NBA: Rebranding name and colors for the New Orleans Hornets to the Pelicans and the Charlotte Bobcats to Hornets?

November 30, 2012


Report: New Orleans Hornets to change nickname to Pelicans

WDSU 6 NBC New Orleans
The Sports Xchange

NEW ORLEANS- The New Orleans Hornets are planning to change their nickname to the Pelicans for the 2013-14 season in a move that could affect the Charlotte franchise as well, Yahoo!Sports reported Tuesday.

New Hornets owner Tom Benson, who Yahoo said owns the NBA rights to the Pelicans name, said when he bought the team from the league last summer that he was interested in changing the nickname to something that appeals to the region. Louisiana’s state bird is the pelican. Bobcats owner Michael Jordan said prior to this season that if the Hornets nickname became available, then he would consider bringing it back to Charlotte.

The Hornets, who began playing in Charlotte as an expansion franchise in 1988, moved to New Orleans in 2002 after a despute between then owner George Shinn and the city over an arena lease. The possible name change has denied by the Hornets, telling that is still in the exploratory stages. “We’re not confirming that is the name,” Hornets spokesman Bensel said.

“This is a process that’s ongoing and still in discussions. And it will be eventually decided by the NBA.” Also under consideration were the nicknames Krewe (a Mardi Gras reference) and Brass. New Orleans first NBA franchise was the Jazz, which relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1979. Also, Benson’s wife, Gayle, recently told Fox Sports New Orleans she wanted the team’s colors to change to navy blue, red and gold.


Video: CBS Sports New Orleans Hornets name change

Rebranding the New Orleans Hornets
New Orleans NBA colors
CBS 6 News WSDU New Orleans

November 29, 2012

NEW ORLEANS — On Wednesday night, Gayle Benson, wife of Saints and Hornets owner Tom Benson, said in a television interview prior to the Hornets vs. Utah Jazz game that the Hornets would be changing their name and team colors. When Tom Benson purchased the NBA franchise last summer he said at his introductory press conference he wants to “give the team a more New Orleans name.” Gayle Benson said the new team colors would be red, gold and navy blue.
A former interior decorator, Gayle Benson said the team would also be renamed but that the new name would not be announced until after the 2012-2013 season is complete. Following Gayle Benson’s comments, an NBA spokesperson said that the Benson family simply prefers those colors and that the league has final approval on all name and color changes. Red, gold and navy blue are the colors making up the official flag of New Orleans.
As far as the name change goes, it was reported over the summer by the website that two names had emerged as the favorites to replace Hornets.  The names are Angles and Spirit.  Both names were registered as LLC’s with the Secretary of State in Baton Rouge by a Metairie businessman named Paul Hubbell Jr.  Their is no obvious connection between Hubbell and Tom Benson except that the two men are roughly the same age and both graduated from St. Aloysius High School (now Brother Martin High School) in the late 1940’s.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are the only professional sports team using the name “Angels” and no professional sports team has ever used the name “Spirit.” A minor league baseball team in Winston Salem, North Carolina was once named the “Spirits.” The process to rename and rebrand an NBA franchise usually takes two seasons. Other names suggested by various media outlets and fans include: Dukes, Bounce, Bishops, Pride and Krewe.

November 28, 2012

No official change of New Orleans Hornets’ colors yet despite spoken preference

By Jimmy Smith
The Times-Picayune

During a pregame television interview, Gayle Benson, wife of New Orleans Hornets owner Tom Benson, said her preference for new team colors would be navy blue, red and gold. Those words set off a bit of an Internet stir Wednesday night. However, despite Benson’s stated wish to change the team’s nickname to one with more of a New Orleans’ feel, the NBA has final approval over those matters.

A league spokesman issued a statement Wednesday night saying: “The NBA has final say on Hornets colors and name change. That process has not yet taken shape. Red, navy and gold is a combination the Bensons prefer.”

Customarily, any team re-branding, including name, uniform or color changing, is a two-year process.

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Charlotte might pounce if Hornets give up nickname
By Rick Bonnell
The Charlotte Observer
Tom and Gayle Benson, new owners of the New Orleans Hornets, continue their lobbying to rebrand their NBA franchise. That could eventually result in Charlotte getting back the name “Hornets.”
In a pregame television interview before Wednesday’s Hornets-Utah Jazz game, Gayle Benson said she’d like to change the team’s colors from teal-and-purple to red-gold-and-navy blue. The Bensons have said from their initial takeover of the team that they’d like to change the nickname to something more associated with Louisiana.
That could open the door to the Bobcats acquiring the Hornets’ name, as some Carolinas fans have advocated. The Hornets played in Charlotte from 1988 through their departure for New Orleans in 2002.
Many Charlotteans still are attracted to the Hornets’ name and the teal-and-purple pinstripe uniforms. It’s become somewhat of a fashion statement among young fans to wear Charlotte Hornets throw-back merchandise.
However, if and when the Bensons rename their team isn’t ultimately up to them. Following the airing of Gayle Benson’s interview, the NBA issued a statement reiterating that any name, color or logo change must be cleared by the league office and that hasn’t happened.
Bobcats owner Michael Jordan said in an Observer interview earlier this month that he was receptive to considering a name change to the Hornets, should the Bensons give up that name.
“It’s definitely an interest down the road, but right now it’s the New Orleans Hornets,” Jordan told the Observer. “We would definitely entertain the opportunity. That’s as much as we can say right now. We’ve heard the community ask the question, and we would listen.”
There’s no telling what the cost or lead time of a name change would entail. However, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said last April in Charlotte that this would be an easier process than other name changes because the league already owns the rights to the name “Charlotte Hornets.”
Charlotte may want Hornets name news services
If the Hornets nickname becomes available, Charlotte might be interested in getting it back.
The Hornets moved to New Orleans from Charlotte in 2002, and when Tom Benson bought the team earlier this year he said that he would like to change the name to something more fitting of Louisiana. Before Wednesday’s game, his wife, Gayle, reiterated that idea and added that the franchise also would like to change the team colors from teal and purple to red, gold and navy blue.
Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan was asked if he’d be interested in bringing the Hornets name back to Charlotte.
“It’s definitely an interest down the road, but right now it’s the New Orleans Hornets,” Jordan told the Charlotte Observer. “We would definitely entertain the opportunity. That’s as much as we can say right now. We’ve heard the community ask the question, and we would listen.”
The newspaper reported that throwback Charlotte Hornets jerseys are popular among young fans in the area, and team websites buzz with fans who still prefer the name and color scheme of the Charlotte NBA team that started in 1988. But owners or fans won’t have the final say. The league issued a statement Wednesday saying that it is aware of the Hornets’ intentions, but the ultimate decision on team names and colors resides with the NBA


December 1, 2012

Domino effect of a name change


By Benjamin Hoffman
The New York Times

Last week Michael Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, said that he would be open to changing the team’s name to the Hornets should the franchise in New Orleans follow through with plans to change its name to something more befitting that city.

“It’s definitely an interest down the road, but right now it’s the New Orleans Hornets,” Jordan told The Charlotte Observer. “We would definitely entertain the opportunity. That’s as much as we can say right now. We’ve heard the community ask the question, and we would listen.”

Attempting to invoke nostalgia for a team that dates only to the 1988-89 season probably does not work on the same level as resurrecting the Browns name in Cleveland. But the name would recall memories of the teams that starred Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning and were more entertaining than any Bobcats squad.

A name change makes more sense for the New Orleans franchise, a city known for many things more positive than the largest of the eusocial wasps. Unfortunately the best name out there may be the Jazz, the name of the team that played in New Orleans from 1974 to 1979 before relocating to Salt Lake City.

Perhaps a trade can be engineered where the franchise in Charlotte becomes the Hornets, the one in New Orleans becomes the Jazz, and the one in Utah picks an entirely new name. If the amusingly named Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies could somehow be included in the transaction, then basketball team names might make a great deal more geographical sense.

The ultimate decision on whether Charlotte could bring back the Hornets name would not be up to the team regardless of what New Orleans decides. The rights would be determined by the N.B.A.

A version of this article appeared in print on 12/02/2012, on page SP9 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Domino Effect of a Name Change.


Rebranding the Charlotte Bobcats name to “CATS” and colors
The slow removal of orange
Charlotte Bobcats Court
Charlotte Bobcats court
Charlotte Bobcats court
Charlotte Bobcats 2012-02
Bobcats Uniforms Past 03
Kemba Walker Charlotte Bobcats 01
Charlotte Bobcats 2012
Charlotte Bobcats 2012
Charlotte Bobcats 2012

Video: Michael Jordan 1988- Chicago at Charlotte

Video: 2002 NBA Playoffs- Orlando at Charlotte

Video: Charlotte Coliseum Demolition June 3, 2007
Opened August 11, 1988 the Charlotte Coliseum was home to the Charlotte Hornets from 1988-2002
and Charlotte Bobcats from 2004- October 26, 2005. It was the largest NBA basketball arena by seating capacity


New Orleans Hornets color scheme
New Orleans Hornets
New Orleans Hornets
New Orleans Hornets
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012
George Shinn: Hornets name belongs in Charlotte
By Tom Sorensen
The Charlotte Observer
NASHVILLE- George Shinn, the former owner of the Charlotte, and New Orleans, Hornets, calls Tuesday from Nashville, Tenn. He lives outside Nashville and operates his charitable Trulight Foundation there.
His message is clear. When New Orleans’ NBA franchise relinquishes the Hornets name, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan should pounce on it.
Shinn, 71, backs up a little and says he isn’t telling Jordan what to do.
“If Michael sees fit, I’d like to help,” Shinn says.
He says the Hornets nickname would be great for Jordan, Jordan’s team and the community.
“It was never my name,” says Shinn. “It belonged to Charlotte.”
It belongs to Tom Benson, who owns the name and the basketball team. To his credit, Benson would like a name that’s tethered to New Orleans. Rarely do names tied with one region work in another. Utah Jazz is a failure. New Orleans Hornets is a failure. Los Angeles Lakers works only because the name is distinctive and the team used to be.
Pelicans works because the Pelican is Louisiana’s state bird. The Hornets could become the Pelicans as soon as next season.
This would free Hornets, and for no more than $3?million – $2.5?million was the figure quoted to me last season – the Bobcats could make the name theirs.
“I think they should use the colors, the mascot, all of that,” Shinn says.
The Hornets played in Charlotte from 1988 to 2002. Shinn’s relationship with Charlotte tanked, attendance tanked, and he moved the team to New Orleans. He sold it in 2010.
You old-timers will recall that after the NBA awarded Shinn a franchise he assembled a committee to select a name for it. The committee, filled mainly with local businessmen, chose Spirit.
I wonder what they named their kids.
Shinn didn’t like the name, and neither did anybody outside the committee. So fans voted. Gold was considered, as were Knights and Cougars.
During the Revolutionary War, angry Charlotteans drove British Gen. Charles Cornwallis out of town. Cornwallis called the city a hornets’ nest of rebellion.
Shinn talked about the name’s historical significance Tuesday. He also talked about the good old days, before he and Charlotte had a falling out, and the passion with which fans cheered his team.
He knows, and you know, that major league sports can be new only once and that it never is going to be 1988 in Charlotte again.
But to think of the days of Muggsy and Dell, LJ and Zo, Kenny Gattison and Rex, sold-out Charlotte Coliseum and screaming fans, is to smile. When I encounter a former Hornet such as Tim Kempton, whom I ran into last month, he invariably does the same.
One reason Shinn is excited about the name change is because this is his turf. He is from Kannapolis, and name-change proponents might appreciate his support and remember him more fondly.
But his enthusiasm is real. The more he talks about the Hornets, the more passionate he becomes.
“The name will bring fans back,” Shinn says.
Before we end the conversation, he says again that if Jordan wants the name, he’ll do anything he can to help.
Shinn is a friend of Benson. He says he wouldn’t merely call Benson on Jordan’s behalf. He’d go to him. He’d go to NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Charlotte and the Hornets were good to him, Shinn says.
If he can help get them together again, he will.

More on Rebranding of the Charlotte NBA franchise
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson buys New Orleans Hornets from NBA for $338 million. Sacramento’s new NBA arena deal crumbles. Will Charlotte get the Hornets name back? Will Seattle or Kansas City land a NBA franchise?
NBA: Is Michael Jordan rebranding his Charlotte Bobcats to Cats instead of Hornets?

The first Charlotte NBA team was originally named the Charlotte Spirit in 1987 before it was changed to Hornets

April 14, 1987
Pro league moving into ‘basketball country’
LEONARD LAYE The Houston Chronicle
Section Sports, Page 2, 2 STAR Edition
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The ultimate conflict or the perfect marriage? North Carolina, for decades monogamous in its love affair with college basketball, is about to find another suitor on its sports doorstep.
Pro basketball appears to be on its way to Charlotte, almost certainly bringing with it a reshaping of habits and allegiances that have been years in the making. The winters ahead could put the two sports on a collision course, in competition for the attention of basketball fans who for years have not had to choose.
What, some wonder, is going to happen when the college game heats up, when North Carolina and Duke play on some February night when Michael Jordan or Larry Bird or Magic Johnson is passing through the Charlotte Coliseum? It’s a question without an easy answer. But many of those involved in the two sports predict a peaceful and even complimentary coexistence if, as an NBA expansion committee has recommended, Charlotte is awarded a 1988-89 expansion franchise in next week’s vote of the league’s Board of Governors.
They say it will be, for Carolinians, even more of a good thing. They also say it will be different. “We both have to do well to captivate fans,” said Jeff Mullins, basketball coach and athletic director at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a former 12-year NBA veteran in St. Louis and San Francisco. “If you’re entertaining, you’re both going to get your share of fans. “The arguments that this is college vs. pro or this is football country vs. basketball country are nonsense.
If you do it with quality, it’s going to sell. If they had listened to the football people in Dallas, the NBA would never have gone there.” George Shinn, the businessman who gave birth to the Charlotte Spirit NBA effort and would be the team’s managing general partner, said he heard skeptics who said the city would not support professional sports. “But people in the NBA told me one of the biggest assets I had was that this area loved college basketball,” Shinn said. “I was told that through their experience, people who loved the college game would also fall in love with pro ball.
That was how we came up with our slogan, `Bring the NBA to basketball country.”‘ The effects of this old flame-new flame relationship would be varied. One set of circumstances would apply for the state’s four ACC teams, which usually fill their own arenas, enjoy robust television ratings and seldom play in Charlotte.
Another would govern the fate of three college teams in the Charlotte area – Davidson, UNC-Charlotte and Johnson C. Smith. Still another would involve the effect televised games would have on live audiences, whether college or pro. “With the tremendous interest we have in our game, and the interest they have in their game, I think they would work fine together,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Bob James. “We’re fortunate in that we’ve built a hard core of fans. “You have Maryland up there playing near the Washington (NBA) team, and our (television) ratings there are very good. Georgetown also has a good following in that area.
Then there’s Georgia Tech and the (Atlanta) Hawks, and Tech’s program has not been affected at all. “The only concern for us would be whether or not we’d be able to clear dates down there compatible for our tournament.” The ACC tournament could be played in the Charlotte Coliseum, under a clause in Shinn’s lease that allows the city a priority in scheduling postseason college tournaments in the arena.
Such events are frequently held in NBA cities, including Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Houston, Atlanta, East Rutherford, N.J., New York, Philadelphia and Landover, Md. (Washington). “I think college basketball has helped pro basketball, when players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and James Worthy and people like that go into the NBA with so much talent and charisma,” said North Carolina Coach Dean Smith. “I’m for the city of Charlotte and I think the NBA would be good for it. I’d enjoy seeing our (former) players come back through the area, and I know they’d enjoy it.
And I don’t see how it could hurt our program, or the ACC.” Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Cremins said the presence of the Hawks has helped his program. “When I first came, people tried to use that against me in recruiting,” Cremins said. “But I’ve had good relationships with the Hawks’ coaches, first Kevin Loughery and now Mike Fratello, and they’ve both helped me in recruiting. “The kids like living in a pro town, being able to see the pro teams play.”
That may be the biggest single advantage the Spirit could provide Davidson, UNC-Charlotte and Johnson C. Smith. There are several potential disadvantages for the three, who would be in closer proximity to the Spirit than ACC teams and most susceptible to competition at the gate. Davidson, already at a crossroads with its program, appears the most vulnerable.
The Wildcats played only three games last season in the Charlotte Coliseum, are building a 6,000-seat, on-campus arena and are a year away from leaving the Southern Conference. “We’re not going to let the introduction of pro basketball in Charlotte cause us to back down from our ambitions of playing top-quality college basketball at Davidson,” said Wildcats Athletic Director Kit Morris. “I honestly feel we can work together and that both can be successful.
UNC-Charlotte’s Mullins and Johnson C. Smith Coach Bob Moore said they thought the Spirit would provide a recruiting boost. “From the standpoint of our program in the long run, we really feel we have the base now to be successful,” said Mullins, who just completed his second season of rebuilding the 49ers. “Were this two years ago, I might not say that. “As far as recruiting goes, it’s very attractive to say (to recruits) that the NBA selected Charlotte and there’s going to be pro basketball there.
Most of the young people do have dreams, and this is just another thing we would sell about the city and what it offers.” Moore said he had sent copies of Charlotte Observer stories about the Spirit to Smith recruits. “I hope this will give me some of the advantage I don’t have in finances over some of the schools in our conference,” Moore said.
Television could have the most far-reaching impact. Too many televised Spirit games could overexpose the product. Too many televised ACC games on Spirit game nights could hurt the NBA effort.
Shinn said Charlotte will make every effort to do it the right way, scheduling as much as possible to avoid conflict with major ACC television games and attempting to work with the colleges. “College basketball would not really be our competition,” Shinn said. “Television would be our competition. “I never really liked pro basketball until a couple of years ago. You know why? I had never seen a game. And most people here have never had a chance to see the NBA. “It is different. Once people see the plays, the physical contact, the excitement of the NBA, I think they would fall in love with it, too. They would have their college allegiances, but they’d have two teams instead of one.”
April 24, 1987
NBA brings peace to Florida
Expansion signals the end of Miami-Orlando feud
By Dick Weiss
Knight-Ridder Newspapers
NEW YORK — The NBA expanded its horizons a little further than expected Wednesday. But, in doing so, the league might have put a temporary end to a festering civic war between two South Florida cities.
The NBA’s Board of Governors, refusing to choose between Miami and Orlando for an expansion franchise, voted unanimously to accept both cities into the league, along with Charlotte, N.C., and Minneapolis. Charlotte and Miami will begin play in the 1988-89 season. Minneapolis and Orlando will start the next season. Each franchise agreed to pay a $32.5 million entry fee.
The official announcement, which was made by NBA commissioner David Stern, came nearly three weeks after the NBA Expansion Committee recommended that the league admit the Charlotte Spirit and the Minnesota Timberwolves and defer a decision on either the Miami Heat or Orlando Magic until October.
Pat Williams, the former Philadelphia 76ers general manager, is the president of the Orlando franchise. Billy Cunningham, the former Sixers star and coach, is a part-owner of the Miami franchise and the first former player to enter the ownership ranks.
“We got to the mountaintop,”Williams said. “There’s a feeling of relief. We had been led to believe they weren’t going to unlock this until October. But now that they have, there`s a sense of accomplishment, a sense of history.
“Three weeks ago, it was an empty feeling,” an excited Cunningham said. “Today, I’m a little numb.”
“I found out we were in at about 1 o’clock. It didn’t really surprise me when they took both Orlando and ourselves. I think all four clubs did an excellent job. It would have been a very difficult to turn somebody away and say, ‘We don’t want you ‘ or “We don’t want you until 1995.”‘
Williams was involved in a volatile war of words with the city of Miami when it looked as if the NBA might take only one Florida franchise. He was upset over reports that one of the Miami owners had called Orlando “a second- rate city” and had questioned the Magic`s season-ticket count.
Williams pulled out some of his most caustic one-liners for the occasion. At one point, he suggested that the situation probably would be perceived “as a battle between Disney World and Miami Vice.”
But all that bickering was temporarily put aside after Stern delivered the news.
“Much has been written about the deficiencies of those two cities,”
Stern said, “but in fact, the problem for the board was choosing between them. Because of the support demonstrated in Miami and Orlando, and the civic pride and involvement by both government and fans, we couldn’t do anything but choose both.”
“The dilemma between Miami and Orlando simply was that they both are in the same state,” said Phoenix Suns owner Richard Bloch, the chairman of the expansion committee. He said Charlotte and Minneapolis were in the original recommendation because, “If we were limited to three expansion teams, we didn’t feel that two of them could be in the same state.”
Orlando and Miami both did a lot to present their best image in the last two weeks. The Magic reshuffled its ownership, making 34-year old William duPont III the majority owner instead of just one of 42 limited partners.

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