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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bring back the buzz. . .why not support the Bobcats?

The name Hornets means a lot to Charlotte.
But what difference would it make to rename the Bobcats?

The history of The Charlotte Hornets is storied and awesome.
The 1988 expansion team helped put Charlotte on the national sports map, and the Hornets' distinctive teal-and-purple merchandise was among the league's top sellers.
But the team failed to hold players who were fan favorites, including Alonzo Mourning, and attendance declined. Disenchantment grew during the 1998-99 NBA lockout and a civil trial in which founding owner George Shinn was accused of sexual assault. A South Carolina jury found against Shinn's accuser in that case.
The Hornets sold out nearly 400 games in a row in their hay-day. But when the fans got pissed off at Shinn and the team for wanting a bigger arena, attendance became the league's worst. The Hornets packed up and moved to New Orleans in 2002.

Charlotte was awarded another team two seasons later -- The Bobcats.

On December 18, 2002, a group led by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson was awarded the franchise, allowing him to become the first majority African American owner in U.S. major professional sports. The rapper Nelly became another notable co-owner.[4] In June 2003, the team was named the Bobcats. The Charlotte Regional Sports Commission aided with the "Help Name The Team" effort that drew over 1,250 suggestions. During the summer of 2003, at a street festival that attracted an overflow crowd of 7,000 fans, the Charlotte NBA expansion franchise unveils "Bobcats" as the team name.
Was the support the same? No. As a matter of fact, a grassroots effort, Bring Back The Buzz has sprung up in the city.
Rare is the sort of unconditional love and undying devotion that was once the hallmark of the relationship between the Queen City and her Hornets.
Night after night, year after year, "The Hive" was alive; impassioned Beelievers wreaked a unique aural havoc upon all who dared to enter that hallowed hall. From the 20-win seasons of Rambis and Tripuka, to the genuine Eastern Conference contenders of the late 1990's, this city; this jewel of the New South; provided both the NBA and the nation at large a perfectly-executed blue print of the power of civic pride.
"Bring Back the Buzz" is a grass-roots campaign to bring back the name that means so much to this city and the fans who remember the magic that eminated from the hive. General Cornwallis awarded us the title of "Hornets Nest" after the citizens of this town fought for their freedom and what they believed in after the Battle of Charlotte during the Revolutionary war.
Again we find ourselves fighting for what we believe in, an identity that can only be understood by those of us who have lived in this ever-growing city.
Tom Benson bought the N.O. Hornets and is changing their name. The time has come, Charlotte...
I hate to break it to the "beelievers" but a name change or lack of one shouldn't determine if you support the city's NBA team.
Alonzo Mourning isn't walking on that court. Neither is Larry Johnson or Muggsy Bogues.
 Wells Fargo isn't going to become First Union again, either.
The Bobcats is your team now. Why not support them the way the Hornets were beloved in the beginning?
That's what they're doing in New Orleans.
Here's what resident and basketball fan Tomiko Russell says about a name change:

"As far as the Jazz, no I don't want that name back because we were losers every year with that name. I would be a bigger fan with a more exciting player not so much the name or mascot."
Why can Charlotte fans do the same? 

After all, we all but told the Hornets to hit the road, jack. Fans stopped going to games. Fans and tax payers balked at giving the team a new arena --so, changing the name now would do what? 

Will The new Hornets/current Bobcats start winning? Will fans show up for every game -- not just when big named players from other teams are in the Queen City? 

If you're a fan of basketball, the name shouldn't matter. 

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
-- William Shakespeare


tomiko russell said...

I loved this article. Now you have me thinking about how our city was always Saints fans even when they were the laughing stock of the league. We would support our team but hide our faces from other undercover fans.

Cheris Hodges said...

Some sports fans in Charlotte might start wearing those paper bags. LOL!