Hornets to give back to city through service projects

Updated: March 27, 2007, 11:45 PM ET
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Hornets owner George Shinn announced plans Tuesday for a series of community service projects aimed at leaving a legacy in Oklahoma City once the team returns to New Orleans next season.

"The people here have been just wonderful, and we just want to do something before we leave to make a memorable impression," Shinn said.

The team will provide new beds and linens at the City Rescue Mission, donate $10,000 worth of books to the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County and renovate a basketball court at a city high school. Players will also help rebuild a city park.

Plans also include a prom dress giveaway by Shinn's wife, Denise, to local high school girls, a fundraising gala and a donation to start a new program at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

"My command to my people is let's just get involved, find where the needs are and let's try to fill those needs and help anywhere we can," Shinn said.

The Hornets, displaced by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, have played the majority of their home games in Oklahoma City the past two seasons but will return full time to New Orleans next season.

Half of the team's 36 games in Oklahoma City last season were sellouts, and Tuesday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks was the 10th at the Ford Center this season.

There were five more games scheduled in Oklahoma City after the Dallas game, with the Hornets still holding out hope for a late charge into the playoffs.

"It's just a 'thank you' is all it is, for all the wonderful support," Shinn said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press