With their loss to the Miami Heat in four games the Charlotte Bobcats name is thankfully no longer. Michael Jordan, in one of his rare good moves, has brought back the Charlotte Hornets name and this is the best news I have gotten since the Hornets traded some all hype, no talent 17-year-old named Kobe Bryant to the Lakers for Vlade Divac, boy did the Lakers get fleeced.
Anyhow, this brings out more nostalgia in me than getting to open an entire box of 1988 Hoops basketball cards trying to pull David Robinson rookie cards. Growing up I loved the Charlotte Hornets. There was just something about the team, its colors, its players, and most importantly its gear that jumped out to me. So let me help dissect for you why this move is more awesome than a Stone Cold Stunner and what memories it brings back.
Teal and Purple may have once been considered girl colors. That all changed as fast as Jonathan Brandis did in the movie Ladybugs. The colors now represented the newest and hottest NBA team. You could spot these threads all over the playground during recess on the court, jungle jims, swings, and fields. Heck even gang bangers made these their turf colors at one point – still waiting to see this on a throwback episode of Gangland.
When you think of the Hornets, three players come to mind immediately: Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, and Alonzo Mourning. These three compromised the heart and soul of this franchise and should have a Mount Rushmore somewhere in Charlotte accentuating their awesomeness. I still have more Hornets and LJ paraphernalia than Michael Irvin has in his truck. Not to be outdone, from the beginning to the end they had their fair share of great players and stars. Kelly Tripuca, Rex Chapman, Dell Curry, Glen Rice, Baron Davis, and how could we not forget Kendall Gill and his dope high top fade. Oh wait, I forgot Ricky Davis. A great collection of players, mostly not superstars but ballers you could resonate with and could get with their game and root for.
Let’s get this straight, there was nothing better than Hornets gear. Hats, shirts, heck even sweatpants were in heavier rotation in the early 90’s than crappy Maroon 5 songs today. Hornets jerseys were hotter than a French bread pizza burning your mouth. Everywhere you went someone was rocking the teal road tops or the alternate purple jerseys. My stable included LJ white, teal, and authentic purple jersey. The authentic jersey at this time was a coming of age in the popularity change. I also had stocking hats and the most extinct species on the planet – Converse React LJ kicks.
In its own stratosphere that hit more home runs than Barry Bonds, is the first ballot Bacon Sports Hall of Famer, the Charlotte Hornets Starter Jacket. From school yards to malls to basketball courts, these coats were a 2-1 ratio. I had the original version and rocked that thing harder than Mr. T rocked his gold chains. Hey Mom, can you go in the basement and get that puppy out of storage for me?
Two Words: NBA Jam. Arguably the hottest arcade game that eventually turned Super Nintendo/Sega folk lore. The trio of LJ, Zo, and Kendall Gill were one of the tops in the game. LJ could do it all and caught fire more time than Andre Rison’s mansion. Zo was a force inside who could fill it up. And Kendall Gill could provide….nothing there was no need for him. Forgotten on the basketball video game chain was Tecmo Basketball. The Hornets were a Houston Oilers like Run and Gun Tecmo Squad. LJ was LJ, Dell Curry and Rex Chapman were filthy outside the three line and Bogues was a solid 1. The secret move was to sub Kenny Gattison at 5 to put in JR Reid, absolute game changer that no team could keep up with. If this does not take you back to the days of pizza, ecto cooler and sleepovers, nothing will.
Now that you know the Charlotte franchise is turning back the clock to the Charlotte Hornets, what are your thoughts? What things do the Hornets remind you of from your younger days? I would love to hear from you so holla on Twitter @BaconSports or in the comments.