New Orleans Pelicans: Name Change Should Bring Hornets Back to Charlotte
The Pelicans are landing in New Orleans.
Now that the Hornets are buzzing out of town, they should head east to Charlotte—where they first gained fame among NBA fans.
The NBA officially has its first name, logo and color-scheme change since the Seattle SuperSonics moved to the South, abandoning their former name and becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder.
New Orleans Hornets owner Tom Benson announced on Thursday that the name "Pelicans" is officially in place for the 2013-14 season, giving the team an identity more closely aligned with the city's personality.
As Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports reported, the Hornets are prepared to undergo a full makeover for the first time since relocating from Charlotte, as the original New Orleans franchise (now the Utah Jazz) is no longer associated with the city.
If you've yet to see the logo, here's a look (h/t NBA.com):
Now that the "Hornets" moniker has been tossed back into the pool of available team nicknames, the Charlotte Bobcats should jump in to reclaim it.
For starters, owner Michael Jordan and the Bobcats don't have a lot going for them. With a 10-32 record, the Bobcats are 18.5 games back of Southeast Division leader Miami, and just above the nine-win mark that the Washington Wizards currently boast. Additionally, the team has been to the playoffs just once (2010) in nine years after starting as an expansion franchise in 2004.
It's time for a change in the franchise's approach, and one way to do that is to take things back to a down-home feel that the city had when watching the competitive teams of the 1990s.
It's been a long time since Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Muggsy Bogues were leading the attack, and when they were, they wore white with teal outlining the Charlotte name and Hornets logo.
Sometimes, history repeats itself.
According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, the Bobcats are already engaging fans and the community to see if a name change would be prudent, given the marketing strategy that goes hand in hand with NBA franchises:
The Bobcats are already engaged in market research to find out. They’ve hired Harris Interactive, a nationally prominent polling company, to survey both current Bobcats customers and the general Charlotte sports market about a possible change.
The movement has already gained steam, as a group known as Bring Back the Buzz will fill seats in the upper deck of Time Warner Cable Arena and chant for the Hornets from time to time at Charlotte games.
Bring Back the Buzz also has a Twitter handle and posted this encouraging tweet on Thursday afternoon that North Carolina is almost fully behind the effort to switch to the original franchise name:
Change is sometimes good for a struggling franchise, but the most current change in Charlotte hasn't done anything for fan morale or success on the court.
The Bobcats added new uniforms and colors to the palate from previous years of their existence, a move that surely cost the somewhat cash-strapped franchise (Charlotte ranked No. 26 in Forbes' annual franchise rankings) a good amount of time and money in planning and investment.
Still, it's hard to put a price tag on fan happiness. If more people are receptive to the movement, MJ and Co. might feel the fee to reacquire the rights to the name is fully worth every penny of a deal that would likely cost over $3 million (h/t Dwyer).
Should Charlotte return to being the Hornets?
If the results of this survey are positive (a very good possibility based on early polling and the Bring Back the Buzz crusade), don't be surprised to see the groundwork begin on another name change in the NBA.
Just like New Orleans, Charlotte fans don't want to be associated with a name that isn't rooted in the city. The Hornets name didn't fit in New Orleans, but it's already been embraced in Charlotte and saw relative success—the last success the city has seen from a basketball standpoint.
As the old saying goes, "the customer is always right."
The customer is the City of Charlotte, and bringing back the Hornets is right. Make the move, MJ.
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