Now that the New Orleans Hornets are expected to become the New Orleans Pelicans, it’s time to solve the Charlotte Bobcats’ own name issues.
The simplest solution is the best: The Bobcats need to rebrand themselves as the Charlotte Hornets.
Michael Jordan told The Observer in a group interview I was part of a month ago that he would consider changing the nickname if and when the New Orleans franchise gave up the “Hornets” nickname.
“It's definitely an interest down the road, but right now it's the New Orleans Hornets," Jordan told us. "We would definitely entertain the opportunity. That's as much as we can say right now. We've heard the community ask the question, and we would listen.”
“Down the road” is apparently here, according to a Yahoo Sports report that cites numerous sources in saying that New Orleans will rebrand itself as the Pelicans, perhaps as early as the 2013-14 NBA season. The team has planned to change its nickname ever since New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson bought the team earlier this year. The report isn't official yet, but no one has stepped forward to deny it from New Orleans.
The Bobcats were named in part for previous owner Bob Johnson, who was widely unpopular in Charlotte. Although Jordan was once Johnson’s minority partner before buying the team from him, I don’t think MJ likes the nickname at all. He often refers to the team as the “Cats” in conversation, dropping the “Bob” entirely. And “Bobcats” has always sounded like the name of a middle-school basketball team to me, one whose varsity was named the “Tigers” or something more ferocious.
So here’s a chance to remind people of the glory days of NBA basketball in Charlotte. The name was so deeply embedded in the culture that even now people accidentally call the Bobcats the Hornets, and it’s been a decade since the Charlotte Hornets existed.
So why fight it? Embrace the change. Become the “Charlotte Hornets” once more. Sure, it will cost several million to do this, but it will be money well spent and the new Charlotte Hornets will eventually make it up via jersey and memorabilia sales. This makes sense from both a financial and an emotional standpoint. Bring back the buzz – let the Charlotte Hornets live once more.