Report: Bobcats changing name back to Hornets

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The Charlotte Bobcats are about to go away — and the Charlotte Hornets are coming back.

Fans in Charlotte have clamored for the change, particularly since the Tom Benson, the new owner in New Orleans, pushed for a name change from Hornets to the more locally popular Pelicans.

It’s going to happen, reports CBSSports.com’s Will Brinson at Eye On Basketball. CBS did a search and found that the NBA has started to prepare to move some digital properties over.

This is not going to happen next season, the league and its marketing arm usually likes a couple of years lead on these kinds of changes. It likely would be the fall of 2014 at the earliest.

Still, this is going to be welcomed in Charlotte by the fan base.

Charlotte the city is nicknamed the “hornets nest,” a moniker that dates all the way back to the Revolutionary War. That is when the British General Cornwallis had occupied the city but was driven out by residents there, leading him to call Charlotte “a hornet’s nest.” The residents took and still take pride in that. Go to Charlotte and even the police wear a patch with a hornet on it.

So the Charlotte Hornets made sense, but when George Shinn moved the team to New Orleans in 2002 he took the name with him. The expansion team that took their place in Charlotte was the Bobcats, a name that many felt owner Bob Johnson had basically chosen to name the team after himself.

Current owner Michael Jordan had put together a group to do studies and look at a possible name change. Apparently he’s decided to go forward with it.

Good call. It’s a step in getting the city to fully buy into the team again after Shinn’s pretty much scorched earth policy there. A winning team would help, too, but one step at a time. The name is a good move.