Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1997-2006 Charlotte Sting

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Women’s National Basketball Association (1997-2007)

Born: 1997 – WNBA founding franchise.
Folded: January 3, 2007 – The Sting cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

  • 1997-2003: Teal, Purple & White
  • 2004-2006:

Owners:

 

The Charlotte Sting were one of eight original franchises in the Women’s National Basketball Association, which began play in the summer of 1997.  The Sting were originally the sister franchise of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, operated by George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge.

During the Sting’s early years the club was a regular playoff contender.  2001 was the Sting’s best campaign, but started out as a disaster under new Head Coach Anne Donovan.  The Sting lost ten of their first eleven games in 2001 before rallying to finish 18-14 and claim the 4th and final Eastern Conference playoff berth.  Charlotte upset the #1 seed Cleveland Rockers and then the New York Liberty to advance to the WNBA championship series for the first (and only) time.  The Sting lost to the Los Angeles Sparks in a two-game sweep.

The Sting’s existence came under threat from two sides in 2002.  In May of that year, locally despised Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge announced that they were moving their franchise to New Orleans for 2002-03 season.  They were not interested in taking the Sting with them.  A few months later, the WNBA restructured its business model and contracted for the first time, dropping from 16 to 14 active franchises.  The Sting seemed like a prime candidate for elimination, since they no longer had an owner or a local NBA infrastructure to rely on for front office operations.  But the Sting managed to elude the executioner’s sword and soon found a new savior in Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson, who purchased a new NBA franchise for Charlotte to replace the Hornets (the Charlotte Bobcats) and soon afterwards decided to purchase the Sting as well.

Unfortunately, Johnson’s arrival on the scene in 2004 coincided with a steep decline in the Sting’s fortunes on the court and at the box office.  In 2005, the Sting finished with the worst record in the WNBA at 6-28.  Late in the season, the club fired Head Coach Trudi Lacey and replaced her with former Charlotte Hornets fan favorite Muggsy Bogues.

In 2006, the Sting moved out of their longtime home at the Charlotte Coliseum and into the brand new Charlotte Bobcats Arena downtown.  Muggsy Bogues was unable to right the ship, as the Sting finished near the cellar again in 2006 with an 11-23 record.  The move to the new arena didn’t help either.  The Sting averaged 5,783 fans for 17 home dates, which ranked 13th out of the WNBA’s 14 teams in 2006.

In December 2006, Bob Johnson handed the Bobcats back to the league.  An investor group expressed interest in buying the Sting and moving the franchise to Kansas City, but they couldn’t put the financial package together and the Sting shut their doors on January 3, 2007.

 

==Slideshow==

 

==Charlotte Sting Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
7/23/1997 vs. New York Liberty L 65-63 Roster Card
8/3/1997 @ Los Angeles Sparks W 77-70 Roster Card
6/18/2001 @ Seattle Storm L 60-52 Program

 

==Links==

WNBA Media Guides

WNBA Game Programs

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