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Volume 20 No. 41
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Teal is back, but only as accent or alternate

No Alexander Julian, no pleats and no “Charlotte” on the chest of the home and away jerseys. Those changes, along with an updated, clean look, punctuate the new Charlotte Hornets uniforms.

Adidas, the NBA’s official uniform supplier, provided the fabrics. Team staffers, the NBA office in New York and Nike’s Jordan Brand division collaborated on the designs.

“Hornets” appears on the new jerseys; “Charlotte” is on the alternates, a tribute to the originals (below).

Charlotte takes the court as the Hornets this fall for the first time in 12 years.

The original Hornets became one of the top-selling NBA teams when Julian, the famed fashion designer who has roots in North Carolina, introduced the purple-and-teal colors and pinstriped uniforms in 1988. “Charlotte” was spelled out across the chest on the home white jersey and the teal road jersey. In the new versions, the home whites spell out “Hornets” in teal letters across the chest. The road uniforms are purple, with white letters spelling out the team name.

An alternate uniform, with an all-teal base, pays tribute to the originals with “Charlotte” on the chest in white letters. Hornets executives said excitement and support from fans over the return of the Hornets’ name convinced designers to put the team name rather than the city name on the home and away jerseys.

The alternate uniforms will be worn 16 to 20 times in the coming season and allowed flexibility to incorporate elements from Julian’s original design.

“In 1988, a lot of people needed to know who ‘Charlotte’ was,” said Seth Bennett, senior vice president of marketing, entertainment and interactive media for the Hornets. “That’s no longer the case.”

Julian wasn’t involved in the current Hornets’ makeover. The team says the final design tweaked the earlier uniforms with a contemporary spin.

Hugo has returned for action, but the new version of the mascot (right) looks to have spent some time in the gym.
Similarly, the Hornets unveiled a revamped bee logo and a sleeker font last December. A slimmer, more aggressive mascot — though still called Hugo the Hornet — emerged last month, much less Muppet-like than the popular original designed by Cheryl Henson (daughter of Jim Henson, the late Muppets creator).

Orders for the new jerseys start in late August, and authentic jerseys will arrive in stores and be shipped to fans starting a month later. They also will be sold at the team’s arena shop, online and by various retailers starting in late September. Prices will be in the $200 range for authentic jerseys, with replicas selling for $65 to $70 each.

Like the original jerseys, the new ones feature V-necks, but the overlay is a solid color instead of the earlier stripes. So-called tonal accents, muted lettering on the lower right portion of the shorts, include the word “Charlotte” on the home and away uniforms and “Hornets” on the alternate.

The Julian jerseys featured four widely spaced pinstripes front and back. The new version clusters the striping along the left side only. Shorts also include a silhouette Hornets logo on the waistband and a cell pattern on the bottom left leg with a secondary or alternate logo.

— Erik Spanberg