The Charlotte Hornets (formerly the Charlotte Bobcats) are an American professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team is part of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Hornets were originally established in 1988 as an expansion team. In 2002, the first incarnation of the franchise relocated to New Orleans and became the New Orleans Hornets. A new expansion team (originally named as the Charlotte Bobcats) began play in 2004. The Hornets play their home games at Time Warner Cable Arena in uptown Charlotte.
The Bobcats are currently for sale by majority owner Robert Johnson. Johnson paid $300 million for the franchise in 2003. However, Forbes currently estimates the team's value at $284 million. Michael Jordan, a minority owner and head of basketball operations, has shown interest in putting together a group to purchase majority control in the team.
In May 2013, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan announced the team's intention to change its name to Charlotte Hornets. This was possible because the New Orleans franchise changed its name to the New Orleans Pelicans in January 2013. In July 2013 the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the team name change which will take place after the 2013-14 NBA season.
Creating the Bobcats
When the Hornets relocated to New Orleans for the 2002–03 season, the NBA promised Charlotte leaders that the city would be granted an NBA expansion team for the 2004–05 season. Several ownership groups, including one led by former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, made bids for the team. On December 17, 2002, a group led by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson was awarded the franchise, becoming one of the first prominent African American owners in U.S. professional sports. On June 15, 2006 it was announced that NBA legend and North Carolina native Michael Jordan would become the second largest shareholder in the Bobcats and become the owner in 2008. As part of the deal, Jordan became head of basketball operations. Another notable co-owner is the rapper Nelly.
In June 2003, the new team was named the Bobcats. Bobcats, along with Charlotte Flight and Charlotte Dragons were the top three choices as voted by fans. The Charlotte Regional Sports Commission aided with the "Help Name The Team" effort that drew over 1,250 suggestions. The bobcat, an expert at survival according to the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, is athletic, fierce and an indigenous predator to the Carolinas. Charlotte, already being home to the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, made the cat-related name a natural choice for the area's new basketball team.
Despite failed attempts at the ballot box to fully fund a new uptown arena, city politicians decided to go ahead with plans and implemented a hotel and leisure tax in Charlotte to help pay for it. George Shinn, owner of the Hornets, also wanted the city to pay for a new arena, and subsequently left town for New Orleans when it failed to do so.
2004–2006: Beginnings of a franchise
The Bobcats held their expansion draft on June 22, 2004, picking up such seasoned players as Predrag Drobnjak and talented youngsters such as Sacramento Kings forward Gerald Wallace. They also traded with the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire the second pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, which they used to select Emeka Okafor, a center from Connecticut. Okafor went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2005.
The Bobcats first game of the 2004–05 season took place on November 4 and was a 103–96 loss to the Washington Wizards. Two days later they won their first game in franchise history over the Orlando Magic, 111–100. On December 14, the Bobcats really gave their fans something to roar about, beating the New Orleans Hornets 94–93 in overtime in the team's first trip to Charlotte after the move. The Bobcats would go on to post an 18–64 record finishing in 4th place in their division. In the 2005 NBA Draft, the Bobcats drafted two North Carolina players: Raymond Felton and Sean May. With these two players, in addition to Okafor, the Bobcats hoped to build a young, solid foundation for future success. The 2005–06 season saw the Bobcats finish with a record of 26–56, a slight improvement over the previous year. Adam Morrison, from Gonzaga, was selected with the third pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. The Bobcats again improved on their record from the previous two seasons, finishing the 2006–07 season with a 33–49 record.
On March 13, 2007, Jordan announced that head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who had guided the team for its first three seasons, would not return to coach the 2007–08 season. Jordan stated that Bickerstaff would finish the rest of the current season and that he remained an integral part of the organization. Candidates interviewing for the head coaching position included Stan Van Gundy, Paul Silas, Herb Williams, and Mike Fratello. Two months later the team announced that Sam Vincent, a former assistant with the Dallas Mavericks, would be the second coach in franchise history.
2007: A year to forget
The front office was a key issue for the Bobcats during the 2007 offseason. Rod Higgins was hired as general manager, assuming the same role he filled with the Golden State Warriors. Phil Ford was added to the coaching staff over the summer, and another position was filled when Buzz Peterson was hired from Coastal Carolina University, where he served as head basketball coach, to become director of player personnel.
Brandan Wright was selected with the eighth pick by the Bobcats in the 2007 NBA Draft. He was subsequently traded to Golden State in a deal that included Jason Richardson being sent to Charlotte. Gerald Wallace, the team's leading scorer for the 2006–07 season, was resigned to a reported six-year contract. Unfortunately, the Bobcats were unable to capitalize on offseason moves, finishing the 2007–08 season with a disappointing 32–50 record. The team, which felt confident the season would end with its first playoff berth, struggled amid rumors of players clashing with the coach. Only lasting a year, in which he struggled with personnel decisions, Sam Vincent was fired as head coach on April 26, 2008.
2008–present: The Larry Brown era
On April 29, 2008 the Bobcats reached an agreement to hire Larry Brown as the third head coach in franchise history. Brown, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, had over twenty years of experience coaching teams in college, the American Basketball Association and NBA.
The 2008 NBA Draft saw the Bobcats select D. J. Augustin from Texas with the ninth selection in the first round. During the offseason an agreement with the team's first ever draft pick, Emeka Okafor, was reached on a six-year $72 million dollar contract extension. On December 10, 2008, the team traded Jason Richardson to the Phoenix Suns along with Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round draft pick for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary. Adam Morrison, who had struggled in Charlotte and fallen out of favor with Brown, was involved in a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers for forward Vladimir Radmanović on February 7, 2009. The Bobcats came very close to reaching the franchise's first playoff berth during the 2008–09 season, but finished just four games out of eighth place with a team record 35 wins. Members of the team voiced their frustration at management for hosting the Charlotte Jumper Classic, a horse event, at the end of the season. The scheduling conflict forced the Bobcats to play their final four games on the road, virtually ending any playoff hopes.
Return of the Hornets
On May 21, 2012, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan officially announced the organization had submitted in an application for a team name change pending an unanimous decision by the NBA Board of Governors. The Hornets naming rights previously had belong to the New Orleans franchise who had previously changed their name to the Pelicans in which the League bought out the rights to name. On July 18, 2013 NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the process would take 18 months for name change but the fact that the league ownend the rights to the name would help speed up the process. That same day the Board of Governors unanimously approved the name change wich will take place after the 2013-14 NBA season. November 22 Jordan announced the team would adopt the Hornets original colors of Teal and Purple. During a December 21, 2013 game at halftime the team held a ceremony with former original Hornets players Muggsy Bogues & Rex Chapman unveiling the new Hornets logo.
|Charlotte Bobcats head coaches|
Franchise records, awards and honors
Gerald Wallace is the first Charlotte Bobcat to become an All-Star.
Logos and arenas
The alternate logo features an orange bobcat head on a blue and silver basketball. It was changed in 2008 and features the face of the orange and blue bobcat head with part of a silver basketball on the right corner. This is currently the center court logo at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Since their creation, home jerseys have been white reading "Bobcats" in orange with blue and black trimming. The primary away jersey is orange reading "Charlotte" in white with blue and black trimming. In the 2006 offseason, the Bobcats announced a new alternate away jersey which debuted during the 2006–07 season. The alternate jersey is blue and read reads "Bobcats" in white on a with black, orange and white trimming. Racing Day blue alternates used to honor Charlotte's NASCAR fanbase.
For the 2009-10 season, the Bobcats redesigned their uniforms. It will be a mix of the old Charlotte Hornets and the Bobcats colors. Home uniform is white and features the arched "Bobcats" in blue with orange and white trim. Road uniform is blue and features the arched "Charlotte" in white with blue and orange trim. Both designs feature silver pinstripes, similar to what the Hornets have worn for most of their existence. The NASCAR alternates were also updated to include the pinstripes.
The Charlotte Bobcats first played their games at the Charlotte Coliseum as a new replacement, Charlotte Bobcats Arena, was being built. The city closed the Coliseum in the offseason of 2005, and opened the new arena with a Rolling Stones concert shortly before the new 2005–06 season.
- Charlotte Coliseum (2004–2005)*Time Warner Cable Arena (2005–present, known as Charlotte Bobcats Arena 2005–08)
In April 2008, the Bobcats reached a naming rights deal with Time Warner Cable, the Charlotte area's largest cable television provider. In exchange for the naming rights, Time Warner agreed to tear up the cable television deal that had limited the Bobcats' exposure over the team's first four years.
For the Bobcats' first season, Johnson partnered with Time Warner to create Carolinas Sports Entertainment Television (C-SET), a regional sports network. It aired 60 Bobcats games that also shown on Comporium Cable in the South Carolina portion of the Charlotte market. However, Time Warner placed C-SET on its digital package as an incentive to try to get customers to switch to its digital service, leaving analog customers in the dark. It also refused to allow DirecTV or Dish Network to pick up the network on their local feeds. As a result, most of the western Carolinas and those without digital cable were left to rely on radio coverage.
C-SET folded on the day of the 2005 NBA Draft, and most games then moved to News 14 Carolina, a cable news channel available on Time Warner Cable's systems in Charlotte, the Triad and The Research Triangle. However, this left viewers in most of South Carolina (except for the South Carolina side of the Charlotte area, which saw games on Comporium) as well as eastern and western North Carolina, out in the cold. News 14 was also not available on satellite.
As part of the Time Warner Cable Arena deal, the Bobcats signed over broadcasting rights to Fox Sports South. The last five games of the 2007–08 season, and 70 games during the 2008–09 season, will be shown on Fox Sports South and sister network SportSouth in North and South Carolina. The deal is believed to be the first simultaneous naming rights/broadcast rights deal in the history of North American professional sports. Games now air on the new channel Fox Sports Carolinas but only in North Carolina. Restrictions still prohibit games from airing in South Carolina.
Select games also air on a network of over-the-air stations across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, fronted by WMYT-TV in Charlotte.
The flagship station for radio coverage is WFNZ, a station based in Charlotte whose frequency is 610 AM. WFNZ is Charlotte's sports radio station and also broadcasts UNC Basketball, NC State basketball, and Charlotte Knights baseball. This replaced WOLS for the 2009-2010 season. WOLS switched its non-sports programming from Oldies to Spanish language on January 1, 2009, making Bobcats and Duke basketball the station's only non-Spanish language programming.
- ↑ Mary Foster (May 10, 2002). "Owners approve Hornet's move to New Orleans". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nba/hornets/2002-05-10-owners-relocation.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "NBA D-League Announces Affiliates For 2009-10 Season". NBA D-League. June 29, 2009. http://www.nba.com/dleague/news/affiliates_090629.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Mike Cranston (January 3, 2007). "WNBA Franchise Charlotte Sting Folds". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/03/AR2007010301203.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Associated Press (May 23, 2009). "Jordan tipped as possible buyer". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4200269. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Associated Press (June 25, 2009). "Jordan interested in Bobcats". SI. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/basketball/nba/06/25/jordan.bobcats.ap/index.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Associated Press (May 23, 2002). "Bird, Carr thinking pro hoops in Charlotte?". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nba/stories/2002-05-20-bird-carr-charlotte.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Michael Hiestand (December 19, 2002). "Winning NBA bid just the start for Johnson". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2002-12-18-cover-johnson_x.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Johnson will be NBA's first black majority owner". ESPN. December 17, 2002. http://static.espn.go.com/nba/news/2002/1217/1478643.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Michael Jordan to Become Part Owner of the Charlotte Bobcats". Charlotte Bobcats. June 15, 2006. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/release_jordan_060615.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Robert L. Johnson Adds Nelly To Bobcats Ownership Team". Charlotte Bobcats. July 19, 2004. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/nelly_release_040719.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 "NBA Expansion Franchise To Be Named Charlotte Bobcats". Charlotte Bobcats. June 11, 2003. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/charlottebobcats_061103.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "The Bobcat: Athletic, Fierce, & Hardworking". Charlotte Bobcats. June 11, 2003. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/bobcat_fierce.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Laura Williams-Tracy (August 9, 2002). "Arena bounces back". Charlotte Business Journal. http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2002/08/12/focus1.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Erik Spanberg (December 27, 2002). "With new plan and new NBA team, arena project finally heads uptown". Charlotte Business Journal. http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2002/12/30/newscolumn1.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Building the Bobcats". NBA. June 22, 2004. http://www.nba.com/features/expansion_draft2004.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Emeka Okafor Named 2004-05 NBA got milk? Rookie Of The Year". Charlotte Bobcats. May 4, 2005. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/okafor_roy_050504.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Magical night: Bobcats fall to Wizards in debut". ESPN. November 4, 2004. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=241104030. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "2 for 1: First win for Okafor, Bobcats vs. Magic". ESPN. November 6, 2004. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=241106030. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Cats protect their house in Charlotte in OT". ESPN. December 14, 2004. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=241214030. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Jordan: Bickerstaff won't return as coach". ESPN. March 14, 2007. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2797095. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats New Era Begins With Vincent". Charlotte Bobcats. May 25, 2007. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/vincent_coach_070525.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Rod Higgins Named Bobcats General Manager". Charlotte Bobcats. May 31, 2007. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/higgins_gm_070531.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats Announce Portion Of Coaching Staff". Charlotte Bobcats. June 7, 2007. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/bobcats_coaches_070607.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "More Members Added To Basketball Operations Staff". Charlotte Bobcats. June 18, 2007. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/bobcats_coaches_070618.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats keep top scorer Wallace with big deal". ESPN. July 12, 2007. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2933311. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Associated press (April 26, 2008). "Bobcats fire Sam Vincent as coach after one season". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/bobcats/2008-04-26-vincent-fired_N.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Sam Vincent Relieved of Head Coaching Duties". Charlotte Bobcats. April 26, 2008. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/release_vincent_relieved_080426.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats Name Larry Brown Head Coach". Charlotte Bobcats. April 29, 2008. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/release_brown_named_coach_080429.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Marc Stein (July 31, 2008). "Okafor, Bobcats officially sign off on 6-year, $72 million deal". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3509028. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats Acquire Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary from Phoenix". Charlotte Bobcats. December 10, 2008. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/081210_bobcats_trade.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Associated Press (February 7, 2009). "Lakers swap Radmanovic for Morrison". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3891214. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Associated Press (April 9, 2009). "Bobcats ticked about four-game road trip to close out season". NBA. http://www.nba.com/2009/news/04/09/bobcats.road.schedule.ap/index.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats Unveil New Team Uniforms". Charlotte Bobcats. August 21, 2004. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/uniforms_release_040821.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats Unveil Alternate Road Uniform". Charlotte Bobcats. August 16, 2006. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/alternate_unveiled_060816.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Mike Cranston (April 7, 2008). "Warner gets naming rights for Bobcats Arena". Associated Press. http://www.wcnc.com/news/topstories/stories/wcnc-040708-mw-bobcatsname.40c2805b.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats, Time Warner Cable, Fox Sports Strike Unprecedented Deal". Charlotte Bobcats. April 8, 2008. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/arena_tv_rights_release.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.