

As if it weren’t easy enough to dislike Jurich and Pitino already…

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

37 responses to “Jurich and Pitino halted Charlotte Hornets to Louisville”

  1. 502CodeRed

    Confession. It was actually me and Sasquatch who halted the deal. I didn’t like the NBA beer prices and he hated the concession choices.
    This site is like the National Enquirer only you get to comment too. Love it. LOL

    1. Booby Petrino

      Of course you love it, it’s obvious since you’re here so much. Matt appreciates you paying his bills with all that attention you give him.

    2. omegagavin

      Bloomberg reported it dumbass. I’m sure you can categorize them as a tabloid as well if it suits your delusion, though.

    3. UK Big Board Update

      502CodeRed IS SO MAD!!!! LMFAO

      This wont stop being hilarious to me.

    4. Dragon

      More like 50doucheRed

  2. abobicesaevior

    Considering the way UL illegally fleeced taxpayers to build the chicken shack, it lends even more credence to this story.

    1. Rembrandt

      Jurich was basically running the mafia in Louisville.

  3. Booby Petrino

    Serious question, though. Are you smart enough to realize that Bloomberg wrote the article and ksr is passing it along? So Bloomberg would be the enquirer in your comment, but here you are all confused. Lol

    1. Booby Petrino

      Gah I hit Reply to code but it didn’t work. Oh well, I’m sure he’ll see this because he’ll be here all night reading comments.

  4. luke_emberton

    those 2 are the biggest bums this state has ever seen I hope we eventually get an NBA team

    1. Bobbum Man

      Maybe the city of Louisville can get in on the lawsuits and sue those 2

  5. Angelo

    Wow! Wow! Wow!

  6. BigBlue4EverUK

    This is actually old news, some people already knew abt this. Rick hated on NBA team coming here.

    1. Rixter

      I just assumed everyone knew Pitino kept the NBA out of Louisville. It was obvious his ego couldn’t handle the competition… what was it he always said.. “Louisville people can’t afford NBA prices”?

  7. ClutchCargo

    This might be the dirtiest deed these two have done.

    1. 4everUKblue

      Dirty deeds done dirt cheap?

    2. ClutchCargo

      No, these guys’ dirty deeds are expensive as hell in the long run!

    3. catdaddyd

      I don’t think Louisville could or would support an nba team. Ticket prices, 41 home games. People aren’t showing up to Rupp for games.

    4. 4everUKblue

      Actually I would bet it didn’t cost them anything.

    5. ClutchCargo

      That was actually the point I was trying to make. It cost the city a NBA team, the Arena Authority at the mercy of UofL’s scheduling, etc.

    6. 4everUKblue

      The point I was trying to make that the deeds were done dirt cheap. The effects were expensive but not the deeds done… it’s an AC/DC song.

  8. Rixter

    Pitino and Jurich had a printing press that printed money over on Floyd Street. As much money as a person could ever hope to have, they could self-print. But they got greedy. They flew too close to the sun. Now Pitino wakes up alone every morning in an empty $26 million mansion in Miami with nothing to do all day but shop for his next media interview, and Jurich walks around all day in U of L swag he stole from the campus store. #HowTheMightyHaveFallen

  9. FunkyMonkey

    So David Armstrong was Louisville Judge Executive in 2002 when all this was going down. Guess who got him against the NBA deal? You read it.

    So then David Stern said not only is Pitino and Jurich not supporting it, but the top political leadership. So Armstrong retires,… guess where he goes to work? The University of Louisville. I sh*t you not.

  10. Catsfan1715

    And Cal may be coaching that same team… so maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. Pitino bled blue all along!!!

  11. dan213

    Sooooo how do you explain that tattoo catsfan1715? Lol Pretty sure he’s been Rick the red for quite awhile. Just like eventually this will all fall down to the taxpayers. First the Yum center and then these lawsuits especially if UL loses.

    Worst mistake UK made was hiring him in the first damn place. Been better off keeping Eddie!

    1. 4everUKblue

      I’m sorry but as much as I dislike Pitino now I cannot agree with you dan213. His time at UK was some of the most exciting basketball I have seen and Eddie …not so much. Love him or hate him, Pitino brought UK back to prominence, then took UofLittleBro to the depths of hell. What’s not to love?

    2. Rembrandt

      There seems to be a lot of fan disagreement about what was UK’s worst mistake. To me, the Curry and Mumme hires qualify when you consider where that path ultimately took our football program. Aside from being a prima donna at the time, Pitino didn’t do anything wrong at UK and he won a lot of basketball games. I can’t stand Pitino, and I’m glad he left when he did, but the hire worked and solved a lot of problems at the time.

    3. ClutchCargo

      UK AD’s have made terrible personnel decisions over the years, but hiring Pitino at that point in time wasn’t one of them. That’s too much of a stretch to even take seriously.

    4. Catsfan1715

      Was being facetious Dan123… But I’d rather have Cal coaching our wildcats then have him coaching the Louisville Hornets. Everything happens for a reason.

  12. Gettlefingers

    Anybody notice the article got it wrong about ppl on Louisville sports radio being split over whether to fire Pitino but unanimous about firing Jurich. It was the other way around. Otherwise a good article.

  13. mcp157

    Worst of all, if the NBA were here the YUM center would have its best chance to actually make money.

  14. dan213

    Well agree or disagree that’s fine. Opinions vary. Not sure how many of you guys actually remember Eddie Sutton. But here’s the thing (and yes he had a big drinking problem) aside from that the man bled blue.

    Put another way ask yourself this question. When the $hit the fan over that envelope deal with Emory out in California Eddie took full responsibility. Told the NCAA to punish him not the school or its fans. Said he had no idea about the payoff but per NCAA rules he failed to monitor or control.

    He stepped up and tried to take all responsibility by resigning. How many of us would have given up our dream job? Ask yourself that and be honest. Not sure I could have.

    As far as a coach? I’m sorry but Sutton forgot more about coaching than Pitino will ever learn. Don’t believe me? Look him up. Read it yourself who he played for and learned the game from.

    He was also recruiting coast to coast and building UK into a power that hadn’t been seen since UCLAs golden years in the 70’s. Which I believe had a lot to do with the scandal that led to his resignation.

    All that aside remember Rick had baggage as an assistant coach at Hawaii and almost didn’t get approval to be at UK from the NCAA. And don’t forget him throwing the championship (by keeping Derek Anderson on the bench)in ‘97 because he was mad he didn’t get his way. Petty I believe is the word. Like his suit against UL now.

    If he wins that not only hurts UL that hurts the state and the people. Bottom line my point is he’s only out for himself. He’s always been that way even when he was at UK. That’s why I’ve always felt we’d been better off without him. And for the punishment the NCAA handed down at the time we’d been much better off sticking with Eddie and being done with it.

  15. east-ky-boy

    Tom jurich was the second gunman on the grassy knoll

    1. Kentucky Gentleman


      Tom Jurich killed Tupac

  16. east-ky-boy

    Tom Jurich hates Raymond

  17. ClutchCargo

    Tom Jurich stole my wallet!

    1. east-ky-boy