May 20 2014, 8:24pm CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
The Charlotte Hornets are officially back in the NBA.
"After 12 years, the Charlotte Hornets name has officially returned to the Carolinas. Today the name of Charlotte's original NBA franchise is back as the Charlotte Bobcats have officially re-branded as the Charlotte Hornets.
"'Today is truly an historic day for our franchise, our city and our fans as we mark the offiical return of the Charlotte Hornets,' said Hornets Sports & Entertainment chairman Michael Jordan. '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.'
"In addition, the team announced that after collaborating with the NBA and the New Orleans Pelicans, all of the statistical information, records and history of Charlotte NBA basketball will also be returning to the franchise.
"The Hornets will now own and have access to all of the historical elements from not only the Bobcats era (2004-2014) but also the original Hornets era in Charlotte (1988-2002). The Pelicans will maintain the history and statistics beginning with the team's first season in New Orleans (2002-03).
"The team's official website has undergone the first phase of its re-designed look and can now be found at hornets.com. In addition, fans can follow the Hornets across the team's official social media platforms:
"The Hornets was the name of the city's first NBA franchise from 1988-2002. The NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004 as the Bobcats and played under that name from 2004-2014.
"On May 21, 2013, Jordan announced that the organization had applied to change its name to the Charlotte Hornets, a move that was approved unanimously by the NBA Board of Governors on July 18, 2013."
Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer notes fans have embraced the return of the Hornets as evidenced by an increase in season-ticket sales.
"On Tuesday the Hornets became the Hornets. The new name won't make the team better, but the $17 million the Hornets have to spend on draft choices and free agents ought to.
"The name change will make them more interesting.
"'It's surreal,' says Fred Whitfield. When the Hornets played their first game at Charlotte Coliseum in 1988, Whitfield was a season-ticket holder. Now he's the team's president and COO.
"Whitfield says the Bobcats have sold 2,000 more season tickets this off-season than last off-season, and their season-ticket renewal rate is 90 percent.
"'It's a completely different feeling when you talk about professional basketball in Charlotte,' he says.
"About 200 fans came to the arena Tuesday for the name-change news conference and joined Hornets' employees in sections 101 and 117.
"They'll have other opportunities.
"On June 5, Hugo the Hornet returns. It won't be the original Hugo from 1988, because 1988 was 26 years ago. The original Hugo is doing somersaults, not flips, and sometimes he needs a push.
"The new uniforms will be unveiled June 19. The primary colors will be the old Hornets colors, purple and teal, the secondary colors black, gray and light blue. No pleats, please.
"Fans will see the new court June 26, the evening of the NBA draft.
"The Hornets will play their first summer league game July 11 in Las Vegas."
Whitfield also told The Associated Press (via ESPN) the buzz is definitely back in Charlotte.
"For me, this day is almost surreal because I was a Hornets season-ticket holder. I know what it felt like in the old Hive and the energy and excitement that happened to be there.
"Michael talks fondly about the days he came in and played against the Hornets and what a challenge it was not only to battle a good team but also the fans."
The Hornets were originally supposed to be named the Charlotte Spirit for their 1988 expansion year, but the nickhame "Hornets" prevailed due to local fans objecting, per SportsEcylopedia.com, which quoted British general Cornwalls during the revolutionary war:
The quote reads,"During the revolutionary war, British general Cornwalls remarked about the resistance met in North Carolina, 'There's a rebel behind every bush, it's a veritable nest of hornets.'"
The same update states the team's worst season was in 1989-90 when it won just 19 games. In contrast, its best season came in seven years later when it had a 54-28 win-loss record.
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Source: Charlotte Business Journal
Source: Sacramento Bee
Source: Bleacher Report
Source: Triangle Business Journal
Source: CBS Charlotte
Source: Sacramento Bee
Source: Bleacher Report
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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