Why the Charlotte Hornets shouldn't return

Posted by Steve Jones on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Author and Asheville native Thomas Wolfe was right when he said, "You can't go home again."

That's what returning the Hornets name and brand to Charlotte feels like even for me, an original season-ticket holder. We're a different city in a different time, and the Hornets, good as they were for us, shouldn't come back.


The Hornets were our first major league sports team. Owned by George Shinn, they began play in 1988.

Shinn got rich by owning a for-profit college that bilked the government for bad student loans, but no one cared because he bought pro sports to town. Charlotte had made the big leagues!

The Hornets were the darling of the Queen City. At the first home game, QC elite attended dressed in tuxes and gowns. Hornets games became social events where one was to be seen.

Despite losing dozens of games, the team and its players were treated like royalty.

The home games sold out 23,000-plus seats for more than seven years; Mugsy Bogues, Kelly Tripucka and Dell Curry became household names; star player Larry Johnson wore a dress for national TV commercials; and the United States could finally point Charlotte out on a map. In short, the Hornets were a phenomenon.

Yet just as quickly as their popularity soared, it all came crashing down. Despite developing a playoff team, it became clear that Shinn was not going put up the big bucks required to keep star players like Alonzo Mourning. Shinn was then accused by a woman he had met while visiting a relative in rehab of forcing her to perform oral sex on him. The luster was gone and soon the team would be too.

They packed up and moved to New Orleans after the 2002 season, taking the Hornets name with them.

I attended the first and last Hornet games in Charlotte and a couple of hundred in between. In 1988 there was no Lynx train, Bechtler Museum or even NASCAR Hall of Fame. No Epicentre, Ritz Carlton or Emeril's. There was no nightlife in Uptown. Hell, there was no Uptown.

Charlotte has changed too much and come too far to go back to an old name for the current pro basketball team. Let's leave the Charlotte Hornets in the past so as to not mar their glory.

Like the man said, there is no going home again.

Comments (18)

Showing 1-18 of 18

Um.... Am I the only person in the world that remembers that the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and are now the Baltimore Raven's? The new Cleveland Browns are not the same team from when Jim Brown played, that is now the Raven's stats.

The Bobcat fans are not showing up, so we need the "brand" name to come back. From a marketing stand point, we could use the revenue the brand brings in (still), versus the Bobcats. This is a no-brainer. And no offense, but most people "FROM CHARLOTTE", would agree the name and the team are 2 separate things. We are not bringing the Hornet's "home" as you say. Just the name, which we should have kept in the beginning, like Seattle.

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Posted by John Branch on 12/13/2012 at 11:56 AM

This is not nostalgia, but the returning of something stolen by Shinn that belongs to Charlotte!


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Posted by Tricia Kent on 12/13/2012 at 12:36 PM


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Posted by Mike on 12/13/2012 at 1:06 PM

There is no real argument made here for why they shouldn't be "moved back" (the re-branding of the Bobcats), just a weak opinion at the end saying we shouldn't "mar their glory." I was expecting to read at least an attempt at a compelling argument for why the Bobcats should stay the Bobcats, not just the author's unsupported opinion.

As a native Charlottean who loved the Hornets when they were here, I would be more inclined to give my heart to the Bobcats were they renamed the Hornets. I also think it would make sense from a marketing standpoint (as the first commenter noted). I can't think of any good reason NOT to re-brand the Bobcats, honestly.

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Posted by Jonathan Abernathy on 12/13/2012 at 1:10 PM

Agree with the last poster. This writer had no real case to make, just an opinion and an abbreviated history that does nothing to support his point.

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Posted by rumbrave on 12/13/2012 at 2:18 PM

In my opinion if Charlotte is to have an NBA team, that team should be the Charlotte Hornets. Period.

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Posted by Jeremy Davis on 12/13/2012 at 2:24 PM

I do not see one single reason in the article to not bring back the Hornets brand. Poorly written, and BRING BACK THE BUZZ!!!

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Posted by Rex Chapman on 12/13/2012 at 2:30 PM

You say the Hornets are in the past but If the NO stadium is able to sell gear featuring OUR city's name an' make a killing, this is much more than rose-colored hometown nostalgia. This is about Charlotte's identity. An even with the more and more rapid influx of transplants, the removal of more an' more QC touchstones ta cope with our growing population an' "status anxiety" I can say that, as someone who has spent all of his comparatively-brief 29 years here that the feeling for the Hornets is insurmountable.

They BELONG here. When they left, part of our city's identity left with it. Let's get it back! #QueenCityBornNBred #BringBacktheBuzz

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Posted by Nathan Buckner on 12/13/2012 at 2:33 PM

Cleveland got their stats back...http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/team/history/year-by-year-results.html

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Posted by hellogoobye on 12/13/2012 at 2:33 PM

Of course there are people that would like to see the Hornets remain an item of discussion of Charlotte's past, but those people are clearly outnumbered by the people (nationwide) that would like to see the Hornets return. MJ said from the very beginning that he and his team want to become part of this community. They have been very active in various charities, etc... all those things would be dwarfed by the return of the Hornets name.
I don't think there would be any current season ticket holder that would throw his tickets away in disgust that the Hornets return. They would line up in droves for tickets if the Hornets come back home.

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Posted by BBtheBUZZ on 12/13/2012 at 2:37 PM

My brother and I are really appreciative of the support our movement has gotten. It really shows that this city does have pride and can be a strong NBA city once again...just as soon as we BRING BACK THE BUZZ!

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Posted by Scotty Bringbackbuzz Kent on 12/13/2012 at 3:05 PM

I have been, and always will be, a CHARLOTTE HORNETS fan. I spent my early teen years in the hive. That is my team, always and forever. The Hornets name belongs in Charlotte. Bring Hugo Home!!

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Posted by Kevin Neel Mull on 12/13/2012 at 3:07 PM

you get paid to write articles like this for a living? Do you have any valid points you would like to share, because that was the weakest opinion based argument I have seen yet. How about the historic value of the name? How about the revolutionary war aspect of the name? How about the multiple teams that have been named the Hornets in this area? How about the fact that Davidson and UNCC play for the Hornets Nest Cup? How about the money and identity the team will receive with the Hornets coming back? Did you know that the Bobcats were last in merchandise sales last year and the CHARLOTTE Hornets were Number 1? I'm guessing your boss said, "hey why don't you write an article about the possible name change?". So you sat at your desk and wrote an uniformed, lazy opinion in about 5 minutes with about 5% of the facts involved and then submitted it. As a journalist you should be ashamed.

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Posted by Robert RoadieRob Allen on 12/13/2012 at 3:28 PM

As a diehard Charlotte Hornets fan down in Florida, the pride of the queen city is world wide! We want our team, our identity, and our heritage back! I see ya' Hugo. #BringBackTheBuzz4Life!

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Posted by Chad Roberts on 12/13/2012 at 7:15 PM

I wrote better persuasive essays in High School English. I think I even won some Charlotte Hornets tickets for one of them. The only good thing about your stupid piece? I stole/saved/copied that sweet logo.

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Posted by Gregory Duckworth II on 12/13/2012 at 8:28 PM

Charlotte hornets belongs to charlotte period.

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Posted by Jeriel Noesi on 12/14/2012 at 12:45 AM

The hornets belong in Charlotte. The name hornets has nothing to do with new Orleans. It's a Charlotte nickname since REVOLUTIONARY TIMES(hornets nest ). George shinn was a crook no arguing there. Times are different but maybe what we need is our name and identity back. We might had been a crappy team but it was our team. Also its called spellcheck sir... It's free with every device

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Posted by mark evans on 12/17/2012 at 1:17 AM


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Posted by Thomas on 01/26/2013 at 2:24 PM
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