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July 18, 2013

It's official -- Bobcats will become the Hornets

By Rick Bonnell


    LAS VEGAS – Eleven years after Charlotte’s original NBA team moved to New Orleans, the Queen City got back its Hornets.

            By a unanimous vote of the league’s owners at a Las Vegas resort, the Bobcats were granted permission Thursday to change their nickname to the Hornets. That change will take effect after the 2013-14 season, allowing enough lead time to switch uniforms, logos and signage in and around Time
Warner Cable Arena.

            The Hornets moved in 2002 after owner George Shinn and city council failed to work out a deal to replace the Charlotte Coliseum. The NBA quickly replaced the Hornets in Charlotte with
an expansion team with new owner Bob Johnson called the Bobcats.

            That name wasn’t well received by Charlotteans, some of whom saw “Bobcats’’ as a show of vanity by Johnson, the billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television. Johnson ended up selling majority control of the team to Michael Jordan in March 2010.

            Former NBA superstar Jordan frequently said his goal was to recreate the atmosphere he remembered playing against the Hornets as far back as the team’s debut season in 1988. The Hornets sold out the 24,000-plus seat Coliseum for nearly nine seasons, regularly leading the NBA in attendance.

            The Hornets had a distinctive purple-and-teal color scheme, with pinstriped and pleated uniforms courtesy of North Carolina-based clothing designer Alexander Julian.

            The Hornets name became available when that team was sold to Tom Benson, owner of the NFL New Orleans Saints. Benson told the NBA even before completing the purchase that he wanted to change the team’s name to something more Louisiana-oriented. The pelican is the state bird.

            Once the NBA approved the Pelicans name, Jordan formally requested the Hornets name in May, in time to complete the transition by the start of the 2014-15 season.


Posted by Observer Sports on July 18, 2013 at 08:47 PM | Permalink


Still cannot understand why it can't be done by October of this year?? How long does it take to change a logo, signs..whatever.

Posted by: eduardo | Jul 18, 2013 8:50:57 PM

Its called a dramatic pause. It is going to build into a frenzy. Had to be 15,000 people going crazy in uptown tonight. Go Hornets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jim | Jul 18, 2013 9:03:57 PM

Can we bring back LJ, Zo, Muggsy, Curry?

Posted by: Brandon | Jul 18, 2013 9:09:48 PM

Hey baby, we back. With Cody playing well we have good things coming. Go Hornets!!!!!!!!!! Go Charlotte

Posted by: Yeahboi@gmail.com | Jul 18, 2013 9:40:51 PM

grown up issues right?

Posted by: charlottean | Jul 18, 2013 10:15:36 PM

why is the summer league game coming on at 4am on NBATV,,,Horncats beat Memphis.,but TAPE DELAY

Posted by: JC | Jul 18, 2013 10:43:39 PM

Eduardo, no intent to disrespect, but you clearly have no knowledge of copyrights, prior legal agreements on branding, and all the legal issues that arise from rebranding a product. You don't rebrand a Nation-wide product in 6 months, its virtually impossible. And to make matters more difficult, up-until last June 30th, from a legal perspective, the Hornets name still belonged to New Orleans.

Also, the Hornets/Bobcats belonged in a league that has policies, process and an inevitable burocracy that it necessary based on the nature and impact of the overall business. I used to work for a Telecomm company that had to go through a rebranding, and although I was working on the financial aspects of it (not the marketing and PR), I could easily see all the complexity of the process. This is not an easy task at all, I am actually impressed that the NBA can indeed do this in 12-18 months, that is pretty quick by any standard, for a product this big.

The NBA and any team in the league (by default) not only have a direct nationwide impact, but it also has an international impact (more indirect in this case of the Bobcats/Hornets). If this were the Rockets, for example, with all their exposure in China and Asia, it would take like 2-3 years to make something like this happen.

Posted by: RobC | Jul 19, 2013 11:12:06 AM

^^^ let's not forget to give the "pelican" brand a year to establish itself in new orleans so that the entire league isn't confused on where the hornets play. as it stands, it's common to make the mistake "charlotte hornets" when referring to EITHER new orleans OR the charlotte bobcats.

changing both names at the same time, would make it even worse.

Posted by: charlottean | Jul 19, 2013 11:32:32 AM

Great for the City. Great for the team. Welcome back Hornets!

Posted by: Season Ticket Holder 2 | Jul 19, 2013 9:56:10 PM

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