Who exactly is the Charlotte Hornets’ biggest rival?

Miami Heat Dwyane Wade (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Miami Heat Dwyane Wade (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat Dwyane Wade (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

In their 30-plus years in the NBA, the Charlotte Hornets have had some fierce battles, but have they formed any actual rivalries with any teams during that time?

It’s been just over 30 years since the Charlotte Hornets played their very first game. During that time, they’ve had some success, but their reputation for mediocrity has haunted them for much of their existence.

This is made even worse when you compare them with other teams that also made their debuts around that time period. The Miami Heat, who also debuted in 1988, have been the most successful, having won three NBA titles.

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The Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves both started playing a season later and have also had more success, with Orlando reaching two NBA Finals and the Timberwolves making one Conference Final.

It’s no secret that success breeds rivalries and you see it in every sport. Whether it’s in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Or in baseball with the Boston Red Sox and New York York Yankees. Those are two of the most storied rivalries in all of sports and the prestige built by winning is largely what keeps those rivalries going.

In the case of the Charlotte Hornets, their aforementioned mediocrity has made it difficult to pinpoint one or two teams with which a rivalry could be formed. It’s hard to sustain any kind of animosity between clubs when one team repeatedly has nothing for which to play.

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So, who comes the closest? With such a limited resume in terms of winning, it can be slim pickings, to say the least. One might go by simple geography. You could also simply go by the timetable in which other teams entered the league alongside the Hornets.

In any case, we’ll try our best to see who else in the NBA sees the Hornets as legitimate rivals and not just mere annoyances on the path to greater things.