Local News Features
Thu December 20, 2012
Charlotte Hornets' Fans Leverage Social Media To "Bring Back The Buzz"
There’s been a lot of BUZZ recently about a certain name returning to Charlotte. Yes, the speculation is the Hornets name could be coming back to the city's NBA team. The New owner of the New Orleans Hornets wants to change the team’s name to something a little more Louisiana-centric. When the news broke December 4 that the NBA team could drop the name as early as next season, it excited a lot of people who were upset when the Hornets left in 2002.
We found this on the website bringbackthebuzz.com. Appalachian state junior Evan Kent and his brother Scotty created it about a year ago. Native Charlotteans and die-hard Hornets fans, they’re trying to leverage all the media attention the story’s been getting into support for their cause. Their twitter feed now has over two thousand followers.
Evan says he thinks bringing the "Hornets" name back to Charlotte’s NBA team would renew fan support. He remembers the glory days in the '90s when Charlotte regularly led the league in attendance. He says, “it was exciting because you’d see the stands full, and they’d be as passionate as you were. I go to a Bobcats game now, and you see sections covered over in plastic. It really breaks my heart.”
For folks like Evan Kent,
the Bobcats name conjures up memories of the team’s unpopular original owner.
“I think it all stems from Bob Johnson, and his lack of communication with the community. And I think right off the gate with the name, it just put a sour taste in people’s mouths…and when we got polled for the name, I don’t know anybody who wanted the Bobcats. And then they immediately thought Bob Johnson,” he says.
And the Bobcats’ record hasn’t helped matters either. Their last season was the worst of any team in NBA history.
The Hornets name has roots in Charlotte that extend well beyond the NBA team’s formation in 1988. In fact, it dates all the way back to the Revolutionary War. In 1780, Lord Cornwallis marched into Charlotte, expecting to easily solidify a British foothold in the city. Instead, his troops encountered a flurry of attacks, including a crushing defeat at the battle of Kings’ Mountain. Less than a month later, Cornwallis left, calling the area “a hornet’s nest of rebellion.”
It turns out the Kent brothers weren’t alone in trying to Bring Back the Buzz. The Hornets nostalgia has inspired tributes of all sorts, including this cheeky take on “the night before Christmas," written by John Morgan.
'Twas the night before tipoff
and all through the hive
not a Bobcat was stirring
no purr had survived.
The polls and the research,
done all over town,
proved teal jewels were needed
in Queen Charlotte's Crown...
The Kents have joined forces with Morgan. He also started an online petition to rename Charlotte’s NBA franchise the Hornets. It now has more than 7,000 signatures. Together, they’re organizing a "SWARM" night at a Bobcats game next month, encouraging fans to wear the Hornets’ teal and purple.
But not everyone is putting their kids to sleep with visions of Muggsy Bogues dancing in their heads. Bobcats' season ticket holder Katrice Branner has only lived in Charlotte for six years. She says the Bobcats are all her family knows. "Until [a name change] is much more realistic, I don’t think it’s worth talking about. I think we’re the Bobcats, and until otherwise, we’ll cheer for the Bobcats.”
It would cost the Bobcats $3 million to buy the rights to the Hornets name, if and when New Orleans drops it. Michael Jordan has said he would consider it. But the team would have to weigh the additional costs of changing the team logo and colors, and the risks of offending people like Branner who are happy with the team as it is.
Meanwhile, supporters of "Bring Back the Buzz" will be waiting.