The Charlotte Hornets are an American professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Hornets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division, and play their home games at the Spectrum Center in Uptown Charlotte. The Charlotte Hornets are mainly owned by Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, who acquired a controlling interest in the team in 2010.
The Charlotte Hornets franchise was established in 1988 as an expansion team owned by George Shinn. In 2002, Shinn relinquished his original franchise and acquired a new franchise in New Orleans. Although Shinn was controversially permitted to relocate his basketball organization to that city, an agreement was eventually reached in which Charlotte was permitted to retain the history and records of the team spanning from 1988 to 2002.
After suspending operations for two seasons the Charlotte franchise, rebranded at the time as the Charlotte Bobcats, was reactivated under new ownership in the 2004–05 NBA season. In 2013, the Bobcats announced that they would change their name to the Charlotte Hornets once again for the 2014–15 season.
In 1985, the NBA was planning to expand by three teams by the 1988–89 season, later modified to include a total of four expansion teams. George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, 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. 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 (ABA) Carolina Cougars from 1969 to 1974.
Despite doubt from critics, Shinn's ace in the hole was the Charlotte Coliseum, a state-of-the-art arena 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, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern called Shinn to tell him his group had been awarded the 24th NBA franchise, to begin play in 1988. Franchises were also granted to Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, and Orlando.