Charlotte Hornets Tickets
When the Charlotte Hornets relocated to New Orleans for the 200203 seasons, the NBA promised Charlotte leaders that the city would be granted an NBA expansion team for the 200405 seasons. Several ownership groups, including one led by former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, made bids for the team. In the end, a group led by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson was awarded the franchise. Johnson is 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. 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 NFL’s Carolina Panthers, made the cat-related name a natural choice for the area’s new basketball team. One of the ironies in the formation of the franchise was the fact that despite failed attempts at the ballot box to fully fund a new arena downtown, 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 of Charlotte to pay for a new arena, and subsequently left town for New Orleans when the city failed to do so.
The Bobcats held their expansion draft on Tuesday, June 22, 2004, picking up such seasoned players as Predrag Drobnjak and talented youngsters such as Sacramento Kings forward Gerald Wallace. However, Drobnjak would never play for the team; the Bobcats traded Drobnjak to the Atlanta Hawks for a 2005 second round draft pick. 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 the University of Connecticut and Mike Claxton. Okafor went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2005. Selling Charlotte Bobcats tickets remains a struggle, but the future is bright for the up and coming franchise.