Tom and Gayle Benson, new owners of the New Orleans Hornets, continue their lobbying to rebrand their NBA franchise. That could eventually result in Charlotte getting back the name “Hornets.”
In a pregame television interview before Wednesday’s Hornets-Utah Jazz game, Gayle Benson said she’d like to change the team’s colors from teal-and-purple to red-gold-and-navy blue. The Bensons have said from their initial takeover of the team that they’d like to change the nickname to something more associated with Louisiana.
That could open the door to the Bobcats acquiring the Hornets’ name, as some Carolinas fans have advocated. The Hornets played in Charlotte from 1988 through their departure for New Orleans in 2002.
Many Charlotteans still are attracted to the Hornets’ name and the teal-and-purple pinstripe uniforms. It’s become somewhat of a fashion statement among young fans to wear Charlotte Hornets throw-back merchandise.
However, if and when the Bensons rename their team isn’t ultimately up to them. Following the airing of Gayle Benson’s interview, the NBA issued a statement reiterating that any name, color or logo change must be cleared by the league office and that hasn’t happened.
Bobcats owner Michael Jordan said in an Observer interview earlier this month that he was receptive to considering a name change to the Hornets, should the Bensons give up that name.
“It’s definitely an interest down the road, but right now it’s the New Orleans Hornets,” Jordan told the Observer. “We would definitely entertain the opportunity. That’s as much as we can say right now. We’ve heard the community ask the question, and we would listen.”
There’s no telling what the cost or lead time of a name change would entail. However, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said last April in Charlotte that this would be an easier process than other name changes because the league already owns the rights to the name “Charlotte Hornets.”