I had heard rumors. Often a "Let's go (insert opposing team here)" chant would break out during a Charlotte Hornets game. There would be a decent amount of opposing fans and they would cheer loud and proud. In my own experience, prior to their game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, April 1, I hadn't experienced it. I had gone to games against the Timberwolves, Heat, Nets and Pacers. In all those games, the volume and population of the opposing fans were not a lot more than you might expect. That all changed against Philadelphia.

Opposing players

For Philadelphia, more importantly, a number of their players, this probably felt close to a home game. Joel Embiid, the star, didn't play, but it's safe to assume if he had, he would've gotten close to standing ovation. Just ask how it was for Ben Simmons. Or JJ Redick. Or Markelle Fultz. Or Marco Belinelli.

When JJ Redick was introduced, the crowd went wild. I thought to myself, "Well, he did go to Duke, so I can see why a lot of people around here would like him." Little did I know. When Markelle Fultz checked in, the crowd again went wild. "Well, he was the number one overall pick, and he was hurt up until a few games ago, so I guess I get it." Wrong again. Belinelli, a former Hornet, received loud cheers with every made basket.

"Well, he did play here just two years ago." Not the best excuse, but a feasible one.

Here's where the excuses stop, though. Ben Simmons has nothing to do with North Carolina or the Hornets. Neither does Markelle Fultz. And quite frankly, so what if Redick and Belinelli do? They are the opponents. It's incredibly frustrating to hear louder cheers for the visiting team, and it's an embarrassment, as well.

Even Hornets fans went wild over them, though.

Ben Simmons makes a wide open layup, throwing the crowd into a frenzy. Marco Belinelli comes off a screen to hit an off-balance jumper, and the roar gets louder. Markelle Fultz hits an eight-foot jumper, and you can imagine the reaction. Kemba Walker, the new Hornets leader for points scored in franchise history, makes a shot, and you can hear some claps spread throughout the arena.

Malik Monk, the first round draft pick for Charlotte, hits several tough threes and the crowd murmurs. Sounds a lot like a home game for the 76ers doesn't it? Yeah, disappointing doesn't even begin to describe it.

Population

Charlotte is nowhere close to Philadelphia. It's 537 miles away. Yet, the few Hornets faithful were surrounded by Philly fans. A "Let's go Sixers!" chant broke out on at least three different occasions. It was louder than any chant for the Hornets, for the record. When the 76ers went on a 4th quarter run to push the lead to 20, the crowd went nuts. I sat in my section in my home arena feeling embarrassed to cheer for my team.

As I mentioned before, I'd heard the rumors. They were aggravating to read about.

But as a fan, in the arena, during a Philadelphia takeover, it's different. Embarrassing doesn't do it justice. It's shameful and humiliating. The ESPN app says the arena was 89% full. That translates to about 17,000 people. I'd wager that 10,000 or more were Philly fans.

While it's one thing to be simply outdone by another fanbase, it's another to let them walk all over you. When Superhugo and his friends came out to do the trampoline dunks, the whole crowd, Hornets fans included went wild. And the T-shirt tosses? You can bet everyone was yelling. During the game, however, the Hornets fans were largely silent and that's the most shameful part of all.

Granted, the product on the court isn't amazing, and that does play into effect.

It's easier to be loud and proud when your team is throwing down sweet alley-oops and hitting off-balance and-one three-pointers en route to a 17 point victory. It's not so easy when your team can't buy a shot and your worst offensive starter is your highest scorer (Sorry, MKG). Hornets fans, you're getting a little bit of a break. The team isn't good, and that's a separate issue. But really, it doesn't matter. If you show up, be loud. And, please, don't let the opponents take over the whole arena. It's called a home game for a reason, folks. Have some pride.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!