The Charlotte Hornets are an American professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Hornets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team is largely owned by former NBA player Michael Jordan, who acquired controlling interest in the team in 2010.
The original Hornets franchise was established in 1988 as an expansion team, owned by George Shinn. In 2002, Shinn's franchise relocated to New Orleans and became the New Orleans Hornets. In 2004 the NBA established the Charlotte Bobcats, which was regarded as a new expansion team at the time. In 2013, the New Orleans franchise announced it would rebrand itself the New Orleans Pelicans, ultimately returning the Hornets name, records, and official history (spanning 1988–2002) to Charlotte. The Bobcats were officially renamed the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014–15 NBA season.
History of the Charlotte Hornets
In 1985, the NBA was planning to expand by four teams by the 1988–1989 season. George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, North Carolina, wanted to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area, and he assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise. The Charlotte area had long been a hotbed for college basketball. Charlotte was also one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and was previously one of the three in-state regional homes to the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars from 1969 to 1974. Despite doubt from critics, Shinn's ace in the hole was the Charlotte Coliseum, a state-of-the-art arena that would seat almost 24,000 spectators – the largest basketball-specific arena ever to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. On April 5, 1987, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern called Shinn to tell him his group had been awarded the 24th NBA franchise, to begin play in 1988.
Originally, the new team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but a name-the-team contest yielded "Hornets" as the winning choice. The team received further attention when it chose teal as its primary color, setting off a sports fashion craze in the late 80s and early 90s. The team's uniforms, designed by international designer and North Carolina native Alexander Julian, featured a first for NBA uniforms—pin stripes. Similar designs by other teams followed, as they became a hit.
Shinn hired Carl Scheer as the team's first President and General Manager. Scheer preferred a roster of veteran players, hoping to put together a competitive team as soon as possible. Former college coach and veteran NBA assistant Dick Harter was hired as the team's first head coach. In 1988, the Hornets and the Miami Heat were part of the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft. Unlike many expansion franchises that invest in the future with a team composed entirely of young players, Charlotte stocked its inaugural roster with several veterans in hopes of putting a competitive lineup on the court right away.
Mascot and Cheerleaders
Hugo The Hornet is the mascot of the franchise.
The Hornets have an official cheerleading squad known as the Charlotte Honey Bees. The Honey Bees perform sideline dances as well as center-court dances during games. They also represent the Hornets brand as ambassadors to the community and are involved in community service activities and charity functions. When the team was known as the Bobcats, the cheerleaders were called the Lady Cats.
The Hornets first logo was a teal and purple anthropomorphic hornet wearing white shoes and gloves dribbling an orange basketball. The words 'Charlotte Hornets' were in teal and curved across the top and bottom of the logo. An alternate logo, used only for the 1988–89 season, featured a large teal letter 'C', with 'Charlotte' in black letters curved upwards underneath. Inside the 'C' was a smaller white letter 'H' outlined in teal, with a black colored hornet holding a basketball from birds-eye view placed in the center. The 'H' portion of the logo remained on the warm-ups and wasteband of the jerseys until the 1991–92 season.
After the end of the Bobcat era Charlotte's second Hornets logo features a teal and purple forward-facing hornet with the words 'Charlotte Hornets' on its body. Wings sprout up above the head on both left and right, with teal and purple details. The hornet's stinger is prominently featured; a basketball pattern is above the stinger. Gray fully outlines the logo. Among the team's different secondary logos includes a hornet facing to the side, its teal and purple body arched in a 'C' shape representing the city of Charlotte, and a modified version of the Hornets original logo as the official mascot logo.
The original Hornets uniforms were designed by international designer and North Carolina native Alexander Julian. The team chose teal and purple as its primary colors and featured a first for NBA uniforms—pinstripes. While most teams feature team names on home jerseys and their home city on away jerseys, the Hornets' uniforms had "Charlotte" on both home and away jerseys. Home uniforms were white with pinstripes in teal, green, blue and purple, while the away jerseys were teal with pinstripes in white, green, blue and purple. The 'Hugo' logo was prominently featured on the shorts' beltline, beginning in early 1992.
In 1994, the Hornets unveiled a purple alternate uniform, with pinstripes in white, green, blue and teal. Likewise Hugo was featured in the beltline.
From 1997 to 2002, the Hornets made slight changes to their uniforms. Hugo was moved from the beltline to the left leg, while side stripes with pinstripes were added, in purple (away) and teal (home) colors. A tricolor featuring teal, purple and blue was featured on the beltline and the piping.
After the end of the Bobcat era the newly renamed Hornets unveiled the team's uniforms on June 19, 2014, consisting of white home and purple road uniforms with the "Hornets" wordmark across the chest. The team also unveiled a teal alternate uniform with the "Charlotte" wordmark across the chest. The teal uniform is planned to be used as an alternate uniform for either home or road games and worn a total of 16-20 times per season.
Charlotte Coliseum (1988–2002), (2004–2005)
Spectrum Center (known as Charlotte Bobcats Arena from 2005 to 2008 and as Time Warner Cable Arena from 2008 to 2016) (2005–present)
13, Bobby Phills, died in a car crash while playing for the original incarnation of the team. His jersey was retired posthumously.
Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks
Official website: http://www.nba.com/hornets/