The Return of the Charlotte Hornets: By the Numbers


With tomorrow’s season opener looming, many Charlotte fans are looking back nostalgically at the days of the original Charlotte Hornets.  With that in mind, we compiled some interesting statistics/figures that tell the story of the Charlotte Hornets through numbers:

$4 millionEstimated cost of rebranding to the Charlotte Hornets.

For years, the rumor in Charlotte had been that changing the name of the Charlotte Bobcats would be too risky and too expensive for ownership to seriously consider.  The Bobcats still hadn’t existed for even a decade; and given the low popularity and attendance of the team, changing the identity would be considered a major expense, and a risky investment, for Michael Jordan.  Still, thanks to the efforts of Charlotte fans throughout the country, specifically the guys at Bring Back the Buzz, Jordan pulled the trigger, and he will likely become a much wealthier man for it.  The increased interest surrounding the team is undeniable; fans got their team back, and as a result, they’re more than willing to pay good money to see and support their Charlotte Hornets.

10,051 – Days since David Stern announced the expansion of the Charlotte basketball franchise.

On April 22, 1987, the Queen City officially received its first professional sports franchise.  Charlotte has never been the same since; Hornets fever swept the city, as did adoration for the Panthers after their expansion in the mid-90’s.  Charlotte’s infatuation with its sports teams took off in the 1990’s, and in 2014, with both teams returning from playoff appearances, the Queen City may be back at that level.

10,000 – Signatures on petition to change the name of the Charlotte Bobcats back to the Charlotte Hornets.

Chalk this up to the guys at Bring Back The Buzz for their valiant grassroots effort to bring the back the name of the team Charlotte first fell in love with.  Nostalgia, combined with the inability of the Bobcats to draw even the slightest interest (or money) of Charlotte basketball fans, fueled this desire to bring back the Charlotte Hornets name.  Without this petition, it’s hard to imagine Michael Jordan pulling the trigger on the name switch.

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  • 4,549 – Days since the last Hornets home game.

    The last time Charlotte saw their Hornets up close and personal, the Hornets were in the midst of a 2002 Playoffs series with the New Jersey Nets.  The Hornets dropped the game, which only intensifies the hunger of the city to see the Hornets win at The Hive again.

    4,552 – Days since the last ever Charlotte Hornets game.

    Three days later, the Hornets dropped Game 5 of the same series to the Nets, marking the end of an era in Charlotte.  Fans would go another two years before the Charlotte Bobcats became the latest addition to the NBA.

    377 – Wins in the Hornets’ first ten years as a franchise.

    The Hornets saw some early expansion growing pains, but grew into a solid team as the 1990’s kicked off.  They saw much more success, adoration, and popularity in this span than in the…

    293 – Wins as the Charlotte Bobcats

    Yes, this includes the 7-win, sub-.200 season that we all choose to pretend never happened.  The Bobcats struggled to find their footing, especially early on, but Rich Cho and company are slowly building Charlotte into an Eastern Conference contender once again.  The Hornets are suddenly a more attractive team on the free agent market, and the recent signings of Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson show that the team is ready to shed the losing aura that hung above the Charlotte Bobcats.

    20 – Playoff wins by the Charlotte Hornets.

    Not only did the Charlotte Hornets make the postseason, but they actually won some games!  The farthest the Hornets ever made it into the postseason was the Eastern Conference Semifinals, thanks to running into now-owner Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and the red-hot New Jersey Nets in the early 2000’s.  Still, this is a much happier number of wins to see than…

    0 – Playoff wins by the Charlotte Bobcats.

    The Charlotte Bobcats crept into the postseason twice, only to be rewarded with sweeps by Florida’s hottest teams at the moment.  Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic swept Charlotte in 2010, and LeBron James and co. did the same in 2014.

    13 – Jersey number of the late Bobby Phills.

    Phills played for Charlotte in the late 1990’s, and suffered an untimely passing on January 12, 2000.  The Charlotte Hornets retired Phills’ number a month later, and now, the team plans to raise his jersey into the rafters once again.  The jersey retiring ceremony will take place November 1, as the Hornets will take on the Memphis Grizzlies.

    7 – Playoff appearances by the Charlotte Hornets.

    2 – Playoff appearances by the Charlotte Bobcats.

    1 – Days left until the Charlotte Hornets season opener.

    After years of longing, the wait is no more; tomorrow night, the Charlotte Hornets will return to the Queen City, in the new Hive, with a new look and a new attitude.  This is the most important Opening Night in my lifetime as a Charlotte basketball fan, and for many others as well.  Time Warner Cable Arena will likely be sold out, filled with 20,000 loud, tuxedo t-shirt clad members of Buzz City.  The wait is finally over.  Are you ready?