The Duke Energy Center has made the biggest impact on Charlotte’s skyline in recent history, but frankly, no building in uptown has electrified the city like Time Warner Cable Arena.
Since opening 10 years ago as Charlotte Bobcats Arena – on Oct. 21, 2005 – the venue has hosted everything from professional basketball to professional wrestling to professional bull riding, from New Kids on the Block to New Year’s Eve parties, from monsters of rock to Monster Jam truck rallies.
Here’s a look back at 10 moments the arena provided that stand out in our memories.
10. Miley Cyrus cancels at the last minute (Monday, April 7, 2014): With most ticketholders already on the property, Live Nation issued this statement barely half an hour before the show’s start time: “Cyrus has been diagnosed with flu and doctors have ordered her to rest.” Cue mass disappointment and several tears. She made good on a promise to return, though, and four months later graced fans with her tattoos, her tongue, her bawdy outfits and her middle finger.
9. Johnson C. Smith University sweeps the men’s and women’s titles at the CIAA Tournament (Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009): It was a huge deal for the men, led by tournament MVP Jerry Hollis (a Victory Christian high school grad), but Coach Vanessa Taylor’s squad made school history: The win earned JCSU its first women’s conference championship trophy in the 35-year history of the tournament – which has been hosted at the arena since 2006.
8. At a New Year’s Eve concert, the crowd watches the ball drop – accidentally (Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013): Between performances by Shovels & Rope and the main act, Concord’s The Avett Brothers, a mechanical failure caused a large disco ball to come crashing down onto the stage without the benefit of a countdown. Fortunately, no one was injured.
7. Stephen Curry scores 44 points to help Davidson beat N.C. State, as LeBron James looks on (Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008): The then-junior All-American lifted the 22nd-ranked Wildcats to a 72-67 win with a display of talent that had the NBA star living and dying on every Curry shot from his seat in the front row. That night, in the same venue, James put on a show himself – scoring 25 points to help his Cleveland Cavaliers rout the Bobcats.
6. Thousands line up to audition for Season 12 of Fox’s “American Idol” (Tuesday, June 19, 2012): Host Ryan Seacrest and former champ Scotty McCreery of Garner made crowd-pleasing appearances on the Trade Street plaza – although the celebrity judging panel wasn’t in town for this round. Fun fact: Eventual winner Candice Glover of Beaufort, S.C., auditioned that day in Charlotte.
5. The Charlotte Bobcats hold off Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in triple-overtime (Friday, Dec. 29, 2006): In front of a sellout crowd of 19,561, the Lakers’ shining star posted a season-high 58 points – the most anyone had ever scored at the arena – but it wasn’t enough. He fouled out in the final 74 seconds, and Charlotte prevailed 133-124. To date, the Hornets/Bobcats have never won a playoff game here, so this stands as the organization’s greatest conquest ever.
4. Taylor Swift is the queen of pop ... and the queen of this arena (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015): Though Bruce Springsteen and Michael Bublé are hot on her 5-inch platform heels, Swift’s four visits to uptown Charlotte’s marquee venue are the most by any single artist. Her last stop was in June as part of “The 1989 World Tour”; her first was in September 2009, when Albemarle’s Kellie Pickler opened the show.
3. President Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012): The arena hosted the occasion only after becoming a backup plan – the commander-in-chief originally was supposed to speak from the 50-yard line of Bank of America Stadium, but a thunderstorm warning pushed everyone indoors. “Everyone,” of course, did not include roughly 60,000 people who had expected to be able to attend but had their invitations rescinded because of the new space limitations.
2. NBA fans in Charlotte celebrate the return of the Hornets name after a 12-year absence (Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014): After 10 seasons as the Bobcats (eight of which were losing seasons), the organization ditched a nickname that was never fully embraced and launched into an era of optimism absent since the days of Dell Curry and Muggsy Bogues. Fans came decked out in purple and teal for the season opener, and the team delivered a 108-106 overtime victory against Milwaukee.
1. The Rolling Stones open the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena in front of a sold-out crowd (Friday, Oct. 21, 2005): Baby boomers paid as much as $350 per ticket, Mick Jagger opened with the apropos “Start Me Up,” and Keith Richards – wearing a sequined jacket with his black hollow-bodied guitar slung haphazardly over his shoulder – quipped, “You really didn’t have to build a new one for us.”
Send us your photos, memories
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