After nine years of misery, failure and heartbreak, the Charlotte Bobcats intend to change their nickname to the Hornets.
Michael Jordan, team owner and one of the greatest winners in NBA history, made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday evening.
The switch won’t happen immediately, with Jordan revealing the franchise won’t be officially known as the Charlotte Hornets until the 2014-15 season, according to the timeline NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver outlines (via USAToday.com).
Rumbling for this change began back in January, when Charlotte conducted a Harris Interactive poll (via ESPN) to gauge local interest in reverting to the Hornets. The results were never released, but seem evident based on the pending transformation.
With the league remaining in control of the Hornets name (per ESPN), this process was easy for Jordan to start and should be easy to follow through with.
The name swap was an obvious one, as the Hornets played in Charlotte from 1988 through 2002, when the team uprooted and moved to New Orleans under then-owner George Shinn.
Tom Benson purchased the New Orleans Hornets from the league in 2012, and he immediately decided to change the franchise’s moniker to something more local. He eventually settled on the Pelicans—as the team is now officially known.
Benson even admitted that the Hornets belonged to Charlotte.
“The Hornets name came from Charlotte. That fits in with Charlotte. It doesn’t fit into New Orleans, La., or our area here. The Hornets don’t mean anything here,” Benson said.
For most of the original Charlotte Hornets' existence, they were one of the more popular franchises in the league and sold out the majority of their games.
Players like Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice and Muggsy Bogues helped the organization make seven playoff runs in its 14 years of existence, but the Hornets never were able to get past the conference semifinals.
It seems they’ll get another crack at that when this young squad, led by recent lottery picks Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, finally rebrands and can shed the failures of the Bobcats.
The current Charlotte franchise has an overall record of 250-472 during the regular season and 0-4 in the playoffs. The Bobcats put together arguably the worst campaign in NBA history when the 2011-12 squad went just 7-59, a .106 winning percentage.
The team has employed six head coaches and is actively searching for its seventh. Larry Brown is responsible for the lone winning season.
Hopefully for Charlotte basketball fans, that dismal reign ends when the Hornets return to town and give this downtrodden franchise some much-needed hope.