The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

December 10, 2012

So what really is in a name anyway?

Monday, December 10, 2012 — When I first heard that the  NBA franchise in Charlotte could regain the name “Hornets”, I thought the idea was a little silly.

I first heard in my head something from an English class from days gone by when I first saw this story.

In Romeo and Juliet (Act. 2, Scene 2), Juliet tells Romeo the following: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Juliet says this to Romeo to impart to him that names are artificial and that she loves him for himself and not for his name. She asked Romeo earlier to “Deny thy father and refuse thy name,” offering to do the same as well.

The difference here is that obviously we are talking about sports and not two young people in love on opposite sides of a feud, but the point was that you love the person for who they are, not the name.

The Bobcats’ tenure in Charlotte has been marked by only one playoff appearance since the team’s first season in 2004-05, and averaged 14,757 tickets sold last year when the Bobcats set a season mark for the worst winning percentage in a season.

The Hornets mascot comes from British General Charles Cornwallis, who said in his 1780 southern campaign that Charlotte was “a hornet’s nest of rebellion.”

Proud Charlotteans adopted that moniker, and several teams, from the recent NBA team to baseball and the World Football League, have used that mascot.

I remember games at the old Charlotte Coliseum and seeing a full house of 23,000 or so Hornets fans cheering on teams that ranged from awful to good.

Those fans probably cared less about winning and losing and more about the feeling of having pro basketball in town or pulling for the visitors.

Now, the current squad has a nickname not as historically meaningful as the Hornets, as well as a color scheme that I personally don’t find as cool as the uniforms designed by Alexander Julian.

You still see Charlotte Hornets gear being worn at games; I saw a hat at Friday’s Albemarle home basketball game.

So should the Bobcats change to the Hornets?

It would appeal to the sentimentalist buried deep in every area sports fan that pulled for the Hornets.

If the Bobcats spend the several million dollars on the change, which will include changing paint schemes in the arena and a number of other cosmetic changes, the fans may come back

Instead of the New Orleans team changing their name to the Pelicans, try this three-way trade on for size: New Orleans trades Hornets to Charlotte, Charlotte trades Bobcats to Utah and Utah sends the Jazz back to New Orleans.

In lieu of that, I say bring the Hornets back to Charlotte where the name makes sense, the colors look great and the enthusiasm for both of those factors used to live.

If the new Hornets made strides to reach out to new fans by making the  games more affordable and fun for the average family, as well as putting together a product on the court that can be competitive and give fans hope for better things to come.

Any steps that a team can do to make games affordable and generate interest in the team have to be beneficial.

“Live at the Hive” can be a reality in Charlotte again.

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