CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The Charlotte Hornets have applied to the NBA to relocate the franchise in New Orleans in time for the 2002-2003 season, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory said Wednesday.
Hornets officials did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment, but McCrory said he was made aware of the decision from Mike Crum, director of operations at the Charlotte Coliseum, which is home to the team.
An NBA spokesman would not confirm that the Hornets have applied to relocate and said any announcement would come from the team.
Twenty-two of 29 NBA owners would have to vote in favor of the move. It is believed that the league would be reluctant to put a franchise back in New Orleans, which has a relatively small television market and corporate base.
More upsets in Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The upsets continued in the Australian Open Wednesday as Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov and France's Sebastien Grosjean became the latest high seeds to lose.
Kafelnikov, the fourth seed, was stunned by American qualifier Alex Kim, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, in one hour, 42 minutes after the fifth-seeded Grosjean succumbed to Francisco Clavet of Spain,6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4.
The pair joined top three seeds Lleyton Hewitt, Gustavo Kuerten and Andre Agassi on the sidelines. Hewitt and Kuerten lost in the first round and Agassi, the two-time defending champion,withdrew Monday with a wrist injury.
The top five seeds have lost in the first two rounds for the first time at a Grand Slam event.
Coming up, two-time Open men's champion Pete Sampras and defending women's champion Jennifer Capriati headline Thursday's second round action.
Sampras takes on Juan Ignacio Cheia of Argentina while Capriati faces fellow American Meilen Tu.
Shriver, Wilander in Tennis Hall of Fame
NEWPORT, R.I., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Pam Shriver, one of just five women to win more than 100 career titles, and Mats Wilander, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles, Wednesday were elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The pair will be inducted July 13.
The American-born Shriver captured 21 singles and 112 doubles titles in her career and joins Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Jana Novotna as the only women to win 100 titles in the Open Era.
Shriver was ranked in the top 10 in singles for most of the 1980s but is best known for teaming with Navratilova to form one of the greatest doubles teams of all time. Shriver captured 22 Grand Slam doubles titles and all but two came with Navratilova.
In addition to his seven Grand Slam singles titles, the Swedish-born Wilander won 26 other singles titles. In 1988, he captured the Australian, French and U.S. Opens and was the
top-ranked player in the world.
Mickelson returns for Hope Classic
The PGA Tour has made its way back to the mainland Wednesday for the 90-hole Bob Hope Classic, which features Mickelson's first action since August.
Ranked second in the world, Mickelson has not appeared in a tour event since last year's NEC Invitational. He decided to sit out the rest of the season following the birth of his second child.
Mickelson also was suffering from heartbreak, having come within a stroke of a playoff with David Toms at the PGA Championship.
He ended up extending his career-long major drought to 38 events.
Basketball player suspect in rape
ATHENS, Ga., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- University of Georgia police are investigating a rape that may have involved a member of the men's basketball team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.
The player, whose name was not revealed, allegedly was involved in an incident reported to have occurred Monday night at McWhorter Hall, an on-campus dormitory that houses several student-athletes.
Police said a female student called officers to her residence at 1 a.m.Tuesday and reported she had been raped by a man she knew and that another man she didn't know tried to rape her.
"It did involve athletes," Asa Boynton, the school's director of public safety, said. "We know who all the suspects are."
Basketball Coach Jim Harrick said no arrests had been made and no charges filed.
Tigers sign two, avoid arbitration
DETROIT, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The Detroit Tigers signed righthanded setup man Danny Patterson and promising slugger Robert Fick Wednesday, avoiding arbitration with both players.
Patterson, 30, agreed to a three-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed but Patterson made $1.1 million last season. Patterson appeared in a career-high 60 games last season and went 5-4 with a 3.06 ERA and one save. He was third in the American League in percentage of inherited runners stranded and seventh-best in walks-per-nine innings.
Fick, 27, agreed to a one-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed but he made $255,000 last season, when he batted .272 with 19homers and 61 RBI in a career-high 124 games.
Allen defends shootout title
NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Defending champion Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks heads a list of eight players selected for the Feb. 9 Shootout during All-Star Weekend at the First Union Center in Philadelphia.
Allen made 10 straight shots in the final round of last year's competition to edge Sacramento's Peja Stojakovic for his first career title. Allen is the only former winner in this year's field and is trying to become the fifth repeat winner. He is shooting 44 percent (90-for-206) from 3-point range in 28 games this season. Stojakovic, who is shooting 40 percent (70-for-159) from beyond the arc in 35 games, will try to become the first winner from a Pacific Division team since Dale Ellis of the Seattle SuperSonics in 1989.
Wesley Person of the Cleveland Cavaliers is making his first appearance in the shootout. Person, who played in the 1995 Rookie Game during All-Star Weekend, is fourth in the NBA in three-point percentage, making 67 of 142 attempts (47 percent).
San Antonio's Steve Smith, who is shooting an NBA-best 56.5 percent (70-for-124) from behind the arc, also was selected.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]