Charlotte Hornets: Mascot Change Will Enhance Brand for Struggling Franchise

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJuly 19, 2013

Charlotte majority owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan should be relieved that the Hornets name is coming back.
Charlotte majority owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan should be relieved that the Hornets name is coming back.Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

NBA basketball in Charlotte has been rather forgettable over the past decade. The decision to revert back to the original Hornets mascot from the Bobcats will allow the franchise to market for a new era.

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer reports, NBA owners approved the proposed change by a unanimous vote. The Bobcats had done their homework on the prospective switch:

The Bobcats spent months doing market research – both of season-ticket holders and throughout metropolitan Charlotte – to gauge reaction to a possible switch to Hornets before making that May request. The team said public reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

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New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson made the idea for a Hornets return possible by choosing a new team name in his city. The Charlotte organization made a classy gesture in return by donating to the Pelicans Gulf Coast Preservation Fund, per Jim Eichenhofer.

The team's class should also improve on the court in the not-so-distant future.

While another season full of struggles is likely for Charlotte, the mascot change won't happen in 2013-14, allowing them to improve before officially rolling out the new marketing campaign.

In 2002, the Hornets were pulled from Charlotte. Since the Bobcats' reign began in 2004-05, the team has had just one winning season in nine campaigns.

Larry Brown coached the 44-38 team, which lost in an Eastern Conference opening-round sweep to the Orlando Magic in the 2010 postseason.

Even the Bobcats' official Twitter seems elated, even though its name will change to get past this forgettable time in the city's pro basketball history:

Once this new-look Charlotte squad is ready to be rolled out after this coming season, the team will likely have another top draft pick in the fold in what will be a loaded 2014 class.

Moreover, the current nucleus will have developed a solid rapport. To the Bobcats' credit, too, it's actually been a somewhat intriguing offseason of seemingly savvy moves.

Former Indiana star Cody Zeller was selected No. 4 overall in the draft, which was deemed a reach by many—and even drew the ire of Bobcat fans who were in attendance in the Barclays Center:

Couple that with the free-agent acquisition of premium post player Al Jefferson, and the Bobcats suddenly have a formidable frontcourt for the future. Zeller can stretch the floor with his shooting ability at seven feet tall, and that duo's presence should give the squad a huge shot-in-the-arm offensively.

Promising perimeter players Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Jeff Taylor are also on the roster, so there's at least some reason for hope moving forward.

NBA commissioner David Stern apparently didn't think that the Hornets' name returning to Charlotte was possible, but indicated in Bonnell's report that the franchise can now reach former fans who haven't connected with the Bobcats.

That's a great point, as well as the main point here.

The new Hornets will be an improving team after years of struggle. What's perfect about that development, too, is that it will coincide with the mascot change and resulting nostalgia for the former glory days.

Considering how awful Michael Jordan's tenure has been in the front office, this couldn't have come soon enough in an effort to inject interest into the city's putrid team.