NBA Unanimously approves Hornets' return to Charlotte - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

NBA Unanimously approves Hornets' return to Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The National Basketball Association announced Thursday night that they unanimously approved the decision for the Charlotte Bobcats to take on the Charlotte Hornets name.

But fans of the Hornets weren't waiting until the big reveal to start celebrating. 

The mood was so confident amongst fans in the Queen City, that Charlotte's regularly scheduled "Alive After Five" party in the Epicenter has been redubbed "Fan Fest."

The Bobcats are bringing back some beloved players from the past including Muggsy Bogues to help build the excitement. 

The party was touted as family-friendly and have a countdown to the live broadcast when the NBA commission renders its decision.

The official announcement was a long time coming for Hornets fans. "This was a gigantic piece of my childhood," Amanda Lackey told WBTV. "My Mom and I came to every game. I skipped my prom to be at a Hornets game. It's a big deal for me, and I am so excited to see them come back."

Fans we talked to said the name change is helping to bring back old fans and create new ones.

"We are excited. My son is a big basketball fan, so we are excited about the change from the Bobcats to the Hornets. My husband is born and raised in Charlotte. We are looking forward to the color change and the mascot change," Che Quarles said.

This has been a long time coming.  A grass roots effort was started to bring the Hornets name back to Charlotte, since before the New Orleans Hornets abandoned the name in favor or the Pelicans.   

The name change will take months to implement.

Charlotte's NBA franchise will still be known as the Bobcats, but will change to the Hornets for the 2014 season. 

The New Orleans Pelicans released a statement after the Bobcats announced they would make a donation to the team's pelican fund.

"The move was made possible by New Orleans Owner Tom Benson's 2012 decision to select a more regionally appropriate nickname for the Crescent City's NBA team, which had gone by "Hornets" since moving to Louisiana in 2002. New Orleans officially became the "Pelicans" on April 18 and will have a brand-new look in 2013-14. Charlotte will play one final season as the Bobcats in 2013-14, before making the change to Hornets.

In conjunction with the historic decision to return to its popular local nickname, the Charlotte franchise is making a donation to the Pelicans Gulf Coast Preservation Fund.

"We are very pleased to transition the Hornets name to Charlotte, where the name has a unique fit and meaning to their fans, much like Pelicans has to our fans and our region," Benson said. "Working together with the Charlotte organization we were able to make this happen with the fans of both communities benefiting and we look forward to working with them on finalizing the specifics of the transition. We are also very thankful to the Charlotte organization for their contribution to the Pelicans Gulf Coast Preservation Fund. It speaks to the positive nature when two teams work together for the better good of our game, our league and our communities."

The nickname "Hornets" has a very specific historic meaning to the people of Charlotte. During the Revolutionary War, upon experiencing significant local resistance, British general Lord Cornwallis wrote back to England that Charlotte was "a veritable hornet's nest of rebellion." The phrase quickly became a symbol of pride for the city. "Charlotte Hornets" was the nickname used by now-defunct baseball and football teams prior to the NBA's arrival there."

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