You know it's bad when the Providence Steamrollers can breathe a sigh of relief.
With Friday night's 20-point home loss to the New York Knicks, the Charlotte Bobcats are officially the worst team in NBA history. "Twenty three" had been synonymous with success for Michael Jordan. Now, as the majority owner of the Bobcats, the number is paired with futility as it was the 23rd consecutive defeat for the team whose playoff appearance two years ago is a distant memory.
The loss dropped their winning percentage - if you can call it that - to .106, "topping" the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers' mark of .110 and "beating" the 1948 Steamrollers' .125 percentage. The jokes were heard all season, and they'll continue in Charlotte.
Fans chanted, "Let's go, Hornets" during the season finale. If you booed the likes of Blake Griffin in the Time Warner Cable Arena, you might get some boos yourself -- from people with no ties to Los Angeles. Paul Silas's signature move all season was burying his face in his hands, and we would've understood if he threw a chair every now and then.
Before the season, Tyrus Thomas complained about the lack of media coverage for the Bobcats.
"My drive right now is to be mentioned," Thomas told the Charlotte Observer in early December. "It just disgusts me when you watch ESPN, and out of the 30 teams you're not mentioned. I think a lot of our guys have that chip on their shoulders. Just to show we're in the league too, you know?"
But, for the past week, SportsCenter has included Charlotte among its top stories for historical implications.
Jordan is set on molding his Bobcats after the Oklahoma City Thunder, enduring losing seasons to eventually become title contenders. Whether or not that's realistic for a small-market team remains to be seen. What was certain was the support the Bobcats received when they made the playoffs with hometown hero Gerald Wallace. Not satisfied with being a potential perennial No. 6-8 seed in the Eastern Conference, though, Jordan disbanded the roster. He concluded the demolition by trading Wallace, the Michael Jordan of the franchise, for salary cap relief and a couple draft picks.
In their best-case scenario, the Bobcats receive the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and select Kentucky's Anthony Davis. The last time Charlotte chose a dominant college player with questionable facial hair, the Bobcats wound up with Adam Morrison, whose defense was so bad he tore his ACL defending Luke Walton in a preseason game. Luke Walton, ladies and gentlemen.
With Davis on the roster, do the Bobcats win more games than their NFL neighbor, the Carolina Panthers?
The NBA season will go back to 82 games next season, so you'd certainly hope so, but hey, the Panthers figure to sniff the playoffs. After all, the Bobcats finished this season 7-59. The Panthers ended their campaign at 6-10. Davis doesn't make Charlotte a playoff team or even close. A sophomore Kemba Walker doesn't either. One is a slight forward and the other is an undersized two-guard.
The addition of Davis would improve the post, sure, but instead of following the Thunder model, it may be more reminiscent of those Steamrollers. Providence followed up its 6-42 1948 season with a 12-48 record the following year, improving its winning percentage by 75 hundredths. Despite doubling its wins, one of the original 11 NBA franchises didn't make it back to the court for an encore.
The Bobcats hope the similarities end right now.