That ad is showing up on television now in the Charlotte area, sponsored by a local hardware business, as reported in the Charlotte Observer (hat tip to Eye on Basketball).
The sentiment is much larger than that — when Michael Jordan bought the Bobcats he was peppered with questions about changing the team name. The feeling in Charlotte is that former owner Bob Johnson — who brought the expansion franchise to the city (after owner George Shinn to the Hornets to New Orleans) — really named the Bobcats after himself. It has never been as popular.
Hornets, on the other hand, is a name synonymous with Charlotte back to the Revolutionary War when British military commander Charles Cornwallis referred to Charlotte as a “hornet’s nest” of rebellion. Every policeman in Charlotte wears a hornet’s nest patch.
Hornets also is available with the New Orleans franchise becoming the Pelicans next season.
Some fans want it back. There are reports that the franchise is polling season ticket holders and talking with the NBA, but nothing official other than the team saying they are looking at the matter.
It’s not going happen in Charlotte for 2013. Or probably 2014. The NBA is a massive marketing machine and changing a franchise name is not something done on a whim. It’s a two-year process, one shortened slightly for Tom Benson when he bought the New Orleans team.
Still, in a couple years it could happen in Charlotte. The Bobcats have a long way to go in winning back that region after the way Shinn ruined it, this would be a step in that direction.