Charlotte Bobcats

Wed, 07 Jan 2009 10:17

History of Charlotte Bobcats

About the NFL team Charlotte Bobcats.

The Charlotte Bobcats are currently one of the youngest franchises in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The franchise was founded in 2004 and has since tried to build itself into a top NBA competitor. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Bobcats play in the Time Warner Cable Arena. Entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson, rapper Cornell “Nelly” Haynes, and NBA legend Michael Jordan are the three owners of the Bobcats franchise. Although the team has not had as much success in the NBA as Jordan, they are certainly working their way to becoming a prestigious NBA franchise. Since the team was founded in 2004, they have not been able to win any significant NBA titles, but the team has showed steady growth and development throughout the years.

Charlotte Bobcats – getting up and running

Before the Bobcats franchise was founded in 2004, another team named Hornets was based there. The Charlotte Hornets were not very successful in the NBA until after they moved to New Orleans in 2002. The Charlotte Hornets experienced a dwindling number of ticket sales, partially because they could not build a true championship contender. The team made it to the Playoffs a number of years, but they never made it past the Conference Semifinals. In an attempt to revamp the franchise and bring in better business, the franchise moved to New Orleans, leaving Charlotte without a home team. The NBA promised that Charlotte would get an NBA franchise and a number of companies and ownership organizations placed bids for the new Charlotte franchise.

One of the major bidders for the Charlotte franchise was an ownership organization led by Larry Bird, who is an NBA legend. Robert L. Johnson won the bid for the new Charlotte franchise that would eventually become the Charlotte Bobcats. Johnson is the founder of a cable television network called Black Entertainment Television (BET). Later on, in 2006, Michael Jordan, a native of North Carolina and an NBA legend, became the second largest shareholder in the Charlotte Bobcats franchise. Jordan became the head of basketball operations for the Bobcats and the team has focused on gaining experience, developing, and maturing as a team and franchise. Famous rapper and actor “Nelly”, Cornell Haynes Jr., also became a major shareholder in the team.

The name the “Bobcats” was one of the many team-name choices that fans got to vote for in 2003. The North Carolina Wildlife Commission helped the Charlotte franchise come up with names and the Bobcats was one of the names they had suggested. The name is meant to represent the resilience, ferocity, and athleticism of the bobcat, which is a predator that is indigenous to the Carolinas. Some of the other names that almost won the “Help Name The Team” contest include the Charlotte Dragons and the Charlotte Flight. The franchise was named the Bobcats in 2003 and they would start playing in the NBA in the 2004-05 season.

Charlotte Bobcats – rough beginnings

In 2004, the Bobcats would have an expansion draft. The team would fill their roster with players such as Gerald Wallace, Matt Carroll, and Brevin Knight. In the 2004 NBA Draft, the team selected Emeka Okafor from the University of Connecticut. Okafor and Wallace would become the building blocks of the team. Both players were young during the first season of the Bobcats, but they would need experience and time to develop their skills before becoming solid NBA players. Likewise, the Bobcats franchise itself needed time to mature into a smooth-running and efficient franchise – an objective that they still have not achieved to this date.

During the Bobcats' first season, the 2004-05 season, the team would have a record that is characteristic of most expansion teams. The Bobcats only had 18 wins and 64 losses. The franchise's first win came on the sixth of November, 2004, against the Orlando Magic. With a mere 22% winning percentage, the team failed to make it into the Playoffs. It was evident that the franchise and its players needed time to mature. The team's decision to draft Emeka Okafor would prove to be a great move as the center won the Rookie of the Year award in 2005. He was also named to the NBA All-Rookie First team. The franchise's first NBA season would turn out to be their worst in franchise history to date. The Bobcats finished in fourth place in the Southeast Division and 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

Charlotte Bobcats – the learning curve

After having a rough first season, the Bobcats were determined to improve their play in the 2005-06 season and they succeeded in doing so. During the 2005 NBA Draft, the Bobcats acquired Raymond Felton and Sean May, who would both help the team improve on their record in the previous season. The team was able to win 26 games in the 2005-06 season, which was an eight-game improvement over their first season in the NBA. The record was not good enough to get the Bobcats in the 2006 Playoffs, but they did improve on their Eastern Conference standing. From fourteenth place in the previous season, the Bobcats were able to climb one spot to land thirteenth place in the 205-06 season. For the second consecutive season, the Bobcats would place fourth in the Southeast Division. Raymond Felton was awarded a spot on the 2005-06 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

In the following season, the Charlotte Bobcats would prove once again that their dedication to development and growth had paid off. By the 2006-07 season, Emeka Okafor and Gerald Wallace would begin to take over as the team's leaders and main go-to players. The team would post their best record in franchise history with 33 wins, 49 losses, and a winning percentage of 40%. They would improve on their Eastern Conference standing, taking 11th place. Still, the team ended-up in fourth place in the Southeast Division and they would fail to make it to the Playoffs for the third consecutive season. The season ended on a good note, though, with Adam Morrison and Walter Herrmann both making it to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

The Charlotte Bobcats would nearly match their 2006-07 season record in the 2007-08 season. In the latter season, however, the team would only win 32 games, losing 50, and ending with a sub-40% winning percentage. Once again, the team would miss the Playoffs. It would also be the first season in which the team would not win any significant awards. For the second consecutive season, the team would place 11th in the Eastern Conference and they would place fourth in the Southeast Division for the fourth consecutive season. Although the team took one step back, with a record slightly worse than their previous season, they would gain experience and make a few more moves in the team roster and management.

Charlotte Bobcats – the beginning of the Larry Brown era

In 2008, the Charlotte Bobcats hired Larry Brown as the team's head coach. Larry Brown is a highly decorated NBA coach who is well-respected in the league. So far, Brown's impact remains to be seen, as the team has a 2008-09 record of 9-19 as of December 20, 2008. The team still has time to turn their season around and perhaps make it into the Playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but they will need to work quickly to do so.