The Charlotte Bobcats and owner Michael Jordan held a press conference on Tuesday announcing that the NBA’s youngest (and least successful) franchise will become the Charlotte Hornets.
Charlotte was, of course, home to a team called the Hornets from 1988 through 2002, when the team moved to New Orleans. When the New Orleans team decided to change its name to the Pelicans starting with the 2013-14 season, “Hornets” became available again.
NBA deputy commissioner and commissioner-to-be Adam Silver has said that such a name change could take 18 months (though it didn’t seem to take the Pelicans that long), so Charlotte’s pro basketball team may have to spend another season as the Bobcats before donning the teal and purple for the 2014-15 season.
If you judge a team’s popularity by the sales of caps, Starter jackets, and jerseys, the Charlotte Hornets were one of the most popular NBA teams of the 1990s. This, despite playing in a small market and never advancing to the conference finals. But they did have Grandmama, Zo and a color scheme unlike any other in major pro sports.
A name change alone won’t alter the fortunes of a team one year removed from the worst season in NBA history, but it’s a start. Here’s hoping that the new Hornets bring back Hugo, and maybe give Kendall Gill or Muggsy Bogues a front office job.