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Forbes: Charlotte has "most disloyal" NBA fans

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A new ranking out of the National Basketball Association (NBA) fan loyalty ranks Charlotte Bobcats fans as the most disloyal in the nation.

The annual ranking, released Wednesday by Forbes Magazine, listed Bobcats as worst in the NBA when it came to team loyalty.

Also making the worst fans list were the Sacramento Kings, who may be moving out of California, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Bobcats have struggled since their inception in 2004 and have only made it to the playoffs once. The team ended its 2012-2013 season on Wednesday, finishing with an overall record of 21-61.

Maybe Queen City fans are still bitter about the fight that eventual led to the Hornets leaving town for New Orleans in 2002.

But that may be about to change, giving Charlotte basketball fans a reason to get behind their team again.

Charlotte has been a buzz lately with word that the Bobcats are exploring rebranding the team as the Hornets, since New Orleans is adopting the nickname Pelicans.

One of the loudest voices behind the rebrand has been John Morgan, co-founder of Bring Back the Buzz - a group that has been pushing for the Hornets to come back to Charlotte.

"First of all, you have to question the methodology of an index that would rank the notoriously fair weather and fickle fans of Miami a full four-spots ahead of Oklahoma City's Thunderous followers," Morgan told WBTV on Friday.

"One thing I noticed: while it does factor in the given team's performance, it is much more focused on how said team projects itself within the community.  It's for that reason that I'd like to rechristen this a 'brand loyalty' survey.  There's no denying it - the Heat are (ahem) hot.  They sell gear throughout the world.  They are currently the biggest draw in one of the biggest markets in the country.  Using the criteria outlined in this piece, I can see why they're number one."

He says it is also obvious why Charlotte is ranked at the bottom. 

"Everything that the Heat have going for them, well...we don't.  We're coming off of two truly tough seasons on the floor.  Our current front office is still attempting to right the wrongs of years of missteps by their predecessors," he continued

"And then, there's the branding.  We sell less gear than any other team in the league.  Our TV viewership: you guessed it...last in the league (by quite a bit).  I'll tell ya, the scariest part of the list comes in at #29: the Sacramento Kings, or should I say the soon-to-be Seattle Supersonics.  The Charlotte Hornets 2.0 Rebranding Effort has nothing to do with petty nostalgias or ego trips, it's about taking our beloved franchise out of this sort of company and back into the upper tier, a place our original squad most-assuredly dominated during the majority of its run here."

In his farewell interview with the team in New Orleans Wednesday night, Hugo the Hornet told the team he would be training his replacement Pelican mascot over the summer. One of the people mentioned as a person of inspiration for Hugo? Bobcats Team Owner Michael Jordan.

Earlier this week in an interview with WBTV, Jordan said he was still working on the possibility of bringing the Hornets name back to Charlotte and that the thought of the Charlotte Hornets "sounds good."

"We know the rebrand won't 'fix' everything that ails this franchise; not by a long shot," Morgan told WBTV on Friday. "That being said, changing the name - reacquiring a brand that is synonymous with this city throughout the globe -   is part of what we see as a holistic restructuring of things from the bottom up.  While the powers that be do their level best to improve the on-court product, the rebrand would provide a jolt of excitement for an organization that sorely needs something - ANYTHING - to invigorate a fan base that, by most any metric, is currently less-enthused than it needs to be in order to sustain this team for the future."

"I've said it before: the only thing worse than negativity in these sorts of situations is apathy.  Change the name," he said. "Bring back Hugo and the teal and the purple and the Honeybees.  Then talk to me about 'fan loyalty'." 

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