A side-by-side look at jerseys for the Charlotte Bobcats
(left) and Hornets. (Dan Lippitt & Andy Hayt / Getty Images & NBA E)
Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan announced Tuesday that the franchise has officially submitted paperwork to the NBA to change its name to the "Hornets" for the 2014-15 season.
"Let's bring the buzz back," Jordan said at a press conference, noting that "overwhelming" fan support for the switch influenced the organization's decision.
The franchise also launched BackBuzzCity.com to celebrate the re-branding and manage interest from fans interested in season tickets.
"The Charlotte Hornets name has been a mainstay throughout the region for many years, and we are excited to announce our intention to re-establish this historic brand," Jordan wrote in a letter to fans. "We believe that its return will galvanize our fan base by unifying our loyal Bobcats fans with those who have strong memories of our city's NBA predecessor."
Jordan also said that his organization will begin a "year-long process" to select the team's colors and design the team's logo and uniforms.
Multiple reports in the past week indicated plans were underway to bring the "Hornets" nickname back to Charlotte after the original Hornets relocated to New Orleans in 2002. The New Orleans Hornets unveiled a re-branding in January and took on the "Pelicans" moniker immediately following the conclusion of the 2012-13 regular season, freeing up the Hornets nickname.
The original Hornets joined the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1988 and spent 14 seasons in Charlotte before being moved to New Orleans by former owner George Shinn in 2002. Shinn opted to keep the nickname but eventually sold the franchise to the NBA in 2010. In April 2012, the league in turn sold the franchise to Tom Benson, who sought the Pelicans name change to better reflect the team's home.
“It was very important to me and our staff that we change the name of this club to something that represented New Orleans, Louisiana,” Benson said in a promotional video. “We worked on it. It wasn’t something that just came out of the blue, overnight. We worked on it for a long period of time. You just can’t have a better name for Louisiana and New Orleans than the Pelican. It’s the perfect representative.”
The Bobcats joined the NBA as an expansion franchise in 2004. Jordan purchased a majority stake in the Bobcats in 2010. Last June, the Bobcats released new jersey designs, removing the pinstripes and changing the team's moniker on its white home jersey from "Bobcats" to "Cats."
While Bobcats are indigenous to the Carolinas, the Charlotte Observer noted back in December that the "Charlotte Hornets" moniker drew its inspiration from the 1700s.
The Hornets nickname in Charlotte dates back to the Revolutionary War, when British General Charles Cornwallis compared the resistance in Charlotte to a hornet’s nest. It has been used in sports by a minor league baseball team (1901-73), an upstart football league team (1974-75) and the city’s first NBA franchise.
The Bobcats, who finished the 2012-13 season with the second-worst record in the league at 21-61, have finished with a winning record just once and have made just one playoff appearance during their nine-year franchise history. The Hornets finished with a winning record eight times and qualified for the playoffs seven times during their 14 seasons in Charlotte, advancing out of the first round on four occasions.