Today's the day: after a decade of existence as the Bobcats, the franchise will officially receive league approval to change its name, and bring the Charlotte Hornets back to the NBA in 2014.
Charlotte will need a majority of teams to sign off on the name change at tonight's NBA Board of Governors' meeting, but with zero resistance around the league, approval is expected to be unanimous. Both David Stern and incoming commissioner Adam Silver have repeatedly said they support it.
And Charlotte is ready to celebrate! The Bobcats are hosting an event for fans timed to coincide with the BOG vote, featuring giveaways, appearances by Muggsy Bogues, Rex Chapman, Dell Curry, Kendall Gill and Kelly Tripucka, and a Michael Jackson cover band. (They spared no expense.)
The Bobcats came into existence in 2004, two years after the Hornets moved to New Orleans. It was rumored, but never confirmed, that former owner Bob Johnson named the team after himself, and fans were never thrilled with the nickname, or the orange-and-blue color scheme, or the year after year of terrible basketball. While that last one will be harder to fix, there's been a grassroots movement to regain the Hornets name, and with New Orleans becoming the Pelicans, the door was open.
"Let's bring the buzz back, and bring that energy back on the basketball court and make this city proud again," owner Michael Jordan said when he submitted the name change application back in May.
The name change will not go into effect until the 2014-15 season, to give the team time to design new uniforms and logos, and print all that new merchandise. It's not known whether Charlotte will return to the teal-and-purple color scheme of the original team, but it's probably a safe bet. It's also likely that Charlotte and New Orleans will "share" the history of those original Hornets.