The Charlotte Hornets introduced three new uniforms on Thursday, completing the long process of moving away from the Bobcats brand and reclaiming the Hornets mantle from the similarly rechristened New Orleans Pelicans. And as promised by owner Michael Jordan, there's plenty of teal and purple to go along with that new-look Hornets logo.
Take a look:
Sure, the '80s and '90s nostalgics among us might pine for the full-teal numbers of Kelly Tripucka, Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and the bunch, and these ain't those. As a matter of fact, according to Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, Alexander Julian, the designer of the old Hornets units, actually offered his services on the new models, free of charge. The Hornets, however, declined.
"Each step of the way we tried to be mindful about connecting the original Hornets with the modern DNA," Hornets chief marketing officer Pete Guelli told Steve Reed of The Associated Press. "We knew we could never go back to the original logo. We wanted to reflect the heritage and evolve the brand that left 12 years ago."
This particular evolution looks, to these eyes at least, pretty sharp.
In addition to the home whites and road purples, Charlotte will also rock a teal alternate uniform that can be worn in either setting, and can be worn a total of 16 to 20 times per season, "allowing more usage for the popular color in front of the home fans," according to the team. (Here's hoping the Hornets are more successful in this alternate uni than the New York Knicks were in their orange alternates this season.)
The kits were manufactured by adidas (reasonable, because that's the league's official uniform partner) but designed in collaboration with Nike's Jordan Brand (reasonable, because that dude owns the team). Home and away feature "Hornets" on the front; teal has "Charlotte" up front. There are purple, teal and light-blue stripes — not pinstripes, just stripes — as a bit of a shoutout to the original Hornets, too, which is neat.
Fans eager to get their hands on new Hornets jerseys will have to wait a bit, according to the team. Pre-ordering will reportedly begin in August at the Hornets Fan Shop, with jerseys expected to start showing up in late September.
There's another little design element that the Hornets didn't trumpet in their press release, but that didn't escape the notice of Business Insider's Cork Gaines. The NBA logo will appear not on the chest of the jersey, but rather on the back, below the neckline and between the shoulder blades:
Bloomberg sports business reporter Scott Soshnick reports that the league says it's moving the logo patch to the back for "stylistic reasons," which, frankly, sounds a bit thin:
The switch comes as league owners ponder whether to put advertisements on uniforms for the first time. NBA commissioner Adam Silver this year said uniform ads, which are common elsewhere in the world, are inevitable. Last year, he said it would probably happen within five years. [...]
The NBA’s teams collectively may reap about $100 million annually in revenue from jersey ads, the league has said.
Back in March, Silver called jersey ads "an idea whose time has come." "Stylistic reasons" or not, it seems that the Hornets' new strips provide us with the best indication to date that the time may truly be now ... or, at least, closer than ever. Now M.J. and company just have to figure out which sponsors logos look best against fields of teal and purple.
Let's take some more looks at the uniforms:
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