Where does the duo of Rozier and Graham rank among the best duos in Charlotte Hornets history?

Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham and Terry Rozier. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham and Terry Rozier. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

As with any expansion team, the Hornets struggled for the first few years in the NBA. Then lightning struck not just once, but twice, forming the most iconic pair of players the team has ever seen.

If you’re reading this, then you no doubt know who I am going to mention here. They barely need any introduction, but I kind of have to, so here we go.

Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning were exactly what the fledgling Charlotte Hornets needed in the early ’90s. The Hornets already had their fresh, snazzy teal uniforms and brand new coliseum, but they lacked star power.

That all changed when Larry Johnson came to town after being drafted first overall in the 1991 NBA Draft. “Grandmama” wowed crowds with his tenacious play and high-rising dunks. Johnson was named Rookie of the Year and competed in the Slam Dunk contest during All-Star weekend, finishing a respectable second place.

A year later, in came another talented big in the name of Alonzo Mourning. He was drafted second overall by Charlotte and would quickly become a force to be reckoned with. Johnson and Mourning immediately made their combined presence felt, leading the Hornets to their first playoff appearance ever and their first playoff series win over the aging, but still competitive, Boston Celtics.

Charlotte Hornets: 2010s All-Decade teams. light. Hot

After that, they became one of the most fearsome frontcourt pairings of that era. The hype was real in the Queen City and things only looked up from there going into the 1993-1994 season. Unfortunately, the injury bug bit both of the young superstars, forcing them to miss a combined 53 games. While still one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, the injuries were too much for the Hornets to handle and the team would miss the playoffs by just one game.

Heading into next season, optimism was high since the team looked mostly healthy. Both Mourning and Johnson were selected to the All-Star Game and the team made the playoffs again, winning 50 games for the first time in team history. Sadly, they would lose in the first round to the Chicago Bulls and some guy who decided not to play baseball anymore. Go figure.

So, time for one more try together, right? Well, contract disputes and tension between the two necessitated a trade that sent Alonzo to the Heat. We’ve covered that already, so I’ll digress. L.J. wasn’t in town much longer and was, as you know, sent to the Knicks.

They may not have been the longest-lasting duo or maybe even the most prolific, but they were the team’s first two All-Stars and put the city of Charlotte on the basketball map. For the longest time, the Hornets led the league in attendance and those two guys were a large reason for that. Sometimes, setting the bar is all you need to be the best.