Picking up the newspaper and seeing stories about tonight's Bobcats-Lakers game on the front page of the sports section as well as inside reminded me of old times.
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Charlotte Hornets were the biggest story in town. When a big-name team came to Charlotte, scalpers rejoiced, fans showed up long before the doors opened and all the good seats at the sports bar were quickly claimed.
Going to Charlotte Coliseum was a thrill because you felt as if you were part of something. You saw almost everybody you knew and the next morning would replay the game at the office or over lunch or wherever people gathered.
Charlotte has changed, of course. We gave up on the Hornets not long after they gave up on us. We added the NFL and some sophistication. We no longer were mesmerized because we saw a genuine NBA player in our town.
Big-time sports are new only once. We can't go back, and there's no reason to.
But it's fun to see the city excited about the NBA again, to hear fans talking, and to anticipate the game at Time Warner Cable Arena tonight.
This is the biggest game of the season. It will be interesting to watch the Bobcats, and Charlotte, respond.