New Orleans Hornets

New Orleans Hornets

Pelicans Timeline


Charlotte Hornets Team Formation

In 1985 the NBA was planning to expand by four teams. George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, North Carolina, wanted to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area, and he assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise. The Charlotte area had long been a hotbed for college basketball. The Atlantic Coast Conference's four North Carolina teams, as well as local teams Charlotte, Davidson and Johnson C. Smith, have large and loyal fan bases in the city. Charlotte was also one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and was previously one of the three in-state regional homes to the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars, from 1969 to 1974.

Relocation to New Orleans

The city council refused to remove the statement, leading the Hornets to request a move to New Orleans. Although New Orleans was a smaller television market, a deal was quickly made to play at the New Orleans Arena, next door to the Louisiana Superdome. Before the Hornets were eliminated from the playoffs, the NBA approved the deal. As part of a deal, the NBA promised that Charlotte would get a new team, which took the court two years later as the Charlotte Bobcats.

Smoothie King Center

When the New Orleans Hornets arrived in 2002, they persuaded the state government to demand that the Brass foot the cost of converting the arena between basketball and hockey configurations. That expense was more than the Brass were willing to pay, and they were forced to fold due to the lack of another suitable arena.

The Hornets played their first game at the Smoothie King Center versus the Utah Jazz on October 30, 2002.

The arena was completed in 1999 at a cost of $114 million and officially opened on October 19, 1999. The arena seats 16,867 for Pelicans games. It has 2,800 club seats and 56 luxury suites.

Hurricane Katrina and temporary relocation to Oklahoma City

Due to the catastrophic devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina upon the communities of southeastern Louisiana, the Hornets franchise temporarily relocated their base of operations to Oklahoma City in 2005 - 2006 and 2006 - 2007. During this time, the franchise was known as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. In these two seasons, the vast majority of home games were played at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, while a few remained at New Orleans Arena. Their practice facility while in Oklahoma City was the Sawyer Center on the campus of Southern Nazarene University (SNU). and the team held its 2006 training camp at their New Orleans practice facility, the Alario Center, in Westwego, Louisiana.

Tom Benson Gains Control

Saints owner Tom Benson has officially gained control of the New Orleans Hornets from the NBA. The completion Friday of the $338 million sale of the NBA club comes two days after the league's board of governors approved the decision to sell to Benson. As part of the deal, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has approved the Hornets' lease extension at the state-owned New Orleans Arena, which runs through 2024 and provides for $50 million in improvements. Benson agreed in April to buy the Hornets. The team had been owned by the NBA since December of 2010.

Reborn as the Pelicans

New owner Tom Benson had indicated early in his ownership that he wished to change the team's name to something more local. He preferred that the Utah Jazz, who had been founded in New Orleans in 1974 and played there until 1979, give up the "Jazz" nickname. However, the Jazz indicated they had no interest in returning the name due to over 30 years of history associated with it. Benson had also heavily favored the names "Brass" and "Krewe."

However, on December 4, 2012, it was reported that the Hornets would change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans beginning with the 2013 - 2014 season. The team name is inspired by Louisiana's state bird, the Brown Pelican.

Hornets Primary Logo History Hornets Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

Charlotte - New Orleans

Hornets - The name "Hornets" was carried over from Charlotte, when they relocated in New Orleans.

Smoothie King Center
2014 - present
New Orleans Arena
2002 - 2013

*Oklahoma City*
Ford Center
2005 - 2007

Lloyd Noble Center

*Baton Rouge*
Pete Maravich Assembly Center

Charlotte Coliseum
1988 - 2002

Tom Benson
2012 - present
National Basketball Association
2010 - 2012
George Shinn and Gary Chouest 
2007 - 2010
George Shinn
1988 - 2007

Established: 1988

League History:
National Basketball Association
1988 - present

Team History:
New Orleans Pelicans
2013 - present
New Orleans Hornets
2007 - 2013
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
2005 - 2007
New Orleans Hornets
2002 - 2005

Charlotte Hornets
1988 - 2002

NBA Championships: 0

Retired Numbers:
7 "Pistol" Pete Maravich

Mascots: 1988 - 2013
  *Red is this team's history

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