NBA commissioner David Stern, who is now Benson's favorite commissioner, even threw in the 2014 NBA All-Star game as lagniappe. Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined the party Monday as Stern and Benson made it all official during a press conference at New Orleans Arena. With the patented Benson Magic now invested in the Hornets, they can expect great things to happen. If Benson is present for the NFL Draft Lottery, New Orleans undoubtedly will get the No. 1 pick which they will use to select Kentucky's 6-10 wunderkind Anthony Davis. They also have Minnesota's lottery pick from the Chris Paul trade, which they will use (humor me a little here), to take the Wildcats' sparkplug forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
How do I know all this? Becasue I am a student and believer in history repeating itself. Benson's purchase of the Hornets will mirror his purchase of the Saints and the team's eventual performance. You can look it up! The Saints had 18 non-winning seasons before Benson infused the club with his magic with his purchase of the franchise in 1985. He brought in a new team led by President and GM Jim Finks who believed as he did that no earthly reason existed why the Saints could not be successful. I will never forgot an illustrative comment Finks made to me when he was trying to interest me into joining his team. "When we start winning, New Orleans will be the greatest environment in the NFL." Finks did not say IF the Saints start winning, but WHEN because he subscribed to the same theories of management destiny that has made Benson a success in everything he has done. Follow the formula and success will follow.
The Hornets euphoria comes at a good time for Benson. Make no mistake, the owner is still upset at his Saints management team for allowing the Bountygate scandal to fester then explode in national opprobrium. But it's like having one child who fails three tests, while the other child makes the honor roll. You love the slacker, but while you fume and fuss at him, you can channel your emotions into the second child's glowing performance. And, when the first kid's offenses are forgotten, you still have two kids who have learned the lessons you taught them and will make you proud.
Jim Miller is a former journalist (Baltimore Sun), NFL executive (Saints, Bills and Bears) and college athletic director (University of New Orleans). See Jim's unique perspective of sports and more on his website:www.JWMillerSports.com.
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