Kemba Walker scores a slice of pizza against John Wall

#SportsChannelAte crunches the numbers behind the Hornets’ pizza madness



Our SportsChannelAte series is fueled by Blue Apron. Click for a $30 off deal.

Welcome to Part One of a special two-part SportsChannelAte post this week. Today’s topic will center on the Charlotte Hornets and their passion for helping create discounted pizza, while the second half will include as recipe for this weekend’s NFL playoff action. Stay tuned for that on Thursday morning.

The Rub

The Charlotte Hornets have lost five of their last last games, but at 20-19, sit in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets, for several seasons now, have had a promotion with Papa John’s: If they score 95 or more points in a game, you get 50 percent (half!) off all pizzas the following day — for locations in North Carolina. They used to include this deal for South Carolina location, too, but that appears to be off the table now. Heady move.

The Hornets have played in 39 games this season, and in 31 of those contests (79.5 percent), the team has eclipsed 95 points. Only one team — Detroit’s top 10 defense — has been able to hold Charlotte under 95 twice this season.

Now, the Hornets don’t exactly possess the league’s most potent offense. The Buzz currently rank 13th in the NBA in points per possession — 1.058 — and they won’t win too many track meets, either: Charlotte ranks 16th in the league in pace — 98.9 possessions per game. When not adjusting for pace (divert your eyes, Virginia fans), Charlotte lands at No. 15 in the NBA in points per game: 105.5.

Kemba, making up for lost time

But thankfully for you, pizza lovers of the Carolinas, Kemba Walker is a generous point god, who wants you to enjoy as much melted cheesy goodness as humanly possible. Walker is averaging a career best 23.1 points per game, which ranks 17th in the NBA. He is also ripping the nets from beyond the arc, too: 42.1 percent from downtown (14th in the NBA), including a sizzling 47 percent on catch and shoot three-pointers, which is v good.

Kemba wants you and your loved ones to spend more time together, gathered around a Slick Rick-approved food item. The least you guys could do is go vote for him in the damn All-Star game — which, of course, was originally supposed to be in Charlotte. (Thanks, Pat! Godspeed on updating the resume and LinkedIn, you incompetent boob.)

Hypothetically, let’s say when you and your family or crew or boys or book club — which we all know is an excuse to get wine drunk on a Tuesday — order some pizza that you get two large one-topping pizza. According to, this type of order would typically run you a combined $31.20 — not including tip, obviously.

If Marco Bellineli ran off a barrage of pindown screens the night before and splashed a bunch of three-balls, then you can essentially get that second pizza for the price of on the house. (Bellineli NOT mentioned just because he’s Italian, by the way. He’s been an incredible leader of Charlotte’s bench mob this season.)

Let’s say if the Hornets continued to eclipse the 95-point mark at this ~ 80 percent rate for an entire season (82 games). It means the Buzz will unlock pizza on the low low around 66 times. Imagine the savings! We’re talking hundreds of dollars.

Overall, the NBA is experiencing a scoring boom, too, which means these type of team-specific deals are lighting up all over the league.

Even these guys want a pizza of it

One of the great parts of this promotion is the presentation from Charlotte’s broadcast crew. Eric Collins, Stephanie Ready and Dell Curry are already one of the better local market TV crew in the entire 30-team NBA. I watch and ungodly amount of basketball, and homeism aside, these three mix knowledge with insight and the right amount of self-depreciation. This is only their second year as a three-person booth, but the chemistry is obvious. And when the Hornets approach that 95-point mark, a billboard will pop up at the bottom of the screen, near the scores, and without fail, one of these three will make mention of the deal at hand.

Dell is all about having some discounted pizza while watching the Panthers on Sundays. I know these things because I have problems, man.

Not to mention: Charlotte’s excellent social media team gets on in the celebration, too.

Stay Tuned

Make sure to check back on SportsChannel8 tomorrow for Part Two of this week’s #SportsChannelAte series. Bri Fieri will be in the house. You’ve been warned.

And if you’re as hungry as I am now, be sure to check out Blue Apron, where you can get $30 off your first order of meals!