The Charlotte Hornets are an American professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team is part of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Hornets were originally established in 1988 as an expansion team. In 2002, the first incarnation of the franchise relocated to New Orleans and became the New Orleans Hornets (now the New Orleans Pelicans). A new expansion team (originally named as the Charlotte Bobcats) began play in 2004. The Hornets play their home games at Spectrum Center in uptown Charlotte.
The original Hornets franchise was established in 1988 as an expansion team, owned by George Shinn. In 2002, Shinn's franchise relocated to New Orleans and became the New Orleans Hornets (now the New Orleans Pelicans). In 2004, the NBA established the Charlotte Bobcats, which was regarded as a new expansion team at the time. In 2013, the New Orleans franchise announced it would rebrand itself the New Orleans Pelicans, ultimately returning the Hornets name, records, and official history (spanning from 1988 to 2002) to Charlotte. The Bobcats were officially renamed the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014–15 season.
1988–2002: Original Charlotte Hornets/George Shinn era
1985–1988: Birth of the Hornets
In 1985, the NBA was planning to expand by three teams by the 1988–1989 season, later modified to include a total of four expansion teams. George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, wanted to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area, and he assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise. The Charlotte area had long been a hotbed for college basketball. Charlotte was also one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and was previously one of the three in-state regional homes to the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars from 1969 to 1974.
Despite doubt from critics, Shinn's ace in the hole was the Charlotte Coliseum, a state-of-the-art arena that would seat almost 24,000 spectators – the largest basketball-specific arena ever to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. On April 5, 1987, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern called Shinn to tell him his group had been awarded the 24th NBA franchise, to begin play in 1988. Franchises were also granted to Miami, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and Orlando.
Originally, the new team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but a name-the-team contest yielded "Hornets" as the winning choice. The team received further attention when it chose teal as its primary color, setting off a sports fashion craze in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The team's uniforms, designed by international designer and North Carolina native Alexander Julian, featured a first for NBA uniforms—pin stripes. Similar designs by other teams followed, as they became a hit.
Shinn hired Carl Scheer as the team's first President and General Manager. Scheer preferred a roster of veteran players, hoping to put together a competitive team as soon as possible. Former college coach and veteran NBA assistant Dick Harter was hired as the team's first head coach. In 1988, the Hornets and the Miami Heat were part of the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft. Unlike many expansion franchises that invest in the future with a team composed entirely of young players, Charlotte stocked its inaugural roster with several veterans in hopes of putting a competitive lineup on the court right away. The team also had three draft picks at the 1988 NBA draft.
1988–1992: Early seasons
The Hornets' first NBA game took place on November 4, 1988, at the Charlotte Coliseum, losing 133–93 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Four days later, the team notched its first-ever victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, 117–105. On December 23, 1988, the Hornets really gave their fans something to cheer about, beating Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls 103–101 in Jordan's first return to North Carolina as a professional. The Hornets finished their inaugural season with a record of 20–62. Scheer left prior to the 1989–90 season.
Despite initial concerns that the Coliseum was too big, the Hornets were a runaway hit, leading the NBA in attendance, a feat they would achieve seven more times in Charlotte. Eventually, the Hornets would sell out 364 consecutive games.
The Hornets' second season was a struggle from start to finish. Members of the team rebelled against Dick Harter's defense-oriented style, and he was replaced mid-season by assistant Gene Littles following an 8–32 start. Despite the change, the team continued to struggle, finishing the season with a disappointing 19–63 record.
The team showed improvement during the following season. They won eight of their first fifteen games, including a 120–105 victory over the Washington Bullets. However, the team went cold, losing their next eleven games. The Hornets, who hosted the 1991 NBA All-Star Game, finished with a 26–56 record. Despite the team's seven-game improvement over the previous season, Gene Littles was fired at the end of the season and replaced by general manager Allan Bristow.
With the first pick in the 1991 NBA draft, the Hornets drafted power forward Larry Johnson from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Johnson had an impact season, finishing among the league leaders in points and rebounds, and winning the 1992 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Additionally, Guard Kendall Gill led the club in scoring, averaging over 20 points per game. The team stayed in contention for a playoff spot until March, but finished the year with a 31–51 record.
1992–1995: Johnson/Mourning era
The Hornets were in the lottery again in 1992 and won the second overall pick in the draft, using it to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning. Charlotte now had two 20–10 threats in Johnson and Mourning, who with Kendall Gill, formed perhaps the league's top young trio. The team finished their fifth season at 44–38, their first-ever winning record and good enough for the first playoff berth in franchise history. Finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets upset the Boston Celtics in the first round, with Mourning winning the series with a 20-footer in game four. However, the Hornets lacked the experience and depth to defeat the New York Knicks, falling in five games in the second round.
The Hornets finished the 1993–94 season with a 41–41 record, narrowly missing the playoffs. Despite injuries to both Johnson and Mourning, the two led the team in points-per-game.
In the 1994–95 season, the Hornets finished with a 50–32 record, returning to the playoffs. Johnson and Mourning again led the team in points-per-game, while also leading the club in rebounding. However, Charlotte was bounced from the playoffs in the first round, falling to the Chicago Bulls in four games. Following the season, the Hornets traded Mourning to the Miami Heat for forward Glen Rice, center Matt Geiger, and guard Khalid Reeves.
1995–1998: Glen Rice era
Glen Rice would make an immediate impact after joining the Hornets, leading the team in scoring and points-per-game during the 1995–96 season. While Rice and Johnson provided high-powered scoring, Geiger tied with Johnson for the team lead in rebounds, and All-Star guard Kenny Anderson ran the point for the injured Muggsy Bogues. The Hornets were competitive but failed to qualify for the playoffs, again finishing with a 41–41 record. Allan Bristow resigned at the end of the season, and was replaced by Dave Cowens.
The 1996 off-season was again marked by vast changes: Anderson declined to re-sign, Johnson was shipped to the Knicks for power forward Anthony Mason, and the team made a trade on draft day 1996, acquiring center Vlade Divac from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for the rights to rookie Kobe Bryant, who the Hornets picked 13th overall. The new-look Hornets were successful, with Divac and Geiger providing the center combination, Mason averaging a double-double, Bogues back at the point, and Rice having the finest season of his career. The team achieved the best season in its history at the time, finishing 54–28, and making it back to the playoffs. Despite the success during the regular season, the Hornets went down rather meekly to the Knicks in three games.
The 1997–98 season was also successful. Muggsy Bogues was traded two games into the season, and the team picked up point guard David Wesley and shooting guard Bobby Phills. With Wesley, Phills, Rice, Mason, and Divac, the Hornets romped through the regular season, finishing with a 51–31 record. The Hornets made it to back-to-back playoffs for the first time in franchise history, advancing to the second round, only to be stopped by the Bulls.
1998–2002: Final years of original personnel
The 1998–99 season was shortened. The season did not start until February, as the lockout shortened the regular season to only 50 games. Additionally, Glen Rice was traded to the Lakers for Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell, and Dave Cowens resigned midway through the season. He was replaced by former Celtics teammate Paul Silas, who became the team's fifth head coach. The team finished with a 26–24 record, but failed to qualify for the playoffs.
The next three seasons (1999–2000, 2000–01 and 2001–02) saw the Hornets in the playoffs each year, reaching the conference semifinals twice. Before the Hornets were eliminated from the 2002 playoffs, the NBA approved a deal for the team to move to New Orleans following the season. The move came mainly because attendance tailed off dramatically, reportedly due to Shinn's declining popularity in the city.
Charlotte Bobcats (2004–2014)
Creating the Bobcats
When the Hornets relocated to New Orleans for the 2002–03 season, the NBA promised Charlotte leaders that the city would be granted an NBA expansion team for the 2004–05 season. Several ownership groups, including one led by former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, made bids for the team. On December 17, 2002, a group led by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson was awarded the franchise, becoming one of the first prominent African American owners in U.S. professional sports. On June 15, 2006 it was announced that NBA legend and North Carolina native Michael Jordan would become the second largest shareholder in the Bobcats and become the owner in 2008. As part of the deal, Jordan became head of basketball operations. Another notable co-owner is the rapper Nelly.
In June 2003, the new team was named the Bobcats. Bobcats, along with Charlotte Flight and Charlotte Dragons were the top three choices as voted by fans. The Charlotte Regional Sports Commission aided with the "Help Name The Team" effort that drew over 1,250 suggestions. The bobcat, an expert at survival according to the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, is athletic, fierce and an indigenous predator to the Carolinas. Charlotte, already being home to the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, made the cat-related name a natural choice for the area's new basketball team.
Despite failed attempts at the ballot box to fully fund a new uptown arena, city politicians decided to go ahead with plans and implemented a hotel and leisure tax in Charlotte to help pay for it. George Shinn, owner of the Hornets, also wanted the city to pay for a new arena, and subsequently left town for New Orleans when it failed to do so.
2004–2006: Beginnings of a franchise
The Bobcats held their expansion draft on June 22, 2004, picking up such seasoned players as Predrag Drobnjak and talented youngsters such as Sacramento Kings forward Gerald Wallace. They also traded with the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire the second pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, which they used to select Emeka Okafor, a center from Connecticut. Okafor went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2005.
The Bobcats first game of the 2004–05 season took place on November 4 and was a 103–96 loss to the Washington Wizards. Two days later they won their first game in franchise history over the Orlando Magic, 111–100. On December 14, the Bobcats really gave their fans something to roar about, beating the New Orleans Hornets 94–93 in overtime in the team's first trip to Charlotte after the move. The Bobcats would go on to post an 18–64 record finishing in 4th place in their division. In the 2005 NBA Draft, the Bobcats drafted two North Carolina players: Raymond Felton and Sean May. With these two players, in addition to Okafor, the Bobcats hoped to build a young, solid foundation for future success. The 2005–06 season saw the Bobcats finish with a record of 26–56, a slight improvement over the previous year. Adam Morrison, from Gonzaga, was selected with the third pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. The Bobcats again improved on their record from the previous two seasons, finishing the 2006–07 season with a 33–49 record.
On March 13, 2007, Jordan announced that head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who had guided the team for its first three seasons, would not return to coach the 2007–08 season. Jordan stated that Bickerstaff would finish the rest of the current season and that he remained an integral part of the organization. Candidates interviewing for the head coaching position included Stan Van Gundy, Paul Silas, Herb Williams, and Mike Fratello. Two months later the team announced that Sam Vincent, a former assistant with the Dallas Mavericks, would be the second coach in franchise history.
2007: A year to forget
The front office was a key issue for the Bobcats during the 2007 offseason. Rod Higgins was hired as general manager, assuming the same role he filled with the Golden State Warriors. Phil Ford was added to the coaching staff over the summer, and another position was filled when Buzz Peterson was hired from Coastal Carolina University, where he served as head basketball coach, to become director of player personnel.
Brandan Wright was selected with the eighth pick by the Bobcats in the 2007 NBA Draft. He was subsequently traded to Golden State in a deal that included Jason Richardson being sent to Charlotte. Gerald Wallace, the team's leading scorer for the 2006–07 season, was resigned to a reported six-year contract. Unfortunately, the Bobcats were unable to capitalize on offseason moves, finishing the 2007–08 season with a disappointing 32–50 record. The team, which felt confident the season would end with its first playoff berth, struggled amid rumors of players clashing with the coach. Only lasting a year, in which he struggled with personnel decisions, Sam Vincent was fired as head coach on April 26, 2008.
2008–2010: The Larry Brown era
Front office and coaching were key focuses for the Bobcats during the 2007 offseason. Rod Higgins was hired as general manager, and Sam Vincent was hired as the second head coach in franchise history. In the 2007 NBA draft, Brandan Wright was selected by the Bobcats with the eighth pick; he was subsequently traded to Golden State for Jason Richardson.
On April 29, 2008 the Bobcats reached an agreement to hire Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Brown as the third head coach in franchise history. In the 2008 NBA draft, the Bobcats selected D. J. Augustin from Texas ninth overall. On December 10, 2008, a little over a month into the season, the Bobcats obtained Boris Diaw and Raja Bellin a trade with Phoenix. The trade turned out to be successful as the team came close to reaching the franchise's first playoff berth, but finished four games out of eighth place with a record of 35-47. Following the season, majority owner Bob Johnson announced he was putting the team up for sale.
2009–10: Michael Jordan becomes owner of the Bobcats
During the offseason, the team picked Gerald Henderson from Duke 12th overall in the 2009 NBA draft. The Bobcats traded Emeka Okafor for New Orleans Hornets' center Tyson Chandler, and through more trades acquired Stephen Jackson and Acie Law from the Golden State Warriors. On February 27, 2010, it was announced that Johnson had decided to sell the team to Jordan, allowing Jordan to become the first former NBA player to become majority owner of a franchise.
On April 9, 2010, the Bobcats clinched their first playoff berth since 2002 with a 104–103 road win over the New Orleans Hornets, finishing the 2009–10 season with an overall record of 44–38, their first-ever winning season. Gerald Wallace was a huge factor in the playoff run as he became the Bobcats' first and only ever NBA All-Star. However, the Bobcats were swept by the Orlando Magic in 4 games.
2010–14: Final years of the Bobcats
Despite the departures of Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler, the Bobcats hoped to make the playoffs for a second straight season. Following a dismal 9–19 start, Jordan announced that Larry Brown had stepped down as head coach. Paul Silas was hired as their new head coach the same day. The Bobcats sent Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers and received two first round draft picks, Joel Przybilla, Sean Marks, and Dante Cunningham, also acquiring D. J. White and Morris Peterson in a trade with the Thunder. Going down the stretch, injuries to both Stephen Jackson and Tyrus Thomas derailed any chances of Charlotte trying to catch the Indiana Pacers for the eighth spot in the east. In the end, the Bobcats finished the season with a 34–48 record overall, finishing 25–29 under Silas.
On June 13, 2011, the Bobcats made some changes to their front office by hiring former Trail Blazers general manager Rich Cho to the same position and promoting Rod Higgins to President of Basketball Operations. During the 2011 NBA draft the Bobcats sent Jackson, Shaun Livingston, and the 19th pick to Milwaukee and received Corey Maggette and the 7th pick in return. The Bobcats used that pick to draft Bismack Biyombo and with their 9th pick drafted Connecticut's Kemba Walker, the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
In the lockout-shortened 2011–12 season, Charlotte lost often, including their last 23 games. During their season finale against the New York Knicks, the Bobcats recorded yet another loss as their win percentage dropped to .106, setting a new record for the worst season ever by an NBA team (as this season was shortened by the lockout, the 1972–73 Philadelphia 76ers still hold the record for most losses in a season with 73). Overall, the team's record was 7–59. On April 30, 2012, the Bobcats announced that Silas would not return as head coach. St. John's assistant Mike Dunlap was named as his successor.
Despite finishing the season with the worst record in NBA history, the Bobcats received the second overall pick. With the second pick in the 2012 NBA draft, the Bobcats selected Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and selected Jeffery Taylor with the 31st pick. They also added Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and Brendan Haywood in free agency. The Bobcats won their first game against the Pacers, snapping their 23-game losing streak. The team seemed to rebound with a 7–5 start to the season. However, they promptly went on an 18-game losing streak from which they never recovered, snapping the streak with a win at Chicago. Charlotte finished 21–61, the second-worst record in the league. Dunlap was fired on April 23, reportedly because the players were turned off by his heavy-handed coaching style. He would be replaced by former Los Angeles Lakers assistant head coach Steve Clifford.
During the 2013 NBA draft, the Bobcats selected power forward/center Cody Zeller 4th overall. The Bobcats would also obtain former Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson in free agency. In February 2014, the team received Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour in a trade with the Bucks. The new players and coaching staff worked as the Bobcats clinched a playoff berth for the second time in franchise history by beating Cleveland on the road. Charlotte finished the regular season 43–39. However, the Bobcats were swept in four games by defending champion Miami Heat in the first round.
2014–present: Return of the Hornets
On May 21, 2013, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan officially announced the organization had submitted in an application for a team name change pending an unanimous decision by the NBA Board of Governors. The Hornets naming rights previously had belong to the New Orleans franchise who had previously changed their name to the Pelicans in which the League bought out the rights to name. On July 18, 2013 NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the process would take 18 months for name change but the fact that the league owned the rights to the name would help speed up the process. That same day the Board of Governors unanimously approved the name change which will take place after the 2013-14 NBA season. On November 22, 2013, Jordan announced the team would adopt the Hornets original colors of Teal and Purple. During a December 21, 2013 game at halftime the team held a ceremony with former original Hornets players Muggsy Bogues & Rex Chapman unveiling the new Hornets logo.
On January 16, 2014, the Bobcats revealed new Hornets shirts, hats and gear.
On May 20, 2014, the Bobcats officially became the second incarnation of the Charlotte Hornets. At a press conference regarding the change, team officials also announced that as part of a deal with the NBA and the Pelicans, the renamed Hornets reclaimed the history and records of the 1988–2002 Hornets (in a move similar to that of the National Football League's Cleveland Browns return to the league in 1999), while all of the Hornets' records during their time in New Orleans from 2002 to 2013 remained with the Pelicans. Charlotte had already been using past footage of the original Hornets as part of the "Buzz City" campaign.
In the 2014 NBA draft, the Hornets had the 9th overall pick from an earlier trade with the Detroit Pistons, which they used to select Noah Vonleh from Indiana. In the same draft they acquired UConn Husky Shabazz Napier, Dwight Powell from Stanford, and Semaj Christon from Xavier in the second round. They later traded Napier to the Heat for P. J. Hairston (formerly from UNC), the rights to the 55th pick, Miami's 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations. The team also picked up Scotty Hopson(whom they would trade to New Orleans) and cash considerations in free agency.
During their first year of free agency as the Hornets, the team signed former Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson. The Hornets also signed former Jazz and Atlanta Hawks forward Marvin Williams to a two-year deal. A mostly difficult year led to a 33–49 record overall and a 4th-place finish in the division. Stephenson was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes who was later traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for Courtney Lee.
The following year, the team improved to 48–34 overall, following the acquisition of players such as Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb, and Jeremy Lin. It was the best season in franchise history since the original Hornets era. Charlotte returned to the playoffs, where they lost to the Heat in seven games in the first round.
In the offseason, Jeremy Lin would go to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Al Jefferson to the Indiana Pacers, and Courtney Lee to the New York Knicks, but the Hornets were able to re-sign Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams, as well as bring in former All-star Roy Hibbert, Marco Belinelli and Ramon Sessions for a second stint. Hibbert would be traded mid-season to the Milwaukee Bucks with Spencer Hawes for center Miles Plumlee. Kemba Walker was named an Eastern Conference All-star as a reserve, the first all-star game of his career. The Hornets would finish the season with a 36–46 record, missing out on the playoffs.
The Hornets had a successful 2017 offseason. They shipped Plumlee and Belinelli and the 41st pick in the 2017 NBA draft to the Atlanta Hawks for former All-star Dwight Howard and the 31st pick in the 2017 draft. The trade reunited Howard with head coach Steve Clifford, both of whom worked together during Howard's time in Orlando and Los Angeles. In the draft, Charlotte selected Malik Monk with the 11th overall pick, as well as Frank Jackson with the 31st pick. They then sent Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans for cash considerations and swing man Dwayne Bacon who was drafted 40th overall. Sessions signed with the New York Knicks, and, to replace the backup guard, they brought in former rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams from the Chicago Bulls.
In the 2017–18 season Kemba Walker was selected for his second NBA All Star appearance and passed Dell Curry for most three-pointers and the all-time leading scorer. At the end of the 2017–18 season, the Hornets did not renew the contract of general manager Rich Cho. In April 2018, Mitch Kupchak was named as the new president of basketball operations and general manager. On April 13, 2018, the Hornets fired head coach Steve Clifford after five seasons, who coached the team to a 196–214 record total.
On May 10, 2018, the Hornets hired James Borrego as head coach.
On July 23, 2018, Tony Parker, who spent the past 17 years of his career with the San Antonio Spurs, signed with the Hornets.
On January 24, 2019, Kemba Walker was named an All-Star Game starter for the Eastern Conference, his first starting role in an All-Star Game, and matched only Glen Rice for his third All-Star Game appearance in his Hornets career. The 2018-19 season was the last of eight seasons that Walker was on the roster as he joined the Boston Celtics on July 6, 2019.
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Percentage
|1992-93||44||38||.537|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Charlotte 3, Boston 1|
New York 3, Charlotte 1
|1994-95||50||32||.610||Lost First Round||Chicago 3, Charlotte 1|
|1996-97||54||28||.659||Lost First Round||New York 3, Charlotte 0|
|1997-98||51||31||.622|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Charlotte 3, Atlanta 1|
Chicago 4, Charlotte 1
|1999-2000||49||33||.598||Lost First Round||Philadelphia 3, Charlotte 1|
|2000-01||46||36||.561|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Charlotte 3, Miami 0|
Milwaukee 4, Charlotte 3
|2001-02||44||38||.537|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Charlotte 3, Orlando 1|
New Jersey 4, Charlotte 1
|2009-10||44||38||.537||Lost First Round||Orlando 4, Charlotte 0|
|2013-14||43||29||.524||Lost First Round||Miami 4, Charlotte 0|
|2015-16||48||34||.585||Lost First Round||Miami 4, Charlotte 3|
- 7 - Dwayne Bacon
- 5 - Nicolas Batum
- 8 - Bismack Biyombo
- 0 - Miles Bridges
- 23 - Robert Franks
- 4 - Devonte' Graham
- 41 - Willy Hernangómez
- 14 - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
- 11 - Cody Martin
- 6 - Jalen McDaniels
- 1 - Malik Monk
- 3 - Terry Rozier
- 25 - P. J. Washington
- 2 - Marvin Williams
- 40 - Cody Zeller
|Charlotte Bobcats head coaches|
Franchise records, awards and honors
Gerald Wallace is the first Charlotte Bobcat to become an All-Star.
Logos and arenas
The alternate logo features an orange bobcat head on a blue and silver basketball. It was changed in 2008 and features the face of the orange and blue bobcat head with part of a silver basketball on the right corner. This is currently the center court logo at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Since their creation, home jerseys have been white reading "Bobcats" in orange with blue and black trimming. The primary away jersey is orange reading "Charlotte" in white with blue and black trimming. In the 2006 offseason, the Bobcats announced a new alternate away jersey which debuted during the 2006–07 season. The alternate jersey is blue and read reads "Bobcats" in white on a with black, orange and white trimming. Racing Day blue alternates used to honor Charlotte's NASCAR fanbase.
For the 2009-10 season, the Bobcats redesigned their uniforms. It will be a mix of the old Charlotte Hornets and the Bobcats colors. Home uniform is white and features the arched "Bobcats" in blue with orange and white trim. Road uniform is blue and features the arched "Charlotte" in white with blue and orange trim. Both designs feature silver pinstripes, similar to what the Hornets have worn for most of their existence. The NASCAR alternates were also updated to include the pinstripes.
The Charlotte Hornets first played their games at the Charlotte Coliseum from 1988–2002, until the first incarnation of the franchise moved to New Orleans to become the New Orleans Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans). When the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004 as the Charlotte Bobcats, the team played its first season in the Coliseum, as a new replacement, Charlotte Bobcats Arena, was being built. The city closed the Coliseum in the offseason of 2005, and opened the new arena with a Rolling Stones concert shortly before the new 2005–06 season.
- Charlotte Coliseum (1988–2002, 2004–2005)
- Spectrum Center (formerly Time Warner Cable Arena, and Charlotte Bobcats Arena) (2005–present)
In April 2008, the Bobcats reached a naming rights deal with Time Warner Cable, the Charlotte area's largest cable television provider. In exchange for the naming rights, Time Warner agreed to tear up the cable television deal that had limited the Bobcats' exposure over the team's first four years.
Following Charter Communications' purchase of TWC, the arena was renamed Spectrum Center, in accordance with Charter's trade name for its cable services.
For the Bobcats' first season, Johnson partnered with Time Warner to create Carolinas Sports Entertainment Television (C-SET), a regional sports network. It aired 60 Bobcats games that also shown on Comporium Cable in the South Carolina portion of the Charlotte market. However, Time Warner placed C-SET on its digital package as an incentive to try to get customers to switch to its digital service, leaving analog customers in the dark. It also refused to allow DirecTV or Dish Network to pick up the network on their local feeds. As a result, most of the western Carolinas and those without digital cable were left to rely on radio coverage.
C-SET folded on the day of the 2005 NBA Draft, and most games then moved to News 14 Carolina, a cable news channel available on Time Warner Cable's systems in Charlotte, the Triad and The Research Triangle. However, this left viewers in most of South Carolina (except for the South Carolina side of the Charlotte area, which saw games on Comporium) as well as eastern and western North Carolina, out in the cold. News 14 was also not available on satellite.
As part of the Time Warner Cable Arena deal, the Bobcats signed over broadcasting rights to Fox Sports South. The last five games of the 2007–08 season, and 70 games during the 2008–09 season, will be shown on Fox Sports South and sister network SportSouth in North and South Carolina. The deal is believed to be the first simultaneous naming rights/broadcast rights deal in the history of North American professional sports. Games now air on the new channel Fox Sports Carolinas but only in North Carolina. Restrictions still prohibit games from airing in South Carolina.
Select games also air on a network of over-the-air stations across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, fronted by WMYT-TV in Charlotte.
The flagship station for radio coverage is WFNZ, a station based in Charlotte whose frequency is 610 AM. WFNZ is Charlotte's sports radio station and also broadcasts UNC Basketball, NC State basketball, and Charlotte Knights baseball. This replaced WOLS for the 2009-2010 season. WOLS switched its non-sports programming from Oldies to Spanish language on January 1, 2009, making Bobcats and Duke basketball the station's only non-Spanish language programming.
- ↑ Mary Foster (May 10, 2002). "Owners approve Hornet's move to New Orleans". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nba/hornets/2002-05-10-owners-relocation.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Associated Press (May 23, 2002). "Bird, Carr thinking pro hoops in Charlotte?". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nba/stories/2002-05-20-bird-carr-charlotte.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Michael Hiestand (December 19, 2002). "Winning NBA bid just the start for Johnson". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2002-12-18-cover-johnson_x.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Johnson will be NBA's first black majority owner". ESPN. December 17, 2002. http://static.espn.go.com/nba/news/2002/1217/1478643.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Michael Jordan to Become Part Owner of the Charlotte Bobcats". Charlotte Bobcats. June 15, 2006. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/release_jordan_060615.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Robert L. Johnson Adds Nelly To Bobcats Ownership Team". Charlotte Bobcats. July 19, 2004. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/nelly_release_040719.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 "NBA Expansion Franchise To Be Named Charlotte Bobcats". Charlotte Bobcats. June 11, 2003. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/charlottebobcats_061103.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "The Bobcat: Athletic, Fierce, & Hardworking". Charlotte Bobcats. June 11, 2003. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/bobcat_fierce.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Laura Williams-Tracy (August 9, 2002). "Arena bounces back". Charlotte Business Journal. http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2002/08/12/focus1.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Erik Spanberg (December 27, 2002). "With new plan and new NBA team, arena project finally heads uptown". Charlotte Business Journal. http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2002/12/30/newscolumn1.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Building the Bobcats". NBA. June 22, 2004. http://www.nba.com/features/expansion_draft2004.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Emeka Okafor Named 2004-05 NBA got milk? Rookie Of The Year". Charlotte Bobcats. May 4, 2005. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/okafor_roy_050504.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Magical night: Bobcats fall to Wizards in debut". ESPN. November 4, 2004. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=241104030. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "2 for 1: First win for Okafor, Bobcats vs. Magic". ESPN. November 6, 2004. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=241106030. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Cats protect their house in Charlotte in OT". ESPN. December 14, 2004. http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=241214030. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Jordan: Bickerstaff won't return as coach". ESPN. March 14, 2007. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2797095. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats New Era Begins With Vincent". Charlotte Bobcats. May 25, 2007. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/vincent_coach_070525.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Rod Higgins Named Bobcats General Manager". Charlotte Bobcats. May 31, 2007. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/higgins_gm_070531.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats Announce Portion Of Coaching Staff". Charlotte Bobcats. June 7, 2007. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/bobcats_coaches_070607.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "More Members Added To Basketball Operations Staff". Charlotte Bobcats. June 18, 2007. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/bobcats_coaches_070618.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats keep top scorer Wallace with big deal". ESPN. July 12, 2007. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2933311. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Associated press (April 26, 2008). "Bobcats fire Sam Vincent as coach after one season". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/bobcats/2008-04-26-vincent-fired_N.htm. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Sam Vincent Relieved of Head Coaching Duties". Charlotte Bobcats. April 26, 2008. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/release_vincent_relieved_080426.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats Unveil New Team Uniforms". Charlotte Bobcats. August 21, 2004. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/news/uniforms_release_040821.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats Unveil Alternate Road Uniform". Charlotte Bobcats. August 16, 2006. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/alternate_unveiled_060816.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ Mike Cranston (April 7, 2008). "Warner gets naming rights for Bobcats Arena". Associated Press. http://www.wcnc.com/news/topstories/stories/wcnc-040708-mw-bobcatsname.40c2805b.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- ↑ "Bobcats, Time Warner Cable, Fox Sports Strike Unprecedented Deal". Charlotte Bobcats. April 8, 2008. http://www.nba.com/bobcats/arena_tv_rights_release.html. Retrieved June 30, 2009.