Charlotte Bobcats chairman Michael Jordan turned in the paperwork on Tuesday to begin the process to change the team's name back to the Hornets for the 2014-15 season.
The application was submitted to the NBA Board of Governors. It will need majority approval in a vote, which is expected to come when the group next meets on July 18 in Las Vegas.
"This is a monumental moment for our organization," Jordan said. "After undergoing an elaborate research process, we recognize that this is what our fans want. We believe that making this change would not only re-establish one of the most recognized brands in sports but would also unify our fan base by bringing together our loyal Bobcats fans with those who have fond memories of our city's NBA predecessor.
"Our fans spoke and we listened."
The expansion franchise existed as the Hornets from 1988 until 2002, when owner George Shinn moved the team to New Orleans and took the name there. When the Hornets were renamed the Pelicans after this season, the nickname became available for Charlotte to reclaim.
NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver has estimated that the changeover would take about 18 months. If the request is approved, next season would Charlotte's last as the Bobcats.