It is a time of renewal in the Charlotte Bobcats organization, as the team looks to make a clean break from a dreadful 7-59 season that was, in terms of winning percentage, the worst in NBA history. Heading into next year, the Bobcats will have a new focal point, selected with the No. 2 pick in the upcoming 2012 NBA draft. They will have a new coach, with news breaking this week that the team will hire former St. John's Red Storm assistant Mike Dunlap to man the sidelines.
And they will have new uniforms, which were unveiled Tuesday night in photo galleries published by the Charlotte Observer and the Bobcats' official site, respectively. Take a gander at the new togs, modeled (from left) by guard Kemba Walker, swingman Gerald Henderson and big Bismack Biyombo:
[Marc J. Spears: LeBron James feeling comfortable on the cusp of a title]
They all look reasonably pleased with their new clothes! And why shouldn't they be? They are, if nothing else, different from the ones in which they just lost 59 of 66 games. The Observer's Rick Bonnell details the changes:
They're switching to a darker navy blue, adding Carolina blue as an accent, and further de-emphasizing the orange color that dominated their uniforms their first two seasons.
They're also shortening their nickname on the white home jerseys from "Bobcats" to "Cats." The blue road jerseys will continue to say, "Charlotte."
If the first thing the "Cats" shortening made you think of was, "Well, that's a nice symbolic sayonara to Robert Johnson" — the original owner of the franchise, after whom the Bobcats were named (well, kind of) and who sold the team to Michael Jordan in February 2010 — then you are not alone; I thought that, too. But team president Fred Whitfield told Bonnell that the shortening is "not purposefully" about Johnson, that it is "about brand identity" and intended to reflect what Charlotte fans actually call the team during games. (I guess "WAIT WHY DID YOU DO THAT, OH MAN, YOU GUYS ARE THE WORST" wouldn't fit on the front.)
More photos after the jump.
The switch to navy as the primary color in the road jerseys will reportedly make it easier for team apparel vendors to effectively match the color of the team's kits than it was with the skewed shade of blue they used to use, which makes sense, because you want to do anything you can to make merchandise easier to produce and more likely to sell, even if it's hard to envision Matt Carroll shirseys suddenly sprouting up all over the Triangle. Similarly, the addition of Carolina blue accents makes sense for three reasons:
1. Because when you are the worst team in basketball, it makes sense to try to evoke the image of the much more successful local collegiate team with which many of your fans are in love, if for no other reason than they might be less likely to hate you upon sight because they have positive associations with the color;
2. Because, according to Whitfield, 35 percent of people polled by the team said they'd like to see some Carolina blue in the scheme, so adding it makes you look like you are very receptive to the desires of your fan base (except that you are kind of also telling 65 percent of the people to go fly a kite, but also, people respect firm boundaries);
3. Because Carolina blue is a dope color, so, y'know, more of that, please.
Underneath all that, though, is the general concept that coming off the season the Bobcats just had, nearly every possible change is good. These uniforms don't necessarily blow my hair back and strike me as revolutionary, but they're different, and at a time when Charlotte's trying to chart a new direction and separate from its recent misery, different is good.
Besides, maybe it's a harbinger of things to come. Things sure seemed to turn out well for the Dallas Mavericks after they ditched their old unis in favor of a navy-and-white-led color scheme at the start of the 2000s.
Say ... now that you mention it, that font and that design does look awful Dirk-y. Nicely done, 'Cats. Now you just have to find a 7-foot German with 28-foot range to score 25 a night for a decade, and you're in there like swimwear.
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