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Charlotte Sting logo 1997-2003

The Charlotte Sting was a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) franchise based in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker and it was one of the league's eight original teams. The team folded on January 3, 2007.

Formerly the sister organization of the Charlotte Hornets, it became the sister team to the Charlotte Bobcats. Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET, purchased the team in January 2003, shortly after he was announced as the principal owner of an NBA expansion franchise that was later named the Charlotte Bobcats.

  • 1997 - 2003: on the road, light blue with white and purple trim, Sting logo text on the chest. At home, white with blue and purple trim. Sting logo mascot on the shorts, similar to the Charlotte Hornets
  • 2004 - 2006: on the road, orange with blue trim, Sting logo text on the chest. At home, white with orange trim. Sting logo mascot on the shorts, similar to the Charlotte Bobcats.

Franchise history

The Early Years

The Charlotte Sting was one of the eight original WNBA franchises that began play in 1997. The Sting were then the sister team to the Charlotte Hornets. The Sting finished their first season with a 15-13 record and qualified for the first WNBA playoffs, but lost to eventual champions Houston Comets in the one-game semifinal.

The 1998 Sting finished the season with an 18-12 record. In the playoffs, the Sting once again lost the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Houston Comets, and the Comets once again took home the championship.

In the 1998-1999 offseason, with the folding of the American Basketball League, the Sting added former ABL guard Dawn Staley to an already impressive roster that featured Vicky Bullett and Andrea Stinson.

Their record, however, fell to 15-17 in 1999. It was still enough to qualify them for the playoffs, where they defeated the Detroit Shock in the opening round 60-54. In the Conference Finals, the Sting fell to the New York Liberty 2 games to 1.

The 2000 season was very disappointing for the Sting, with a final record of 8-24. They missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

The 2001 Sting lost 10 of their first 11 games. But the team lost only 4 games after that, finishing with an 18-14 record. Although they had barely qualified for the playoffs as the #4 seed, no one wanted to face them. In the first round, the Sting upset first the #1 seeded Cleveland Rockers and then the #2 New York Liberty, beating each in 3 games. For the first time in franchise history the Sting found themselves in the WNBA Finals. It was also the first time a Charlotte team played in a professional sports championship. But the magic ended there for the Sting, as they were swept by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2 games.

The Sting posted a solid 18-14 record in the 2002 season, but were swept by the Washington Mystics in the first round of the playoffs.

The Hornets Move

After the 2001/2002 NBA season, the Charlotte Hornets relocated to New Orleansmarker for a number of reasons. (see "New Orleans Hornets") The Sting did not accompany the Hornets out to New Orleans. For one season (2003), the Sting had no brother team.

The Late Years

The NBA immediately announced after the Hornets moved that a new team would begin play in Charlotte starting in the 2004/2005 season. Shortly after, the owner of this new franchise was announced as Robert L. Johnson. Johnson also bought the Sting to play as the sister team of the new Charlotte Bobcats.

The 2003 season saw yet another playoff appearance for the venerable Sting. The Sting had posted an 18-16 record and tied with the Connecticut Sun for the #2 seed. The Sting played the same Sun in the playoffs, and were swept out in 2 games.

After the season, Johnson changed the Sting team colors from the Hornets' teal and purple to correspond with the Bobcats' blue and orange. There was some speculation that the team might get a new name, but a newly released mascot following the same Sting theme made that idea unlikely.

During the offseason, the team made several key roster additions to its established group of veterans. After trading Kelly Miller to the Indiana Fever in exchange for the 3rd overall pick in the WNBA Draft, the Sting drafted Stanford Universitymarker standout Nicole Powell. The Sting made four picks overall - including the second round pick of Penn Statemarker standout Kelly Mazzante.

The Sting did not make the playoffs in the 2004 season, as they posted a 16-18 record and finished one game out of the #4 seed. After the season, the Sting continued to build for the future - trading with the Sacramento Monarchs for Tangela Smith and a second-round draft pick in the 2006 draft in a deal that saw Nicole Powell traded to Sacramento. Having won the first pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft, the Sting selected University of Minnesotamarker Golden Gophers player Janel McCarville.

The new look Sting suffered a terrible 2005 season, posting the league's worst record at 6-28. During the season, the Sting traded veteran Dawn Staley to the Houston Comets and named Charlotte basketball icon Muggsy Bogues as their new head coach late in the season. The season also saw the team play its last game in the Charlotte Coliseummarker, the team's home arena since 1997.

The Sting moved into the Bobcats' new home, Charlotte Bobcats Arenamarker, for the 2006 season. The Sting had a better season in 2006 than 2005, posting an 11-23 record. The Sting had a new arena and were clearly making progress in the rebuilding. Despite the growing number of successes on the court, the 2006 season proved to be the Sting's final season in the league.

End of the Sting

On December 13, 2006, Bobcats Sports and Entertainment turned ownership of the team over to the league, citing low attendance in Charlotte (despite a new arena) and loss of revenue.

Attempted Move to Kansas City

An investment group in Kansas Citymarker had an interest in moving the Sting to Kansas City. The Sting were to play in the Sprint Centermarker, which was due to open in the Fall of 2007. The team may have had a better life in Kansas City with a better market and a hunger for professional basketball. The city has not had an NBA team since the Kings' move to Sacramento, Californiamarker after the 1984-85 season. Still, WNBA franchises experience low interest throughout the league, and there was no guarantee that Kansas City would be any different.

The Sting Fold

After months of talk and deliberation between the league and the investors; the plans would ultimately fall through. On January 3, 2007, the Bobcats announced that the fundraising effort by a group seeking to move the team to Kansas Citymarker had failed. The team would fold immediately, and the players would be sent to the other teams in the league via a dispersal draft.

Season-by-season records

Notable Facts

  • The Sting were the first team to play in a WNBA Finals and end up folding.

Players of note

Hall of Famers


Retired numbers

Former players

Name Years Team Accomplishments
Cass Bauer-Bilodeau 1999-2000
Vicky Bullett 1997-1999
  • One of two Sting players to start the first 90 games in franchise history
Shalonda Enis 2000-2003
  • Scored a career-high 29 points vs. Detroit on July 3, 2003
Rhonda Mapp 1997-2000
  • 1st Sting player to participate in a WNBA All Star Game
  • Franchise-best 18 rebounds vs. New York on July 26, 1999
  • Scored a career-high 25 points vs. Detroit on July 29, 2000
Kelly Miller 2001-2003
  • First-Round pick (2nd overall)
  • Led WNBA in three-point field goal percentage in 2002 (.471)
Tracy Reid 1998-2000
  • 1998 WNBA Rookie of the Year
Charlotte Smith 1999-2004
Dawn Staley 1997-2005
  • All-time leader in assists (1,176)
  • Set a team record for assists in one season (190 in 2000)
  • 3 time WNBA All Star (2001-2003)
  • Recorded her 1,000 WNBA Assist vs. Connecticut on September 1, 2004
Andrea Stinson 1997-2004
  • Started every game in the first 8 years in franchise history
  • All-time leader in points (3,329), field goals made (1,302), field goals attempted (2,882), free-throws made (520), free-throws attempted (706), rebounds (1,115) and steals (339)
  • 3-time WNBA All Star (2000-2002)
  • Team's leading scorer for six straight seasons (1997-2002)

Final roster

Coaches and others

Head Coaches

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