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Stern: Charlotte wasn’t serious about Hornets
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On July 21, 2013 @ 8:18 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
LAS VEGAS – When NBA Commissioner David Stern first started hearing the requests of Charlotte Bobcats fans that the league give them their old ‘Hornets’ name back, he admits he didn’t take the idea seriously.
“I sort of laughed at it initially,” he said. “You know, it is what it is, get over it.”
But the public push, one that culminated with the name change being unanimously approved by the league’s owners on Thursday, never stopped.
“It stayed there, bubbling below the surface, and there is something to it,” Stern said. “I think that the team is going to receive support from fans who think that this is a step in the direction that the fans have been asking for, and this is an attempt to both satisfy the fans and its accompanied by a kind of very specific market research that allows the Hornets to say, yes, this is what the market is asking for and they’re very much serving their market by making this change.”
Charlotte lost its stake on the name in 2002, when the team moved to New Orleans. When the NBA returned via expansion in 2004, it did so under the Bobcats name. But because New Orleans changed its name to the Pelicans this year, the Hornets again became a possibility.
“As all of you know, the Charlotte Hornets have a very successful past,” Bobcats CEO Fred Whitfield said. “They have a great brand that they built. They did a lot of things the right way. They led the NBA in attendance for their first seven years. They had several playoff appearances, numerous All-Stars and had a mascot the people in our community fell in love with.
“Being a former season ticket holder of the Hornets, I understood the energy that came into that building every night. So as we look forward to the future, we’re thrilled that our Bobcats fans and our Bobcat corporate sponsors that have supported us to this point will be able to connect to the old Hornets fans and have that galvanize our community around our NBA brand.”
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