The grand experiment — or something like that — that was the Charlotte Bobcats is just about officially at an end. According to Sports Business Daily, the franchise is set to be renamed the Hornets now that the team in New Orleans is changing its name to the Pelicans.
The Bobcats will hold a press conference tomorrow at 6:00pm ET at Time Warner Cable Arena, a source said. It is expected that Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan will announce that the team will change its name to the Hornets, likely for the ’14-15 season. Bobcats officials declined to comment. The Bobcats have been studying for months whether to adopt Charlotte’s original NBA franchise name, which became available after Saints Owner Tom Benson bought the then-New Orleans Hornets in ’12 and this year changed its name to the Pelicans. The Hornets played in Charlotte from ’88-’02 before relocating to New Orleans.
Neither franchises have enjoyed very much success since the Hornets moved and the NBA expanded to add the Bobcats in Charlotte in 2004. The New Orleans fan base never warmed up to the team, despite the presence of the now-departed Chris Paul, and the Bobcats simply never won many games.
The Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana and the total re-branding is expected to really create a familiarity between the team and its fans.
Charlotte fans have been yearning for a return to the glory days when guys like Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and 5-foot-3 point guard Muggsy Bogues elevated the franchise to one of the most popular in the NBA.
While, of course, those guys won’t be coming back, their ballin’ teal-blue jerseys will be. Just for fun, here’s a highlight video of Muggsy doing what he did best. In it, he actually plays for two teams that did not exist in 2013: Both the Hornets (in Charlotte, of course) and the Washington Bullets in his rookie year. For those wondering, Bogues was selected by the original Hornets in the 1988 expansion draft.
Video courtesy The NBA History