The Five Stages of Grief as a Charlotte Hornets fan

Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets
Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages
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February offers a multitude of reasons for basketball fans to be excited. The two-week stretch between the NFL conference championships and the Super Bowl often sees the sports world shift its focus from the gridiron to the hardwood.

Fantasies of a perfect bracket begin to fill the heads of the college basketball faithful. Numerous NBA fanbases prepare to cheer on their superstar players at All-Star Weekend. The entire NBA community waits with bated breath for a franchise-altering trade notification to emerge on their lock screen. For most basketball fans, February is an exciting time for the sport.

For the Charlotte Hornets, February is just like any other month. There are no players representing Buzz City in the All-Star game, no blockbuster trade potential, and no playoff push scenario. Like so many seasons before, the fate of the 2023-24 season has already been decided when the calendar flips to the shortest month of the year.

The Hornets currently possess a 10-41 record and find themselves at 13th in the Eastern Conference standings. Labeling the season as a disappointment for Charlotte would be an understatement - they're 12 games back from even sniffing a spot in the NBA play-in tournament. A 51-game sample size and lingering injuries to multiple starters are enough to confidently proclaim that the Hornets won't be making any noise in the final three months of the regular season.

Some may find this outlook overly pessimistic - I call it acceptance. This is reality. The fifth and final stage of grief that fans of the teal and purple know all too well. However, it wasn't always like this. The tumultuous journey to begrudgingly accepting this team's fate has been a long one, filled with denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally…acceptance.

It's time to rewind the season and discover how we reached this point. Here are the five stages of grief through the eyes of Charlotte Hornets fans.