CONCORD, N.C. – This year, the Charlotte Hornets are celebrating their 30th anniversary since joining the NBA as an expansion team.
It's a momentous occasion, and when the Hornets first arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick was one of the original owners.
In a new video posted by the Hornets, Hendrick recalls the early days of trying to bring professional basketball to the Queen City.
“I remember people thinking it was a joke, that Charlotte was trying to get this NBA team,” he said. “I think it was one of the other cities that was trying to get the franchise said that the only franchise we’d see in Charlotte are the arches of a McDonald’s.”
The video features interviews from many other important figures in the history of the Hornets, including former NBA commissioner David Stern.
Stern recalled how impressed he was that Charlotte rose to the top of the list of cities being considered for a brand-new team. And Hendrick recalled just how important the moment felt when the city got word that it had been selected for a franchise.
“For us to end up being picked first was pretty remarkable,” Hendrick said.
Check out the full video with an in-depth look at when the city was awarded the Hornets below.