CHARLOTTE - Charlotte's NBA team officially rebranded itself as the Hornets on Tuesday, dropping the Bobcats nickname the North Carolina-based club had carried since its inception in 2004.
The team began play as the Bobcats, a naming nod to founding owner Robert Johnson, after the original NBA club in Charlotte, known as the Hornets, relocated to New Orleans in 2002.
When the Hornets changed their nickname this past season to Pelicans, the Charlotte club asked to have back the nickname and the league approved, setting the stage for the return to Hornets following the Bobcats' farewell in a first-round exit from this year's NBA playoffs.
"Today is truly an historic day for our franchise, our city and our fans as we mark the official return of the Charlotte Hornets," said team owner and retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan.
"Thanks to our fans, who were the driving force behind the Hornets name returning. We are thrilled to be able to bring the Hornets name back to the Carolinas."
Mascot Hugo the Hornet will return to Charlotte on June 5, two weeks before the team unveils its new uniforms for the 2014-15 season.
The team also announced that after talks with the league and the Pelicans, all statistics, records and history from Charlotte's NBA tenure will return to the team.
The Hornets will use the historic elements from the original Hornets from 1988-2002 and the Bobcats era from 2004-20014 while the Pelicans will maintain club history and statistics dating from the team's first New Orleans season in 2002-2003.