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In 1985, the NBA announced plans to expand by four teams. George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Charlotte, North Carolina, announced plans to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area. He assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise.

Charlotte and surrounding Mecklenburg County had long been a hotbed for college basketball. The four North Carolina schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference, in addition to three local college teams (the Charlotte 49ers, Davidson Wildcats, and the Johnson C. Smith Bulls), have large and loyal fan bases in the city. Charlotte was also one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. It had also previously been one of the three in-state regional homes to the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars, from 1969 to 1974.

Nevertheless, some critics doubted that Charlotte could support an NBA team. In fact, one Sacramento Bee columnist joked, "The only franchise Charlotte is going to get is one with golden arches."[1] However, Shinn's ace in the hole was the Charlotte Coliseum, a state-of-the-art arena under construction that would seat almost 24,000 spectators – the largest basketball-specific arena ever to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. On April 5, 1987, NBA Commissioner David Stern called Shinn to tell him that his group had been awarded the 24th franchise of the NBA, to begin play in 1988. Franchises were also granted to Miami (the Heat), Minneapolis-Saint Paul (the Timberwolves), and Orlando (the Magic).

Originally, the new team was to be named the Charlotte Spirit, but another name-the-team contest yielded "Hornets" as the winning choice. The name derived from the city's fierce resistance to British occupation during the Revolutionary War, which prompted Lord General Cornwallis to refer to it as "a veritable nest of hornets." The name had been used for Charlotte teams before; the city's minor league baseball teams had been called the Hornets from 1901 to 1972; there was a short-lived team in the short-lived World Football League; and NCAA basketball's Charlotte 49ers and Davidson Wildcats play annually for the Hornets' Nest Trophy.

The team received a lot of attention when they chose teal as their primary color, setting off a fashion craze in sports in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The San Jose Sharks, Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida Marlins, and other pro and amateur clubs soon followed with similar colors. The Memphis Grizzlies also used it as their primary color during their days in Vancouver, and even the Detroit Pistons briefly switched to teal, away from their traditional blue and red, in the mid-1990s. Additionally, the Hornets were the first NBA team to popularize the use of pinstripes on its uniforms, inspiring similar designs from the Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers. (It should be noted, however, that the Bulls only use pinstripes on their alternate black jerseys; the regular home white and away red uniforms do not feature them.) Recently, the Charlotte Bobcats have also added pinstripes to their uniforms, presumably as a tribute to the Hornets' tenure in Charlotte.

Despite some concerns that the new Coliseum was too big, Shinn thought that the area's long-standing support of college basketball would easily transfer to the Hornets. These hopes were more than validated as the city and region fell in a state of unbridled love with the team. After initially selling 15,000 season tickets, sales exploded and the team eventually capped the season ticket base at 21,000. Hornets tickets were among the toughest tickets in North America; for example, they once sold out 358 consecutive games, the equivalent of almost nine consecutive seasons.

Shinn hired Carl Scheer, a longtime NBA executive, as general manager. Scheer decided to put together a roster of veteran players in hopes of putting together a competitive team as soon as possible, with a view toward making the playoffs in five years. Former college coach and veteran NBA assistant Dick Harter was tapped as the team's first head coach.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans_Hornets) www.nba.com