CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One day after reports that the Charlotte Bobcats have started the process to change their name to the Hornets, longtime basketball fans are excited about bringing back the buzz to the Queen City.
“It would give the community as a whole a lot more ownership,” said Evan Kent, half of the two-brother team behind Bring Back the Buzz, a website and twitter page devoted to returning the Hornets name to Charlotte.
The Charlotte Observer, NBC Charlotte’s news partner, confirmed the Charlotte Bobcats have taken steps to start changing the team name to the Charlotte Hornets.
As Charlotte’s original NBA team, the Hornets sold out at the Charlotte Coliseum for nine consecutive seasons before an uproar over a new arena left the team and its fans deflated. Owner George Shinn eventually moved the team to New Orleans.
New ownership of the New Orleans franchise led to a name change there, which freed up the Hornets name to belong to Charlotte once again. The NBA owns the rights to the Hornets name.
Evan and Scotty Kent heard the news in the middle of the night. After their grassroots efforts gained momentum – they have 4,200 followers on twitter – they’re delighted at the possibility of finally regaining the Hornets name.
“It was the only thing I knew,” said Scotty Kent, who was born in 1988 – the same year the Hornets came to town. “I've never known the world without the Charlotte Hornets.”
He remembers his dad picking him up from school and taking him to games. He and Evan remember their mom waking them up to let them listen to radio reports the team was leaving.
“I started crying, my mom started tearing up,” said Evan, recalling the childhood memory.
Their homes are full of Hornets gear – T-shirts, jerseys, jackets, toys, pennants, and hats… LOTS of hats.
Most of them, they said, were bought in just the past few years, since the team name has become popular again – proof people want to be Hornets.
“That's how popular this name and this team identity is,” said Scotty.
NBA officials have said the name change would take at least 18 months if it happens, meaning the current team wouldn’t play as Hornets until the 2014-2015 season.