SBD/June 10, 2014/Franchises

Michael Jordan Discusses Reaction To Hornets Rebrand, Club Creates New Fund For Teachers

Jordan said he'll leverage the team's rising popularity to attract more corporate donors
The Hornets yesterday launched the Charlotte Hornets Teacher Innovation Fund, which will "provide money for teachers to try new classroom strategies," and team Owner Michael Jordan used the occasion to "make his first public comments on the positive community reaction to his choice" to rebrand the team away from the Bobcats, according to Mark Price of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Jordan said of the rebrand, "It lets me know that we did the right thing. I think the name is something the community considered itself owning. Support for the team was unparalleled when they first moved to Charlotte, and I think (the city) felt like they got robbed when the team moved. Now we’re giving them the name back, and we hope they again feel that connection.” He added that the "biggest challenge now is to build a team 'that the city can be proud of, and I think we’re on the verge of doing that.'" Meanwhile, the Hornets began the new teacher's fund "with a $250,000 grant, including dollars provided" by Lowe’s and FS Carolinas/SportSouth. Jordan said that he "intends to use his name and the team’s popularity to attract other corporate donors to further build the fund." Hornets officials also said that the team's intent "is to provide $70,000 a year in grants to local teachers for use in innovative approaches to teaching." Grants will "range from $1,000 to $5,000 per teacher, depending on their needs" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/10). In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg notes the Hornets last Thursday re-introduced the club's mascot, Hugo, at Time Warner Cable Arena, and his debut "started a series of appearances throughout the city." Like the team's logo, the new mascot uniform "has been tweaked with a more aggressive, contemporary design." New Hugo merchandise "went on sale Thursday at the arena team shop." Nike "designed the new logo and also the uniforms slated to be introduced June 19." The Hornets later this month "will unveil their home floor" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/6 issue).
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