Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Charlotte Gets The "Hornets" Back ... Now What???

"We Beelieve That The Bugs Are Back!" was a slogan used
in the 1990s for the Charlotte Hornets.  The name is back, but
what else does the franchise need to do?

Michael Jordan made official what everyone knew:  the Charlotte Bobcats want to change their name to the Hornets.

A little history for those who somehow don't know.  The Charlotte Hornets entered the NBA in 1988 and the city led the league in attendance in 8 of their first 10 seasons (the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves led the other two seasons when they played in the Metrodome).  Original franchise owner George Shinn ... who was beloved by the city ... got into some hot water for some extra-marital affairs and a sexual harrassment suit.  The city soured on him and he ended up bolting for New Orleans.  The NBA let it happen, though they immediately gave Charlotte another expansion franchise, which would become the Bobcats.  Shinn sold the New Orleans Hornets to the NBA, who sold it to Tom Benson, who changed the name to the Pelicans.  With the Hornets name available, Jordan (who now owns the Bobcats), claimed the name.

Got it?

Now that it has happened, let's look at some other aspects of what should take place.

TEAM COLORS:  Jordan said that they hadn't decided on the team colors.  I'd bet nearly everything that the teal, purple and white will be back with the Hornets.  After all, the "Bring Back The Buzz" campaign that the Bobcats/Hornets have been pimping out there has those original Hornets color schemes.  Remember that it was the Hornets that turned the sports world onto teal in 1988.  No one had it.  After the Hornets, the San Jose Sharks, Florida Marlins and Jacksonville Jaguars had a bit of teal in their logos. 

It belongs back in Charlotte.  But let's just think for a second if they went another direction.  What could it be? 

They could continue to use the dark blue, Carolina blue and orange that the Bobcats currently use.  That way it could meld the franchises together.  I'm not a big fan of that, but I can't blame the Bobcats/Hornets if they did it.  It keeps the Bobcats fanbase a bit happy that the orange they've been used to would be there if the name wasn't.

Original logo
Outside of that, nothing makes sense.  If you were going to go away from the Bobcats current colors, then you may as well stick with the teal and purple.  No one else in the NBA has those colors.

LOGO:  No one in the city would object to the new Charlotte Hornets using their old logo.  Not only is the logo a favorite, but it has been popular in retro gear.  I mean, you could buy Charlotte Hornets merchandise over the last decade even though there was no Charlotte Hornets. 

I do understand a tweaking of it.  After all, the Hornets logo underwent some changes when they moved to New Orleans.  I don't see anything too wholesale being changed.  I think we'll see a fluttering hornet dribbling a basketball just like we always have.  I doubt we'll see it look exactly the same as the old logo, but I don't think they will go off the wall.  Maybe something like this.

UNIFORMS:  Now, I can see anything happen here.  There's is no way the unis will look the same as what Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Muggsy Bogues are wearing at the top of this page.  Those uniforms will make appearances as a retro jersey of some sort.  Believe that.  But Jordan and the Bobcats spent a lot of time changing the Bobcats look over the last two years that some of those ideas could be incorporated.  I don't see the pinstripes returning, for some reason. 

Still ... and this goes back to the logo and colors as well ... why even bother changing the name "back" to the Hornets if you don't stick to the main focus of the original Hornets?

BOBCATS FANS:  I know it doesn't seem like it, but there are some pissed off Bobcats fans that don't like this change.  Some may not remember the old Hornets.  Some may have bought completely into the Bobcats clothing and merchandise.  I mean, what are you going to do with all that Bobcats stuff?

That's where Jordan and the team should really tread lightly.  Give into those fans.  Sure, some like this change, but treat all your ticket holders respectfully.  Throw them some bones.  Maybe invite fans to exchange certain Bobcats gear for Hornets stuff.  Give away a lot of Hornets stuff, especially at the games.  Possibly even during the upcoming season (they will be the Bobcats for the 2013-2014 season before most likely becoming the Hornets in 2014-2015).  Give stickers, hats, towels, whatever to these fans so they can stock up on things.

EMBRACE THE OLD:  Dell Curry is the TV analyst for the team.  But Jordan needs to reach out to the other ol' skool Hornets.  Bogues still does a lot in Charlotte and is possibly the most popular Hornets player.  Maybe Kelly Tripuka can make an appearance.  Or Rex Chapman.  Or J.R. Reid.  Or LJ.  Incorporate some of the things Hornets fans loved about the original franchise that made them yearn for those memories to come back. 

Oh ... AND HUGO BETTER BE BACK!!!!  He is loved in this city. 

UM, THE TEAM:  None of this will mean anything if the club doesn't get better.  There will be a very short honeymoon for these Hornets.  The original Hornets got a standing ovation after losing to the Cavaliers by 40 points in their first game.  They had a parade after the end of the first season.  They were rabid as the franchise rose to the playoffs with Johnson, Mourning, Bogues, Dell Curry, Kenny Gattison and many others.  Remember that the Hornets didn't have a losing season their last 10 years in Charlotte.  The Bobcats, by comparison, have had just one winning season in their 9 years of existence.

There isn't much on this roster.  The upcoming draft offers little help.  Somehow they have got to at least show they can turn it around and get on a winning track. 

If not, then what's the point.

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