Hornets.com 1-on-1: TV analyst David Wesley
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Former NBA guard David Wesley played 14 years in the league, including eight seasons as a member of the Hornets. Less than a decade after he last suited up for New Orleans in December 2004, Wesley has returned to the organization as its new TV analyst. Along with new Hornets play-by-play broadcaster Joel Meyers, Wesley is calling 75 regular season games on Fox Sports New Orleans. Wesley, who is the fourth-leading scorer in Hornets franchise history (7,670 points) and ranks first all time in games started (517), sat down with Hornets.com recently to discuss his new role and the 2012-13 season:
Hornets.com: You were a member of the Hornets during their first three seasons in the city of New Orleans (2002-03 through 2004-05). What are your fondest memories from playing here in those years?
Wesley: The thing that stands out most to me was the welcoming fans, the newness of being in the city and the fact that everything seems to be a celebration or a party here. It really adds to the basketball aspect of it, and makes it a lot of fun. We really had no idea what to expect. We knew the Saints had great fans and a great following. You hoped that they would embrace us, and they did.
Hornets.com: You re-joined the Hornets as a broadcaster this summer. What are you most looking forward to about your new job?
Wesley: Just being back in the basketball atmosphere and being able to watch and follow a team throughout the season, as well as watching other teams and talent. This is going to be an exciting team to watch and see grow up over the course of the season. I think a lot of (the national focus on the Hornets) has to do with the No. 1 pick. Everyone wants to see how he’s going to do and turn out. From all the signs so far, he’s a tremendous talent.
Hornets.com: For fans who will be watching games on Fox Sports New Orleans all season, how would you describe your on-air style?
Wesley: The only thing I can say is it’s going to be new. [laughs] I don’t have any (defined) characteristics (yet). I like to joke and have fun. I’m not really sure how it’s going to play out. I’m excited about doing it and ready to get started. But I don’t know my style yet.
Hornets.com: What aspects of the fact you played in the NBA not long ago do you think will benefit you as you explain what’s happening on the court to fans?
Wesley: I think it adds to what I bring. I also coached for two years after I retired, which brings a different side to watching basketball, as far as things I’m looking at. Those things will come out when I’m explaining the game on any given night.
Hornets.com: Along similar lines, what do you think are the biggest changes that have taken place in the NBA since you retired from playing in 2007, if any?
Wesley: Every year the officials come out with a new rule. This year, it’s (penalizing) flopping. The talent changes every year, gets a little better, a little more athletic. Besides a few rules changes, though, it’s pretty much the same.
Hornets.com: You obviously lived in New Orleans during your three seasons here. What has your experience been like since you moved back this offseason?
Wesley: You know, I never thought I was that recognizable as a player. But here in New Orleans, I’ve been driving down the street, and people are honking their horns, yelling “Hey Wesley!” [smiles] It still blows my mind. If I go shopping, or I’m out somewhere, people will come up and say hello. The fans here have always been great. I haven’t had anybody, before or now, approaching me with anything negative or craziness. It’s always been love. It’s always been cool and cordial. People come at you a different way here. When I was a player here, I was at a gas station one time, and there was a lady working inside the store who saw me outside pumping gas. So she got on the loudspeaker and said “Hey Wesley! I know you’re going to come in here and give me an autograph!” I was like, wow, you just put me on blast? [laughs] That’s what I think of when I think of fans here. They love you, and they don’t care how they show you. [smiles]