The Hornets are back where they belong — in Charlotte.
The team name Hornets should never have left Charlotte, a city that sees the hornet as part of its identity. Back during the Revolutionary War British General Charles Cornwallis said the resistance in Charlotte was like a hornet’s nest, and ever since the city’s residents have worn the moniker with pride. Police badges in Charlotte even have a hornet on it.
Now the basketball team has that logo again — the changeover officially happened Tuesday. Check out the Web site for the team:
This is a good thing. A very good thing.
The NBA has done so many things over the decades to try to ruin Charlotte as a market. It all starts with George Shinn, one of the legendarily bad owners in NBA history, getting accused of rape (he was exonerated but in the legal process stories of his affair with a team cheerleader came out), being tone-deaf in his response, then right after the NBA lockout ends in 1999 he starts saying the city needs to build him a new arena. Then Shinn moved the team to New Orleans and took the Hornet name with him, even though it has no tie to that city. Then David Stern gave us Robert Johnson to save the Charlotte market with an expansion team, but Robert’s Bobcats (notice how that name ties in) never won and he never got the market.
Michael Jordan has had a steep learning curve as an owner, but more and more he seems to be getting it. He had a learning curve as a player, he had to learn how to win leading teammates but he figured it out, and he had a learning curve as an owner. This year Charlotte was feisty on the court and was sold out and loud for the playoffs.
And now they are the Hornets again — New Orleans owner Tom Benson wanted something local to them and changed the team to the Pelicans, which freed up the Hornets name.
Now the name is back in Charlotte. It’s a step. An important step on the road back to what should return to being a great NBA market.