Our Sports staffers jump into the heated debate about whether the Charlotte Bobcats’ brass should try to reclaim the name Hornets if the New Orleans franchise decides to get rid of it.
Reclaiming Hornets name would be one right move for Jordan
by Andrew Stark
If, as expected, the New Orleans Hornets opt to change names and drop the Hornets moniker, the Charlotte Bobcats should absolutely, unequivocally jump at the chance to become the Charlotte Hornets once again.
Don’t get me wrong, it won’t change the product on the court. The Bobcats are worse than terrible. Even if they get the top pick in June’s NBA draft and select Kentucky big man Anthony Davis, they’ll still be, at best, just plain terrible.
Bringing the Hornets name back won’t change the dreadful product on the floor, but it would create a buzz (no pun intended).
If you were in Charlotte when the Hornets first got to town in the 1988-89 season, you know what those teams meant to all of us. Every seat was filled every night in the beginning. Yes, times are different now, and the Bobcats literally could not give away tickets last year. But at least people would be talking about this team, and not because they set the all-time mark for futility this year.
Charlotte Hornets. It has a familiar ring to it. No matter what the dollar amount comes to in order to get the Hornets’ name back, the Bobcats’ ownership has to do it.
Look at what a re-brand did for the Brooklyn Nets. Nobody outside the Garden State cared about the New Jersey Nets before. But since unveiling a new color scheme and logo, the Nets’ merchandise sales were first in the NBA at NBAStore.com and at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Traffic on the team website increased by 1700 percent in early May, according to NBA.com.
The Hornets could do much of the same. Bring back the teal and purple jerseys, the buzz meter to measure crowd noise, Hugo and Super Hugo. Bring it all back and be done with the Bobcats, their horrible uniforms and their losing ways.
Team owner Michael Jordan has made some awful decisions while in a position of authority. Drafting Kwame Brown first overall when Jordan was with Washington was not good. Drafting Adam Morrison as a Bobcat was worse.
To reacquire the Hornets name would be the best move Jordan has made since pushing off on Bryon Russell to free himself for the winning shot and sixth NBA title in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals.
Jordan should take the advice of the brand he helped make famous: Just do it. Bring back the Hornets.
Keep the Bobcats name, for better or for worse
by Aaron Garcia
The name Hornets conjures good memories. I get that. But taking this product and slapping a teal sticker on it isn’t going to suddenly get you to care – not the way you did when Charlotte’s NBA presence still had its sheen. It might give you that comforting warmth of something familiar, but only until the team is out of the playoff hunt by December.
I say keep the name despite the fact that it’s dumb and stands as a reminder of the team’s awful beginnings. There is rich history being built here. With literally nowhere else for this franchise to go but up, this woeful stretch of seasons will be an impressive footnote. Besides, the truest fandom usually comes with a few scars. How much sweeter was the 2003 Super Bowl run for Panther fans who suffered through the 1-15 season two years earlier? What if the Red Sox had changed their name 50 years into their title drought? Would the 2004 World Series have been as rewarding for their fans?
The team’s name isn’t the problem. You could name the team the Pack of Blue Heel Deacons and hire Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning as mascots, and it wouldn’t outweigh the record-setting lack of wins. Michael Jordan, the single greatest icon of North Carolina’s basketball pedigree, can’t even get his team on a major network. Would that change if they were losing under the name “Hornets”?
Let’s consider the worst-case scenario: The happy memories of your former Hornets are replaced with the reality that your current Hornets are among the worst teams in NBA history. I wonder if Cleveland Browns fans feel better about their expansion team’s lack of success simply because it took a beloved name?
If you’re looking for an homage to the past, I think the pinstripes on the current Bobcats jerseys are perfect. For me, even going with “Cougars” would be better; it’s more symbolic than the too-tangible Hornets, who many people actually remember. Taking back “Hornets” feels a little desperate, kind of like reaching for an old ex’s number after a breakup.
With a potential top overall draft pick, a notoriously competitive owner with a point to prove and (finally) some money to throw around at free agents, the best-case scenario might not be too much of a long shot.
And if that happens, even if the jerseys read “Bobcats,” Charlotte will care.
Like many area NBA fans, I’m indifferent about Bobcats, Hornets
I was out of town on my four-week vacation in Rio de Janeiro when they held the ticker-tape parade down Tryon Street to celebrate the Charlotte Hornets’ first NBA title.
And I think I was down at the Alfa Romeo dealership picking out the paint scheme for my new ride when Larry “Grandma-ma” Johnson and Muggsy Bogues were being feted at the ESPYs after winning the Pro Team of the Year award.
Oh, that’s right!
None of those things happened.
OK, I can admit those shots were a little unfair – just having a little fun with the growing faction of fans hell-bent on replacing the Charlotte Bobcats’ name with that of the city’s first NBA team, the Hornets.
In reality, I’m neither for nor against the Charlotte NBA franchise changing its name to the Hornets.
I just don’t get the push for it. Can’t understand it.
If fans are so sickened by a team named after loathed former owner Bob Johnson, then why in the world would they want to reclaim the name of the team run by another loathed former owner, George Shinn? You know – the guy who brought all the Court TV drama to Charlotte before Rae Carruth and then hurtled the Hornets to New Orleans a decade ago?
It’s amazing how perspectives change. One day, nearly the entire adult portion of the city is telling the Charlotte Hornets and their owner to get outta dodge, and years after getting a second shot at an NBA existence, the assertion is that the old name will inject new life into a franchise that’s just 8 years old.
But if fans believe giving the new team the old name will do something, anything, to bring some pro sports cohesion and excitement to this town during the winter, then I’m fine with doing it. I’m not going to rally against it, and I wouldn’t try to conduct a personal boycott by refusing to buy the newest Charlotte Hornets paraphernalia for my 10-year-old son.
The only concern is that I’d buy the new Hornets gear, take him to Time Warner Cable Arena, and we’d be watching a sub-par Charlotte team as we sat among 8,000 apathetic spectators.
Clearly a lot needs to be fixed with this team, and I’m not sure the name Hornets is going to be the impetus for improvement.
But my ultimate take on it is this: (Sigh) I guess it couldn’t hurt.