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Put on your purple and teal – the NBA is back.
What’s happening: The Charlotte Hornets host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7pm to open the season. Tickets start at $16.
Why it matters: Hornets fans are desperate to return to the playoffs, somewhere they haven’t been since the 2015-16 season.
State of play: It’s the first season under new majority owners, Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin after Michael Jordan sold his majority ownership stake in the team over the summer. Jordan retains a minority share.
- North Carolina musicians Eric Church and J. Cole are among the team’s new owners.
Catch up quick: The Hornets drafted Alabama forward Brandon Miller No. 2 overall in June.
- The team waived former first-round pick Kai Jones.
- Miles Bridges turned himself in at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office last week. He was released on bond later that morning.
- It’s the team’s 35th anniversary, and they’re celebrating with an exhibit at the Charlotte Museum of History called “Hive at 35.” It runs through May 18. Hornets season ticket holders can see the exhibit for free.
The Hornets will still play 82 regular season games, but some of those games will take place during the the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament this fall. They’ll play in group East B and are guaranteed four games.
- The winner of each group plus two wild cards will advance to the single-elimination game knockout rounds, culminating in the championship on Dec. 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
- Teams will compete for the NBA Cup and prize money: $500,000 for each player on the winning team, $200,000 for each player on the second place team, $100,000 for each player on the losing teams in the semifinals and $50,000 for each player on the losing teams in the quarterfinals.
- The Hornets play at Washington on Nov. 10. They host Miami on Nov. 14 and Milwaukee on Nov. 17. All three games tipoff at 7pm. They wrap-up group play at New York on Nov. 28 at 7:30pm.
Zoom out: Sports are better with friends. Tailgate with The Crown Club, a group of Hornets fans that has grown to around 500 members.They gather at The Local (105 E. 5th St.) in Uptown 90 minutes before every Hornets home game. It’s a short walk to the arena. Crown Club members receive free food during home tailgates.
- They’ll host the Hive Opener Party on Oct. 25 at The Local. Expect giveaways, drink specials and cans of the Crown Club Kolsch ale by Divine Barrel Brewing.
- An adult membership is $33 annually and membership is $15 for those ages 16 and under.
- Membership also includes discounts on things like Crown Club apparel and away trips. A portion of membership dues are donated to a charity each season, and this season it’s Safe Alliance, which supports those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.
What to wear: Whether you’re looking for a vintage fit or gear from a local apparel brand, there are plenty of ways to show your team spirit.