Today, we begin our top 10 players from every franchise, with the Charlotte Hornets. While the Hornets haven’t really had much success at all in their franchise’s short history, there’s still a handful of great players who’ve spent some time in Charlotte.
10. Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson spent 3 seasons with the Charlotte (Bobcats for one season) Hornets. From 2013 to 2016, Al Jefferson was the man in the middle before heading over to the Indiana Pacers where he would finish his career. Jefferson was an extremely underrated piece for the Hornets, and helped Charlotte get to their first playoff appearance in years in 2014, and again in 2016. As soon as Jefferson left the Hornets, as well as before he arrived, the Hornets couldn’t crack the playoffs. Jefferson is a great interior presence, and a strong shot blocker, who just needed his absence to prove how valuable his presence was.
9. Gerald Wallace
Wallace spent 5 and a half years in Charlotte, before being traded to Portland. In his time in Charlotte, Wallace averaged a combined 16.4 points per game, and finished his time in Charlotte with one all star selection. Wallace was an excellent defensive presence, and averaged 2.5 steals to go with 2.1 blocks per game when he was just 22 years old. Wallace was definitely the best player to play for the Charlotte Bobcats, and made this team somewhat watchable. Wallace gets extra credit because of his tenure with the Bobcats, which lasted much longer than most would expect, and was a very consistent run. Wallace did however play out his career with many other teams, which overshadows his potential label as a Charlotte legend.
8. Kendall Gill
Kendall Gill is easily one of the most forgotten and underrated Hornets of all time. Gill played his first 3 seasons with the Hornets, before heading off to Seattle. Gill would return back to Charlotte after 2 years in Seattle, but would only last until the trade deadline, when he was moved to the New Jersey Nets. Gill’s best season with the Hornets would be his sophomore season, where he averaged 20 points per game, as well as 1.9 steals per game. Gill’s only hold back in being higher up on this list is his short tenure, as well as poor three point shooting.
7. Baron Davis
Davis played the Charlotte classic 3 year tenure, and then played a season and a half more on the New Orleans Hornets, his last season in Charlotte earning him an all star nod. Davis played all 82 games for all three of his seasons with the Hornets. Injuries would catch up to Davis when he left Charlotte, but Davis was one of the most consistent players on the Hornets at this time. Davis’ third year in the league was impressive. He averaged 18 points per game, 9 assists and 2 steals, and of course earned one of his two career all star nods. In New Orleans, Davis struggled a little more in his first season. Following a down year, Davis had his best season, and earned his second all star appearance averaging almost 23 points per game to go along with 2.4 steals.
6. Glen Rice
Glen Rice might be one of the most underrated players of all time. Rice spent 3 seasons in Charlotte, and earned all three of his all star nods during these 3 seasons. Gill actually averaged 26.8 points per game on 47% three point shooting in his second year at Charlotte. Rice currently holds the record for most career points per game with the Charlotte Hornets. Rice also holds the highest points per game value in a single season Hornets season.
Glen probably had the greatest single season in Hornets history, a close debate between Kemba Walker last year and himself. It’s a shame Rice only played 3 years in Charlotte, as his career couldn’t take off when he left.
5. Dell Curry
Until Kemba Walker showed up, Dell Curry was the Hornets all time scoring leader. Curry played 10 seasons with the Hornets, and never started more than 30 games in an NBA season. Curry was the designated 6th man for all 10 of his seasons with the Hornets. Curry quickly became known as a major fan favorite for his shooting ability, and clutch gene. Curry won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 1994, but had been talked about for the award for years before. Despite averaging just about 25 minutes per game with the Hornets, Curry averaged around 14 points per game, making him one of the most efficient scorers of his time. Curry could’ve done so much more if he’d started, but being on the bench allowed players like Glen Rice and Kendall Gill to come into Charlotte and do what they need to do. Curry is a lot like the 90’s Lou Williams.
4. Muggsy Bogues
Easily the most recognizable classic Hornets player, Bogues earned his fame due to his unusually small frame. Standing at just 5’3, Bogues was, and still is, the shortest ever player to ever play in an NBA game. Bogues defied all odds and made a name for himself as a starter on a playoff team. Bogues was never much of a scorer, and only averaged 10 points per game in 3 seasons of his 9. Bogues also never really got good at shooting the three, and only once attempted more than 0.4 three pointers per game. Bogues made his money on his tenacious defense, he averaged over 2 steals per game during three different seasons.
Bogues was also a phenomenal passer and high IQ player. He averaged a double double with points and assists with 10/10 on two different occasions, but always stuck around the 7-10 assists per game range. Bogues is still remembered as one of Charlotte’s greatest hoopers, and recognizable hoopers.
3. Larry Johnson
Johnson, better known in Charlotte as Grandmama, played 6 seasons in the queen city and was an all star for two of them. Johnson won the rookie of the year award in his first season, where he averaged 19 points per game and 11 rebounds as a rookie. This would go down as one of the best rookie seasons of all time. Johnson continued to dominate the league, averaging 19.6 points per game through all 6 seasons in Charlotte. Johnson was a 49.6% shooter, which for his time was very elite, and would still be considered elite today. Johnson tried to develop a three point shot later in his time with the Hornet, and found some success. Still his claim to fame were his unstoppable post-up, and tenacious rebounding habits.
Based on his entire career, Alonzo Mourning might be the greatest player to ever play for the Hornets. However, Walker still beats him out for his time on the Hornets. Mourning’s hall of fame career began in Charlotte, where he spent 3 seasons. Mourning would be an all star twice, and average 21 points per game in each of his three seasons in Charlotte.
Mourning would also average 10 rebounds per game and over 50% shooting in what would go down as the most consistent career in Hornets history. Mourning helped the Hornets achieve a lot of success during his three years with the Hornets, but was ultimately drawn to Miami where he would continue his NBA career.
1. Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker has been through it all in Charlotte. The 6’0 guard was drafted to the Bobcats, and remained in the city of Charlotte for 8 seasons. Walker earned all star honors in his last 3 seasons with Charlotte, including all star starter in his final season with Charlotte. Walker averaged over 20 points per game in each of his last 4 seasons with Charlotte, including a peak of 25.6 points per game, which will go down as one of the top two greatest seasons in Hornets history. Walker led the Hornets to two playoff appearances, and saw Charlotte’s greatest moments. Walker also was a part of the 6-59 Bobcats team that would go down as one of the worst of all time. Despite this, Walker shined his entire Charlotte career, and will undoubtedly go down as the greatest basketball player to ever play in the city of Charlotte.