Charlotte Bobcats officially change name to Hornets, launch new website
The Charlotte Bobcats officially adopted the "Hornets" moniker on Tuesday, launching a new website and social media accounts to reflect the name change.
The organization's new website, Hornets.com, sports the team's new teal-and-purple color scheme and includes the tagline: "From the heart of our history comes the fierce soul of our future."
The name change was formally announced at a Tuesday press conference in advance of the 2014 NBA draft lottery drawing.
“Today is truly an historic day for our franchise, our city and our fans as we mark the official return of the Charlotte Hornets,” Hornets owner Michael Jordan said. “Thanks to our fans who were the driving force behind the Hornets name returning. We are thrilled to be able to bring the Hornets name back to the Carolinas.”
The "Bobcats" name was used by the franchise for 10 seasons after joining the NBA as an expansion team in 2004. The organization's re-branding effort, which was first announced last year, brings back the moniker used by the Charlotte Hornets, who joined the NBA in 1988 and later relocated to New Orleans.
As part of the name change process, the Hornets will reclaim the history, records and statistics of the original Hornets: all original Hornets players will now be considered alumni of the current Hornets, opening up opportunities for the franchise to recognize and honor the earlier era of Charlotte basketball.
"Today we complete a task that has never been accomplished before, bringing a name back to its original market," Hornets CEO Fred Whitfield said. "It's a name that provokes a tremendous amount of pride. The Hornets name has been a part of our community for over 200 years."
Back in December, The Hornets unveiled new logos and announced the return of the popular mascot, "Hugo the Hornet."
Jordan, who purchased a majority stake in the team in 2010, announced in May 2013 that his franchise would re-brand from the Bobcats to the Hornets shortly after the New Orleans Hornets relinquished the nickname by becoming the "Pelicans" for the 2013-14 season.
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 sold the franchise to Tom Benson, who sought the Pelicans name change to better reflect the team’s home.
While Bobcats are indigenous to the Carolinas, the Charlotte Observer noted last 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 decision to return to the Hornets' original moniker and color scheme came about following an extensive public opinion survey. A team press release confirmed that the survey results were in line with conventional wisdom: that the Hornets' colors, which were among the most popular and recognizable across the country during the early-1990s, still had staying power. The Charlotte Observer reported recently that the franchise has seen a rise in season-ticket sales in anticipation of the return of the Hornets name.
The transition from Bobcats to Hornets will include new uniforms, a new dance team and a new court surface. The new uniforms will be unveiled on June 19.