Twenty years ago, Charlotte beckoned as both a sports mecca and an enviable place to live for a tide of ‘Yankees and others’ (including a particular sports writer) and this‘Buckle on the Bible Belt’ city grew from a medium-sized town on the North-South Carolina border into a major financial center and can-do place for international business.

When the Panthers second NFL season ended with 30-13 loss to Green Bay in the NFC title game, many felt it was only a harbinger of great things to come, that thePSLs (Personal Seating License) that financedthe stadium would become valuable investments and desirable family inheritances—but there were disappointments to come.

That the Hornets left for New Orleans in 2002, and Charlotte suffered without a team for three years-- and then with the Bobcats moniker and sub-par play until 2013 -- are parts of situations many wouldn’t have imagined. Credit owner and NBA great Michael Jordan for paying $4 million to regain the franchise name and a renewed community pride.

Charlotte sports are rolling again, and the sports section of Blasting News USwill supply a full view.

There are sports galore in Charlotte: The Carolina Panthers Football season, with star QB Cam Newton, has already begun, and Charlotte Hornets Basketball has acquired the personnel capable of arising from recent depths. The Triple A baseball Knights drew record crowds in their superb new downtown stadiumlast year — almost 688,000.

There is also a beloved (Checkers) American Hockey League hockey team (one step from NHL); a unique (501(c)3 non-profit) but well-regarded Charlotte Eagles men’s and women’s soccer organization; the Carolina Cobras (arena football), and of course, NASCAR, all of which makes for a satisfying mix.

College sports programs are significant regionally, because many Carolinians trace their loyalties to Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) schools in Chapel Hill, to the Wolfpack of NC State, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson (don’t forget South Carolina); it’s a cauldron of sports worth covering.

League MVP Steph Curryof the NBA champion Golden State Warriors thrilling Charlotte and the country while driving local entry, Davidson, within a missed last second shot of the NCAA Final Four, happened not long ago, and UNC-Charlotte’s football program entering its third year of existence is a point of considerable local pride.

That high school sports are still revered is amazing, but since the first professional team (Hornets) didn’t arrive until 1988, deep feelings for youth programs area part of the Carolinas mentality —Friday Night Lights isn’t a TV show in Charlotte, it’s a happening.

Additional information about Panthers pre-season football, and Knights baseball to come.

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