In Charlotte, Horse-Riding is More Important Than the Bobcats

by March 25, 2009

by Marcel Mutoni

Team owner Bob Johnson has no qualms with letting his employees know this. And this reality drives Larry Brown crazy.

The Charlotte Bobcats have had a raw deal over the last few years with their scheduling, and this season is no different. They have Johnson’s daughter (and her horsies) to blame.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Asked Monday what he thinks of closing the regular season with four road games, Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown was frank: “It’s ridiculous to end like that,” Brown said. Team President Fred Whitfield understands Brown’s concern, and hopes to improve the situation in future seasons. But Whitfield has to balance his responsibilities to the team with his obligation to manage Time Warner Cable Arena.

For the second consecutive season, the Bobcats’ schedule is heavily backloaded with road games. Last season they played 19 of their final 29 away from Charlotte. This season 24 of the final 39 are on the road.

Some of this is unavoidable. Events such as the circus in late January and college basketball tournaments in February and March have locked-in dates. The Bobcats are aggressively booking concert business to fill the arena with up to 200 events annually. And the Charlotte Jumper Classic is a pet project for majority owner Bob Johnson. It takes up the last weekend of the regular season, a factor in the Bobcats’ closing road trip to Oklahoma City, Chicago, New Jersey and Orlando. Johnson’s daughter is an equestrian, and Whitfield made it clear this event is a priority. “The horse show is something he feels very deeply about, he’s very committed to,” Whitfield said. “As long as Bob is the majority owner, that’s something we’re planning to do.”

That obviously sucks something major, but Larry Brown should be thankful they don’t host golf tourneys indoors; MJ’s requests would probably drive him to drink.