The Charlotte Bobcats may soon change their name back to the Hornets if the New Orleans Hornets choose to change their name to something more fitting of Louisiana and if the NBA approves.
The Hornets’ first season was 1988/89. They were one of four expansion teams announced at the time, the others being in Miami, Orlando and Minneapolis. The Charlotte area had large fan bases of several major college basketball teams that had made the Final Four in recent years.
Initially, game attendance was high, but it began to wane in the late 1990s when owner George Shinn made a number of controversial personnel decisions. Also, a woman accused him of rape in 1997. Shinn also wanted a new arena at no cost to him, but city leaders refused to fund one unless he sold the team. The Hornets relocated to New Orleans after the 2001/02 season. The NBA approved the deal with the promise that Charlotte would get a new team, which ended up being the Bobcats. The NBA bought the Hornets in 2010 because Shinn could no longer support the team financially.
Tom Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints, bought the team in April, 2012. He also announced that he would like to change their name–preferably to something that better describes New Orleans. This fueled rumors that the Charlotte Bobcats would change their name to the Hornets. In December 2012, the Hornets announced they would change their name to the Pelicans pending NBA approval. Bobcats’ owner Michael Jordan has said publicly that he would consider bringing the name “Hornets” back to Charlotte if it became available. The NBA has to approve all name changes.
The name change idea has received popular support from fans. The NBA still sells Charlotte Hornets apparel. Changing the name would have an estimated cost of about $3 million.
The name has historical significance to Charlotte dating back to the Revolutionary War. The city was named after the Queen consort of the United Kingdom and wife of King George III, hence the nickname “Queen City.” British and American forces engaged in a number of small battles in the area, leading British general George Cornwallis to refer to the city as a “hornet’s nest” of rebellion. The name stuck with the city and the expansion team was name the Hornets.
What are your thoughts? Do you want the Bobcats to become the Hornets?