Hornets Players Excited to Attend Super Bowl XLVII

Photo credit: @MoneyMase
February 1, 2013

Given the non-stop travel demands of an NBA regular season, players often watch the Super Bowl from a hotel room TV, or perhaps at the nearest sports bar in whatever city they happen to be visiting in early February. They sometimes miss the game altogether, due to having to catch a team flight that will take them to the next destination on the 82-game schedule.

For football fans on the New Orleans Hornets’ roster, however, the NBA schedule-maker proved to be exceedingly generous this year. Though the Hornets are currently on a five-game road trip that helped create room for NFL events and festivities taking place in New Orleans, the team returns home late Saturday after a game in Minneapolis. Since the Hornets play back-to-back games Friday (at Denver) and Saturday (at Minnesota), Super Bowl Sunday is a scheduled off day. Several players took advantage of the good fortune and purchased tickets to the Ravens-49ers game, the first Super Bowl they’ll witness in person.

“How often do you get a chance to have the Super Bowl take place in the same city where you live?” said Hornets center/forward Jason Smith, explaining his decision to buy tickets.

Smith is joined by Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Robin Lopez, Roger Mason and Greivis Vasquez among Hornets players who bought Super Bowl XLVII tickets. Kick-off in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – which is literally across Girod Street from the Hornets’ home arena – is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Central, giving players plenty of time to rest after a roughly three-hour flight from Minneapolis.

Like several of his teammates, Smith said that his preference would have been to root for the Hornets’ NFL brothers, the New Orleans Saints. With no obvious reason to cheer for either participating team, Hornets players are split evenly between Baltimore and San Francisco.

“I don’t want the Ravens to win, but I’m thinking they might pull it off,” said Smith, a Colorado native. “Since the Broncos aren’t in it, I can’t say (Denver is) going to win it. I would like to see Colin Kaepernick get a win and cap off a great season. I like the way he plays. He’s got a lot of energy. On the other end of the spectrum, if Ray Lewis won and rode off into the sunset, I’d be happy with that, too. I think it’s going to be a good game.”

Hornets starting small forward Al-Farouq Aminu also seemed ready to celebrate no matter which team prevails Sunday.

“I kind of like the Ravens, because of all the vets they have, such as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis,” said Aminu, who plans to watch on TV with friends and family. “But I’d also like to see Randy Moss win a Super Bowl. So whoever wins, I’ll be happy.”

A few other Hornets were much more direct in their opinions about the game.

“The Niners are going to win, that’s all I have to say,” Anderson predicted, smiling. “I’m a California guy.”

“Ravens 31, 49ers 24,” countered Vasquez, an acquaintance of Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. The Baltimore owner is a close friend of Gary Williams, Vasquez’s college coach at the University of Maryland, and frequently attended Terrapins games.

Overall though, the majority of Hornets players seem grateful just to be able to experience the historic sporting event in the Crescent City, without a clear preference for either side. Hornets head coach Monty Williams took it a step further, sounding like he’d only be glued to the TV on Sunday under one specific condition.

“I’d like to see the Saints in the Super Bowl,” said Williams, who prefers to spend off days with family, including he and his wife’s five children. “Outside of that (taking place), I don’t even watch.”