Charlotte Hornets: Key Players and Team History
Charlotte Hornets History and Highlights.
The Charlotte Hornets compete in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the NBA. They play their home games at the Spectrum Center. Michael Jordan is the majority owner of the team since 2010.
Early Years in the NBA
The Hornets joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1988. They lost their first game by 40 points to the Cleveland Cavaliers but soon after defeated the Chicago Bulls as Michael Jordan made his first visit to North Carolina as a professional.
The city supported the team as they sold out 364 consecutive games, and success was right around the corner.
In the 1991 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected Larry Johnson with the no. 1 pick. The following year, the Charlotte Hornets had the second overall pick and used it to select center Alonzo Mourning. That season was the first with the Hornets having a winning record of 44-38. They finished fifth in the Eastern Conference and stunned the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the Playoffs with Alonzo Mourning hitting a game-winner in Game 4.
Hornets Trade Kobe Bryant to Lakers
The Hornets had the 13th pick at the 1996 NBA Draft selecting Kobe Bryant but decided to trade the 17-year-old kid to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac, which is considered one of the worst trades in NBA history.
Rice was now the new star on the team, winning the MVP award at the 1997 NBA All-Star game. But the team still couldn’t get past the opening Playoff round.
The Hornets had a good run from 1999 to 2002, making consecutive Playoff appearances and reaching the second round twice.
Formation of the Charlotte Bobcats
Before the Hornets ended the 2001-02 season, the NBA approved a deal for the team to move to New Orleans the following season and become the New Orleans Hornets.
Shortly after the team moved to New Orleans, the NBA opened itself to the possibility of adding a replacement team in Charlotte for the 2004–05 season. A group of investors paid a $300 million entrance fee, which is how the Charlotte Bobcats get on the NBA scene.
The Bobcats held their expansion draft in 2004 and selected Emeka Okafor with the first overall pick that year.
The following year, the Bobcats drafted Sean May and Raymond Felton from North Carolina but still had a long way to go to establish themselves as a respectable team.
First Playoffs as Bobcats
In 2010, the team made their first playoff appearance as the Bobcats, but were swept in the opening round by the Orlando Magic.
The next year, Charlotte drafted Kemba Walker, the Most Outstanding Player of the last season, with the ninth overall pick. However, that didn’t bring any success in the upcoming season, as the team lost the last 23 games of the season and finished with the second-worst winning percentage in NBA history.
Michael Jordan the Original Hornets Name
In 2013, Michael Jordan, who was now a majority owner of the team, announced that the organization had put in an application with the NBA to return to the name Hornets. The request was approved by the league.
In 2016, the Charlotte Hornets made their first Playoff appearance after returning the name. They had a 3-2 lead in the opening round against the Miami Heat but lost in seven games.
That is still the last Playoff appearance for the Charlotte Hornets, and they have missed the postseason for the previous six years.
In 2020, the Hornets selected LaMelo Ball with the third overall pick, who later won the NBA Rookie of the Year and made his first All-Star appearance in his second season. Ball is the current leader of the team hoping that they will be back in the Playoffs very soon.