The Charlotte Bobcats are poised to put that moniker behind them by re-branding to the Charlotte Hornets. The change will become official on Tuesday, May 20—the same day as the 2014 NBA draft lottery—per the Charlotte Observer. The team's official website, however, is already up and running.
"From the heart of our history comes the fierce soul of our future," the newly minted site states. It also features various photo galleries and videos as an homage to the Hornets of old, which moved to New Orleans for the 2002-03 season after 14 years in Charlotte.
Fans of Muggsy Bogues and Larry Johnson can rejoice with a trip down memory lane.
Once the New Orleans Hornets relinquished their nickname in favor of the New Orleans Pelicans, it just felt right for the name to land back in Charlotte.
Fans agreed with that standpoint, per the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell, "The Bobcats did market research that showed strong support, both from season-ticket holders and the general public, to adopt the name of the Hornets franchise that played in Charlotte from 1988 through 2002."
In addition to fanfare, the name has significant historical context, as the Charlotte Observer explained:
"The Hornets nickname has a long history in Charlotte, referring to the city’s reputation during the Revolutionary War as a hornet’s nest of rebellion. The original NBA franchise in the city, which began play in 1988, was the Hornets."
In their 10 year existence thus far, the soon-to-be former Bobcats compiled a regular-season record of 293-511. That includes the historically dreadful 2011-12 team, which finished the campaign at 7-59 during the lockout-shortened season.
The Bobcats only made the playoffs twice in that 10-year span—once in 2009-10 under head coach Larry Brown, and again this year under first-year head coach Steve Clifford.
Although the Bobcats failed to make it out of the first round each time—or even win a game, getting swept twice—Clifford's team qualifies as an Eastern Conference upstart.
After finishing the 2012-13 season dead last in defensive efficiency by surrendering 108.9 points per 100 possessions under head coach Mike Dunlap, per ESPN.com, Clifford flipped the switch from a defensive outlook. The 2013-14 roster finished sixth in that category, giving up just 101.2 points per 100 possessions.
The turnaround occurred despite the fact that the Bobcats signed Al Jefferson—a notoriously poor defender—during the offseason.
Big Al even admitted as much, saying in an August 2013 article from Grantland's Zach Lowe, "It ain't no secret around the league that I struggle with my defense. My pick-and-roll defense is my weakness. And that's mind over matter. I just gotta suck it up, get my ass out there, and do it."
The veteran turned things around in a big way on the defensive end with his fourth different franchise, contributing to a top-six defense. He said the following of his coach's impact on that part of his game, per MassLive.com's Jay King:
When I talked to Coach Clifford, he told me I'm not as bad a defensive player as I try to make myself to be. On the defensive end it's just effort and having the energy to do the things you're supposed to do. Here I am in my 10th year, and all of a sudden I'm on a team that’s been top 10 in defense this whole year – number six if I'm not mistaken now.
I think it was just more mind over matter. I guess I have to admit that I was lazy and I wanted to save my energy on the offensive end. But as I got older and (began) understanding what it takes to win, I've got to have that energy on both ends.
Now Jefferson, along with point guard Kemba Walker, will be a major cog for the new-look (old-look?) Hornets.
I don't know about you, but I'm giddy to see those teal uniforms once again.
Hopefully, Bogues will consider an NBA comeback.
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