CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte's NBA expansion team will be called the "Bobcats,'' a nod to the owner who spent $300 million for the franchise, The Associated Press has learned.
Bob Johnson selected Bobcats over "Flight'' and "Dragons,'' a source familiar with the process told the AP on Monday on condition of anonymity.
The dominant color in uniforms and logos will be orange and official team apparel will be in stores Wednesday afternoon, the source said.
An official announcement is planned for Wednesday, when city leaders plan to join Johnson and NBA commissioner David Stern in a downtown street festival to unveil the name, mascot and logos.
Chris Weiller, a spokesman for the new NBA team, would not confirm or deny that Johnson has picked Bobcats as the name.
In picking Bobcats, Johnson gets to see his own name used and continues the feline theme established by Charlotte's other pro team, the NFL's Panthers.
Bobcats was one of three finalists for the team name, whittled down from a list of nearly 1,200 suggestions the team received from the community. Johnson's group used several focus groups and spent nearly $100,000 researching the names and their trademark status and designing possible logos.
Team officials cut the list about 10 names, then matched them with potential colors, graphic designs and mascots.
Chicago's NVU Productions was hired to help develop the logos.
Reaction was lukewarm -- at best -- when the finalists were announced last month. But the same thing happened in 1987 when owner George Shinn was naming his Charlotte NBA team.
Originally "Spirit'' was selected, but Shinn changed it to Hornets, a name that traced its roots to the Revolutionary War.
That name -- and its lovable purple and teal mascot "Hugo the Hornet'' -- eventually caught on and then moved on with the franchise to New Orleans.