As the Bobcats stumbled to the worst season in NBA history, a group of true, um, Bee-lievers mounted a campaign to reclaim the Hornets name. But will nostalgia really make Charlotte love pro basketball again? Or will it just beget more nostalgia?
John Morgan was pissed off. He paid $75 for a seat a few rows behind the Bobcats’ bench and nobody down there was excited. He walked up to section 229 at halftime, up to the $15 seats at the top rim of the upper deck, and decided to stay.
“I was trying to cheer and s---, and it’s not happening,” he said. “They’re either Knicks fans who have dropped their month’s salary sitting where they’re sitting, or they’re just apathetic.”
Morgan bought the $75 seat to try to get on TNT during the Charlotte Bobcats nationally televised whimper of an ending to the 2011-2012 season. He wore a hideous white tuxedo and a teal T-shirt. This was supposed to be his night. This was the second edition of “Swarm Time Warner.” He had pleaded with people to buy cheap tickets in section 229. He asked them all to wear Charlotte Hornets gear. The idea: if they were loud enough and visible enough, they’d get on national TV, too. It would show people that Charlotte wanted the Hornets name back.
Things were not going well. At the first Swarm, more than a hundred energized fans showed up. At this one, a few dozen Swarmers sat politely in their seats. Then there was the game. The Knicks were dunking at will. Morgan was not smiling.
That’s when his co-organizer Evan Kent showed him the tweet saying that The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell talked to NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who was in the arena for the game. Silver said he expected to have a conversation with the Bobcats about changing their name back to the Hornets.
“It’s everywhere,” Kent told Morgan. “The fact that they’re that deep in the conversation means it’s happening.”
Morgan let out a loud “ooh.” His face lifted. He looked around section 229. “What are we doing right now?” he asked. “I say, let’s get cheering, man.”
He stood. He cupped his hands around his mouth. He screamed as loud as he could.
Char-lotte Hor-nets. Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap.
The people around him in teal and purple stood and joined in.
Watch as Charlotte Hornets fans befuddle Bobcats fans at Swarm Time Warner: