Though my love of professional sports began with the NBA in the late 1990’s, I would not consider myself a basketball fan anymore. However, that may change if and when there’s a return of the Charlotte Hornets. I’ve definitely caught a bit of the Hornets fever, an it’s spilling over into my affection for the Charlotte Checkers.
I remember many, many visits to “The Hive” throughout middle and high school, and attended an NBA all star game at the Coliseum on Tyvola. Though oftentimes I was cheering for the away team (Go Suns!) the memories I have of the Hornets are fond ones, and I can’t wait to have that team back in my city.
Sure, it’s just a PR and rebranding move, but the early days of the Hornets were amazing. Muggsy Bogues and Kurt Rambis (and his disgustingly hairy chest and mullet!) were central figures in my childhood love of sports. I really believe that bringing the Hornets back will revitalize the Charlotte basketball fanbase, and hopefully erase the bad feelings that Bob Johnson created when he named a team after himself.
One of the most distinctive elements of the Hornets brand was their uniforms. North Carolina born fashion designer Alexander Julian is responsible for designing the iconic teal and white jerseys that featured classic pinstripes, and complicated patterning that other jerseys of the 1980’s didn’t have. To this day, I think the teal jerseys with green, blue, purple and white pinstripes are one of the classiest looks of all time.
Initially, the jerseys had single pinstripes, but 10 years after the Hornets came to town, a second series of pinstripes was added to recognize the team’s second decade in Charlotte. There weren’t here long enough (the first time) to enter a third decade.
I’m not really a photoshop pro, and have never been one to design “fantasy” jerseys, but with the news of the Hornets, I decided I had to throw together my own version of what I think would be an AWESOME third jersey. This past season’s “Old Time Hockey” jerseys were my favorite the Checkers have ever done. Sure, the Pink in the Rink and NASCAR jerseys are always fun, but those Old Time Hockey sweaters were AMAZING, and the only thing that could equal (or top!) them would be a saute to one of the most beloved pro teams in Charlotte history, the Hornets.
So, Checkers fans, what do you think? Am I onto something? Who would love to see the Checkers skate out in sweaters that resemble the 1990 Charlotte Hornets? I know I would!