Change the Bobcats’ nickname to “Hornets”?
I’d be fine with that.
Contrary to my colleague Tom Sorensen, who wrote in Sunday’s newspaper that the team shouldn’t change nicknames but should simply win more, I have long advocated a name change for the Bobcats. Two years ago, I wrote in The Observer that since Michael Jordan had now become the Bobcats’ majority owner that he should wipe the slate clean and claim another nickname.
As I wrote in March 2010:
“The ‘Bobcats’ name has been irreversibly tainted by its association with [former owner Bob] Johnson, who more or less named the team for himself. Or at least that’s what most people think. In this case it’s the perception that matters.”
Back then the “Hornets” nickname – the one that the original Charlotte NBA franchise had before it moved to New Orleans – wasn’t available. It still isn’t, but could be soon. Once new owners buy the New Orleans franchise from the NBA (which runs it now in an obvious conflict of interest), it’s likely they will change the nickname to wipe their own slate clean.
And then the name that makes everyone nostalgic for the good ol’ days (although the good ol’ days weren’t always good, as Billy Joel once sang) could be on the open market.
There is a grassroots movement to change the nickname back to “Hornets,” although it is easy to advocate spending other people’s money (in this case it would cost an estimated $3 million to $5 million to “rebrand” the team, say the Bobcats -- who don't currently have this item high on their agenda).
But I thought it would be worth it in 2010, and I think so today. The Bobcats’ current team is horrid – it has the worst record in the NBA at 4-28. The team is trying to restructure itself in many ways – caring more about its own community, getting better players and on and on.
A name change would symbolize a lot. And the “Hornets” choice makes sense. I still hear people mistakenly refer to the Bobcats by that name, for it became so embedded in the Carolinas’ psyche.
And I still believe what I wrote in 2010 about the “Bobcats” issue:
“That name never has sounded very fierce. It has always sounded like the name of a middle-school team whose high school varsity is known as some type of bigger cat.
And now, with Johnson out of the picture, there’s just no reason to bob along in the water anymore.
Jordan should seize this chance to stamp his team with a new nickname. It would be powerful symbolism of Jordan literally taking ownership of the club -- well worth both the money and time invested."