TUESDAY, 7:20pm: The Bobcats made it official on Tuesday, as the team, via chairman Michael Jordan, announced that they have submitted the necessary paperwork to change their name to the Charlotte Hornets starting with the 2014/15 season. Their request now goes to the NBA Board of Governors, who next meets in Las Vegas on July 18.
A few words from Jordan via the team's press release: “This is a monumental moment for our organization. After undergoing an elaborate research process, we recognize that this is what our fans want. We believe that making this change would not only re-establish one of the most recognized brands in sports but would also unify our fan base by bringing together our loyal Bobcats fans with those who have fond memories of our city’s NBA predecessor. Our fans spoke and we listened.”
MONDAY, 3:53pm: The Bobcats have scheduled a press conference for early Tuesday evening to officially announce the name change, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
FRIDAY, 10:46pm: The Bobcats have begun the process necessary to change their nickname to the Hornets, a source tells Will Brinson of CBSSports.com. It doesn't look like the switch will take place in time for next season, since NBA commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver told Bobcats season ticketholders last month that it would take at least 18 months to implement the change. Still, it appears the Hornets nickname, recently abandoned by the New Orleans Pelicans, could be back in Charlotte by the 2014/15 season.
Bobcats owner Michael Jordan has expressed a willingness to adopt the Hornets name, which would reunite the city with a moniker that left for New Orleans in 2002. The 'Cats began conducting market research in January on the possibility of a change, and the league has been working with the franchise to determine whether the switch would be beneficial. Jordan said in February that the results from a poll of the team's fans were "very mixed," but it looks like there's enough support for the effort to move ahead.
Silver told the season ticketholders there would be no legal hang-up, since the NBA, and not the Pelicans, owns the rights to the Hornets name. Brinson discovered that the league created and registered the NBAHornets.com URL this week.
The change might invoke fond memories in Charlotte, though it could lead to some bookkeeping headaches down the road, particularly when it comes to historical research of trades involving the former Hornets and the apparent future Hornets, one of which took place this past season.