|Arena||Time Warner Cable Arena|
|City||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Team colors||Navy, Light Blue, Orange, Silver, White
|General manager||Rich Cho|
|Head coach||Steve Clifford|
|D-League affiliate||Fort Wayne Mad Ants|
The Charlotte Bobcats are a professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Bobcats were established in 2004 as an expansion team, two seasons after Charlotte's previous NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, relocated to New Orleans. The team is owned by former NBA player Michael Jordan, who acquired the team in 2010. The Bobcats play their home games at Time Warner Cable Arena in center city Charlotte. As of the end of the 2011–12 season, the Bobcats have compiled a record of 229–411. In their 9-year history they have qualified for the postseason just once, which was during the 2009–10 season when they achieved a franchise-best record of 44–38.
The team will be renamed the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014–15 NBA season after the New Orleans franchise's 2013 relinquishment of the name.
2002–2004: Team Creation
When the original Charlotte Hornets relocated to New Orleans in 2002, 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 18, 2002, a group led by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson was awarded the franchise, allowing him to become the first majority African American owner in U.S. major professional sports. The rapper Nelly became another notable co-owner.
In June 2003, the team was named the Bobcats. The Charlotte Regional Sports Commission aided with the "Help Name The Team" effort that drew over 1,250 suggestions. During the summer of 2003, at a street festival that attracted an overflow crowd of 7,000 fans, the Charlotte NBA expansion franchise unveils "Bobcats" as the team name. The bobcat, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, is an athletic, fierce predator indigenous to the Carolinas. Charlotte, already being home to the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, made the cat-related name a likely choice for the area's new basketball team. There was also 'sports-talk' speculation whether or not the "Bob" in Bobcats is a reference to the original owner of the team, Robert "Bob" Johnson. Along with the Bobcats, the Charlotte Flight and Charlotte Dragons were among the three finalists for the team's potential name. The Charlotte Flight was the actual winner of the poll, but was disregarded by Johnson.
The Bobcats hired Bernie Bickerstaff as the first head coach and general manager in franchise history. Despite failed attempts at the ballot box to fully fund a new uptown arena, city politicians decided to implement 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 when it failed to do so.
2004–2010: The Gerald Wallace era
The Bobcats held their expansion draft on June 22, 2004, picking up youngsters such as Gerald Wallace, Primož Brezec, and Jason Kapono. They also drafted talented European players such as Predrag Drobnjak, Sasha Pavlović and Zaza Pachulia, however they would be cut before the season opener and never played a game in a Bobcat uniform. Shortly after, they 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. The Bobcats' first game of the 2004–05 season took place on November 4 at the Charlotte Coliseum, 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 beat the New Orleans Hornets 94–93 in overtime in the team's first trip to Charlotte after their move to New Orleans. However, the Bobcats mostly struggled, finishing their inaugural season with a record of 18–64, never winning more than two games in a row. Emeka Okafor put on a strong performance, and won the 2004–05 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
In the 2005 NBA Draft, the Bobcats drafted Raymond Felton and Sean May from North Carolina. With them, in addition to Okafor and Wallace, the team hoped to build a young, solid foundation for future success. In their second season, the Bobcats opened the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena with an overtime victory over the Boston Celtics. Despite struggling again for most of the year, they managed to close out the season with four straight wins to finish with a record of 26–56, an eight game improvement over their inaugural season. After the season, the Bobcats announced that NBA legend and North Carolina native Michael Jordan had bought a minority stake in the team, becoming the second-largest shareholder and head of basketball operations.
The Bobcats showed some improvement during the 2006–07 season, posting a playoff-hopeful record of 22–33 late in February. However, the team went through an eight game losing streak and dropped their record to 22–41 by early March. Following the slump, Michael Jordan announced that head coach Bernie Bickerstaff would not return to coach the following season, but would finish coaching the remainder of the current season. The Bobcats won 11 of their last 19 games of Bickerstaff's tenure to finish their third season with a 33–49 record. In three seasons with the Bobcats, Bickerstaff finished with an overall head coaching record of 77–169.
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. 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 to become director of player personnel. In the 2007 NBA Draft, Brandan Wright was selected by the Bobcats with the eighth pick; he was subsequently traded to Golden State in a deal that included Jason Richardson being sent to Charlotte. The Bobcats were unable to capitalize on offseason moves, though, 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 on April 26, 2008.
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. With the ninth selection of the 2008 NBA Draft, the Bobcats selected D. J. Augustin from Texas. On December 10, 2008, a little over a month into the season, the Bobcats traded their leading scorer, Jason Richardson along with Jared Dudley to Phoenix in exchange for Boris Diaw and Raja Bell. The trade turned out to be quite successful as the team came very close to reaching the franchise's first playoff berth during the 2008–09 season, but finished just four games out of eighth place with a team record of 35 wins and 47 losses. Members of the team voiced their frustration at management for hosting the Charlotte Jumper Classic, an equestrian event, at the end of the season. The scheduling conflict forced the Bobcats to play their final four games on the road, virtually ending any playoff hopes. Following the season, Robert Johnson announced he was putting the team up for sale.
2009–2010: First Playoff Appearance
During the offseason, Gerald Henderson from Duke was chosen with the 12th pick by the Bobcats 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 Robert Johnson had decided to sell the team to Michael 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 ever playoff berth with an exciting 104–103 road win over the New Orleans Hornets, finishing the 2009–10 season with an overall record of 44–38, the team's first-ever winning record. Gerald Wallace was a huge factor in the Bobcats run to the playoffs as he became the first player in franchise history to become an NBA All-Star. However, in the first round of the playoffs, the Bobcats were swept by the Orlando Magic, quickly ending their season.
2010–2012: Struggles and Worst Record in NBA History
The Bobcats began the 2010–11 season with high hopes following their success the previous season. Despite the departures of key players such as Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler, the Bobcats started their season hoping to once again make the playoffs. However, the Bobcats struggled early during the season, and on December 22, 2010, following a dismal 9–19 start, Michael Jordan announced that Larry Brown had stepped down as the Bobcats Head Coach; that same day, veteran coach Paul Silas was hired as their new head coach. On February 24, 2011, the day of the NBA trade deadline, the Bobcats made some moves to clear up some cap space by sending former all-star forward Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers for two first round draft picks, Joel Przybilla, Sean Marks, and Dante Cunningham. They also sent veteran center Nazr Mohammed to the Oklahoma City Thunder for DJ White and Mo Peterson. Going down the stretch, the injuries of Stephen Jackson and Tyrus Thomas killed any chances of Charlotte trying to catch the Indiana Pacers, who swept them 0–4 in the regular season, for the eighth spot in the east. In the end, the Bobcats finished the season with a 34–48 record, finishing 25–29 under Paul Silas.
On June 13, 2011, the Bobcats made some moves to their front office by hiring former Portland Trail Blazers general manager Rich Cho to the same position and promoting Rod Higgins to President of Basketball Operations. On the day of the 2011 NBA Draft the Bobcats once again made a major roster move by sending Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, and the 19th overall pick to the Milwaukee Bucks. In return, the Bobcats received former Duke star Corey Maggette and the 7th overall pick. They used that pick to draft forward Bismack Biyombo and then drafted Kemba Walker, the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player, with 9th pick in the draft. They also made a few more acquisitions by trading their 2013 second-round draft pick to the Thunder for 7-footer Byron Mullens and signing sharpshooter Reggie Williams in free agency. The Bobcats started the 2011–12 season with a close 96-95 win against Stephen Jackson and the Milwaukee Bucks in their home opener but wins would be hard to come by after that. In the lockout-shortened season the Bobcats struggled and posted an NBA-worst record of 7-59, losing their last 23 games of the season. In a nationally televised game 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 by an NBA team in history. (As this season had been shortened by the lockout, the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers still hold the record for most losses in a season, with 73.) On April 30, 2012, the Bobcats announced that Silas would not return to the team for the 2012–2013 season.
2012–present: The Last Years As the Bobcats and the Return of the Hornets
Despite having the best odds of winning the draft lottery, the Bobcats did not obtain the first overall pick. In the 2012 NBA Draft, the Bobcats selected Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the second overall pick. They also selected Jeffery Taylor with the thirty-first pick. They added Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and Brendan Haywood. The Bobcats first game was against the Indiana Pacers, and they won the game 90-89 in a heated last minute battle. On November 13, 2012 the Bobcats traded guard Matt Carroll to the New Orleans Hornets for power forward Hakim Warrick. After a surprising 7-5 start to the season in which 6 of the 7 wins were by 4 points or less, the team went on an 18 game losing streak. The Bobcats were unable to recover since the losing streak, finishing 21-61. On April 23, 2013, Dunlap was fired by Bobcats management. Dunlap would be replaced by former Los Angeles Lakers assistant head coach Steve Clifford.
On May 21, 2013, Bobcats team owner Michael Jordan officially announced the organization had submitted an application to change the name of the franchise to the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014–15 NBA season, pending a majority vote for approval by the NBA Board of Governors at a meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 18, 2013. NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Adam Silver had previously said it would take about 18 months for the team to change its name, but pointed out the fact that the league owns the rights to the Hornets name could speed up the process. The New Orleans Hornets had recently changed their name to the New Orleans Pelicans for the 2013–14 NBA season.
Charlotte Bobcats roster
|Bernie Bickerstaff||October 16, 2004||March 13, 2007||246||77||169||.313||246||77||169||.313||0||0||0||–|
|Sam Vincent||May 25, 2007||April 26, 2008||82||32||50||.390||82||32||50||.390||0||0||0||–|
|Larry Brown||April 29, 2008||December 22, 2010||196||88||108||.449||192||88||104||.458||4||0||4||.000|
|Paul Silas||December 22, 2010||April 30, 2012||120||32||88||.267||120||32||88||.267||0||0||0||–|
|Mike Dunlap||June 18, 2012||April 23, 2013||82||21||61||.256||82||21||61||.256||0||0||0||–|
Logos, uniforms, and arenas
Until 2009, home jerseys have been white, reading "Bobcats" in orange with blue and black trimming. The primary away jersey was 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, with the name "Bobcats" in white with black, orange and white trimming. Racing Day blue alternates are used to honor Charlotte's NASCAR fanbase.
For the 2009–10 season, the Bobcats redesigned their uniforms, which have a mixture of characteristics from the old Charlotte Hornets and the Bobcats uniforms. The home uniforms are white and features an arched "Bobcats" in blue with orange and white trim. Road uniforms are 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. For the 2011–12 season, however, the Bobcats wore their home uniforms on NASCAR night, complete with a racing flag patch. The uniforms are similar to that of the Orlando Magic.
The Bobcats unveiled new uniforms on June 19, 2012, featuring lesser emphasis on orange and the pinstripes. The white home uniforms now feature the shorter nickname 'Cats' in navy and Carolina blue trim, while the numbers are in Carolina blue and navy trim, with navy side stripes. The navy away uniforms still feature 'Charlotte' in white and Carolina blue trim, with the numbers feature the same trim as the city name, with Carolina blue side stripes. In both uniforms, the pinstripes were relegated to the side stripes. The uniforms bear a close resemblance to the Dallas Mavericks uniforms. The addition of Carolina blue was seen as way to connect current owner Michael Jordan's collegiate roots, while the formal adoption of 'Cats' for marketing purposes reflected the team's popular nickname.
- Charlotte Coliseum (2004–2005)
- Time Warner Cable Arena (2005–present), known as Charlotte Bobcats Arena (2005–2008)
During their first season, the Bobcats played their home games at the Charlotte Coliseum, while their new arena (the Charlotte Bobcats Arena) was being built. After its completion, the city closed the old Coliseum in the 2005 offseason and opened the new arena with a Rolling Stones concert.
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.
Franchise records, awards and honors
- Raymond Felton – 2006
- Adam Morrison – 2007
- Walter Herrmann – 2007
- D. J. Augustin – 2009
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 2013
Rufus D. Lynx is the official mascot of the Bobcats. He first appeared on November 1, 2003, according to his official bio on the Bobcats' website. The name Rufus D. Lynx comes from the scientific name of the bobcat, which is Lynx rufus. During the 2012 NBA All-Star Jam Session, Rufus D. Lynx broke a world record along with Coyote, Grizz, Hooper, and Sly the Silver Fox for most "between the legs" basketball dunks. TCHuddle.com ranked Rufus D. Lynx as the 13th best NBA mascot. Bleacher Report ranked Rufus as the 8th best mascot in the NBA. Rufus D. Lynx is featured in NBA Jam 2010.
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 aired 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, Charlotte-area viewers without digital cable, as well as western North Carolina and most of South Carolina, 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 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. Starting with the last five games of the 2007–08 season, about 70 games per season were shown on Fox Sports Carolinas (Fox Sports South's new regional feed) 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. Starting with the 2012-13 season, all Bobcats games that aren't slated for national broadcast are aired on SportSouth.
For the team's first four seasons, select games also aired on a network of over-the-air stations across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, fronted by WJZY in Charlotte from 2004 to 2006 and WMYT-TV in Charlotte from 2006 to 2012.
The flagship station for radio coverage is WFNZ, Charlotte's all-sports radio station. Before 2009–10, games had aired on WOLS. 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.
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- 2004–05 Charlotte Bobcats Schedule and Results
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- Charlotte Bobcats official website
- Charlotte Observer Bobcats
- Inside the NBA – Rick Bonnell's Bobcats blog for the Charlotte Observer
- Bobcats Planet – Fan website
- Bobcats Report – Bobcats blog
- Charlotte's Basketball All Stars[dead link] – All Star Selections for Charlotte Teams
- Queen City Sports Blog—Professional and College Sports Analysis and Commentary, from the Queen City, Charlotte, NC.