Growing up in the South in the 1990’s, there were three things you would likely see at school every day: Trapper Keepers, Slap Bracelets and Charlotte Hornets Starter jackets. Everybody had at least two of the three.
In a move that was as wise as the invention of the shot clock, team president Michael Jordan announced that Charlotte basketball will no longer be called the Bobcats. By re-adopting their old moniker and colors to boot, the franchise will rekindle the old feelings that have been dormant for several years now. When the Hornets came on the scene in 1988, they had an instant following of young fans who enjoyed their brand of basketball and more importantly, their awesome gear.
Those first years were amazing at the Charlotte Coliseum, known as “The Hive”. Never mind that the Hornets lost their first game by 40 points. Who could forget tiny Muggsy Bogues flying down the court with abandon, Rex Chapman‘s crazy vertical leap or that fantastic mascot, Hugo? What about Dell Curry‘s perfect box fade or Kelly Tripucka‘s righteous mullet? This expansion team in North Carolina endeared itself to thousands of Southern kids who were weary of the Atlanta Hawks being the only franchise around.
Of course, the Alonzo Mourning–Larry Johnson–Glen Rice years put the team on the map with several playoff appearances from 1992-98. These characters, along with players like Kendall Gill and Hersey Hawkins, showed the NBA that Charlotte was more than a college basketball mecca. Although they were never able to make the Eastern Conference Finals, the team was always among the league leaders in attendance during those years. The Hornets maintained a popularity that existed until their untimely departure in 2002 to the Bermuda Triangle of basketball, New Orleans.
The Hive is coming back. Hugo the Hornet is back. The Hornets are currently No. 1 in the league for new ticket sales for 2014-15 and 90 percent of their 2013-14 season ticket holders have renewed. There is an energy around this franchise now and Jordan will see to it that these Hornets will restore the good vibes from days past.
Break out the Trapper Keepers and the Starter jackets. Let the good times roll in Charlotte.