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Hornets Insider: Favorite NBA Cities to Visit, Part 2
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
September 12, 2011



In the previous edition of Hornets Insider, we counted down the sixth- through 10th- most popular NBA cities to visit, as determined by the voting of our eight-person panel. Now its time to list the top five. Before we begin our list of NBA cities, here are the eight PR personnel folks who participated in the survey. Each person submitted a top-10 list of their favorite NBA cities to visit:

David Benner
Indiana Pacers
George Galante
Orlando Magic
Tim Gelt
Denver Nuggets
Scott Hall
Washington Wizards
Jim LaBumbard
Toronto Raptors
Rob Raichlen
Los Angeles Clippers
Jonathan Rinehart
Utah Jazz
Dennis Rogers
New Orleans Hornets

Using a points system of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, I was able to rank the overall favorite NBA cities of the eight panelists who participated. These cities are listed in order of how many points they received:


COUNTING DOWN THE TOP 5


5. Los Angeles
Like Miami, trips to the City of Angels during the frigid weather months of basketball season are much-anticipated by NBA teams that play in the North or Midwest. After multiple winter months of below-freezing conditions, clubs thoroughly enjoy the chance to visit Southern California. Even better for Western Conference squads, since the Lakers and Clippers both play in L.A., it means 3-4 visits every year.

For someone from a cold-weather climate, Los Angeles is a perfect remedy for the wintertime blues, Torontos LaBumbard wrote.

A great destination during the cold winter months in D.C., Hall of the Wizards commented. L.A. is always a fun stop, whether you want to get caught up in the glitz and glamor or just relax in the sun and sand.

Speaking of the glitz of Tinseltown, Los Angeles also offers Hollywood and the filming of various television shows. Rogers: One of my favorite memories was being with a player when he was on the Jimmy Kimmel show, and then hanging out with Kimmel after the show.







Jim O'Connell
4. Chicago
If it wasnt for the winter weather, Chicago might be number one on my list, commented Hall, who settled on ranking it fourth. If youre lucky enough to be there in the early fall or spring, its tough to beat. Alas, the Windy Citys climate probably dropped it a couple notches. The citys cold temperatures might be the lone noteworthy drawback, however.

So what if its snowing? rhetorically asked Benner, whose Pacers played three games in the Second City during the 2011 playoffs. Bundle up weaklings! Eats, shopping and my penchant for chocolate is fulfilled in Chicago.

This city has character, history, great food and shopping, LaBumbard echoed. I like it so much I dont even mind the cold.

Summarized Rogers, who painted a few colorful Chicago scenes in his description: There is deep-dish pizza at Giordanos, the nightlife on Rush Street and the shopping on Michigan Avenue. I also love being on the bus in from Midway airport and seeing the picture-perfect skyline when we arrive.






Nix
3. New Orleans
This is, after all, the Hornets website, but in a year filled with various sports-related scandals, let me assure you that no one on the panel was swayed in any way to vote for the Crescent City. Without prompting, Gelt and LaBumbard each ranked NOLA tops on their lists. Meanwhile, Hall chose it as his No. 2 pick. To no ones surprise, the Big Easys one-of-a-kind culture and culinary acumen were frequently mentioned.

Gelt: Definitely my favorite city to travel to. The food (best friend chicken Ive ever had) and the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square are musts every time we travel to NOLA.

Hands-down my favorite city in the NBA, LaBumbard wrote. I have to figure out how to get the Hornets moved back to the Eastern Conference so I can go there twice a season! In addition to the great food I love Cajun and Creole cuisine the architecture is stunning. There is no city in the U.S. that compares. It is so unique and full of character. I like to sit in Jackson Square with a bag of Caf du Mondes beignets, listen to the music and watch the people walk by. Oh, and Bourbon Street isnt too shabby a place for a drink or two. I always feel a bit depressed when we have to leave (New Orleans).

Heading to New Orleans is always a solid trip because of the obvious reason (i.e. Bourbon Street), Galante remarked. The food there is incredible. Plus, Caf du Monde is there I wish every place had beignets.

Although the Hornets are always on the road during Mardi Gras meaning opposing NBA teams never get to visit New Orleans during the peak of that celebration visiting clubs have witnessed some of the citys many other popular festivals.

The last two years our second visit to NOLA in the spring coincided with French Quarter Fest right down on the (Mississippi) river, Rinehart noted. New Orleans is just a great city to visit. Its totally unique no place like it. Its a melting pot of Southern and French and Spanish and Caribbean cultures and has such a unique outlook. When it comes to food, this is the best place in the country (po boys, etoufees, beignets, and on and on). We stay in a very convenient place to get around, which as a bonus has a great view of the Mississippi River, depending on your room location. Its a place where everyone is looking to go out and have a good time.



2. New York
The Big Apple was the lone destination that appeared on everyones rankings, including topping Halls and Galantes. Whats the famous clich about New York? Its the city that never sleeps.

Rogers: No matter if we get in to NYC at 4 p.m. or 4 a.m., I always put my bags down and go take a walk around the city. I try to tell people how when you are in NYC, you get a sense of feeling alive. With people everywhere, everything in bright lights and more things to do than you could think about, NYC is the mecca. I always work out on the road, but NYC is the only city I dont go to the gym in. Every single spare minute I have, I am walking around the city.

Nothing beats a trip to New York the energy, the culture, the food, the sights it has it all, Hall listed. Other than the hassle of getting into the city from Newark (we always seem to find a way to land at rush hour), its always my favorite stop in the league.

So much to do, so much to see, never enough time to do it all, Galante wrote, before showing the obvious pride of a native New Yorker. I list it first partially because Im originally from there, but mostly because its the best place on the planet. Did I mention I was from there?




Bernard Gagnon
1. San Francisco/Oakland
The Bay Area, home to the Golden State Warriors, edged New York City by a narrow 48-46 margin in points as the favorite NBA destination of our panel. Five different panelists ranked the Bay Area in their top three, including No. 1 selections by Benner and Rogers. Although the Warriors play their home games in Oakland, visiting NBA teams generally stay in San Francisco and commute to Oracle Arena by traveling across the Bay Bridge.

I like food, I like walking, I like good weather, Benner succinctly noted, before mentioning a few other local attractions and joking about the areas infamous local prison. The Wharf. Chinatown. Alcatraz I tried to leave a couple beat writers there, but they escaped. San Francisco never disappoints. Its a great city.

When the NBA schedule is released each summer, some teams hope for multiple off days in the metro area, allowing for enough time to visit numerous attractions.

There is so much to see and do, LaBumbard commented. Its just such a unique city. I never get tired of Haight-Ashbury, Fishermens Wharf, Alcatraz, cable cars, the hills. Even when its raining, I still like to walk around. We stay at the St. Regis, which in my opinion is the best hotel in the league.

Despite making one of the longest possible trips in the league to get there, from Florida to Northern California, Orlandos Galante summed up why the Bay Area may have achieved No. 1 status on this list. Trips to the West Coast can be brutal, but its always a little less painful when you see GS (for Golden State) on the schedule, he praised. San Francisco has so much variety and is very unique. You always hope for a day off in San Francisco.



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