Friday, April 12, 2013

Coincidence or not? The Hornet Air Jordans

So lots of conspiracy theorists -- as well as some major fans of the old Charlotte Hornets -- are drawing a connection between the fact that some Charlotte Hornet-colored Air Jordan shoes are being re=released next week and the fact that the Bobcats are considering whether to change their nickname back to the Charlotte Hornets.

It does seem strange, doesn't it? The Bobcats' "due diligence" on whether to go retro and grab the old nickname is coming to a close before too long. And here is all this grape and teal merchandise, ready to go, under the umbrella of Bobcat team owner Michael Jordan's far-reaching brand.

Bobcat president Fred Whitfield understands why fans would make the connection but insists there isn't one. "It's a total and complete coincidence," Whitfield said in a phone interview.

Whitfield used to work for Jordan Brand, so he said he knows how it works in the company. "They plan the release or re-release dates of shoes way in advance -- about 12-18 months out," he said. "We weren't even seriously considering this name change 12-18 months ago, because the name at the time wasn't available. These two things are not related."

Whitfield said he did not have a date as to when the team's research will be complete on whether to re-adopt the Hornets' nickname (it became available when New Orleans, which had taken the nickname when the Hornets moved, announced plans to become the "Pelicans.") Although he was once a Hornets' season ticket holder himself, Whitfield said the club was being careful not to make a "knee-jerk" reaction on the issue and noted that some of the team's youngest fans weren't even born when the Hornets existed in Charlotte (they left in 2002).

As I've written before, I'm in favor of the Bobcats changing names and becoming the Hornets once again. But don't confuse this sneaker release with some sort of secret announcement in the way the Panthers' logo tweaks accidentally got leaked online in 2012 on Nike Football's Facebook page (via a pair of gloves) before they had been officially announced. This is not the same thing. The name change issue and the Jordan Brand are running on two parallel tracks. This intersection is interesting -- but it is not the final word.


SUPER HUGO said...

C'mon guys. You have got to see clear as day that changing the name back to the Hornets is the best thing you can possibly do for this franchise!

It is a clear no brainer. Fred Whitfield said that some of the younger fans aren't familiar with the Hornets since they left before they were born.. but the thing is, those kids aren't the ones buying season tickets and spending money..their parents are. And their parents DO remember the Hornets and how incredible the games were and the excitement behind the team. The Bobcats will never come close to that support..even with a winning product on the floor, they would have to first go very deep in the playoffs to gain a huge support base like the Hornets had.

Do the right thing for the community and BRING BACK THE BUZZ!!

Anonymous said...

This is just more BS in my opinion. Who cares if Jordan Brand decided to re-release the Grape V's 12 months ago, how about jumping on the bandwagon and roll with a good marketing opportunity. The fact that the organization is so coy about admitting they have not made a decision really worries me. For Mr. Whitfield to say "some of the team's youngest fans weren't even born when the Hornets existed in Charlotte" is just an absolutely ridiculous statement. They left in 2002 so does that mean your are basing a name change decision on what a 11 year old thinks? GTFOH!

Michael Jordan said...

This is happening. Source = every employee at Time Warner Cable Arena

Bob Johnson said...

Why not change back to the Hornets? At least once upon a time, in a galaxy long ago, the Hornets became winners (before Shinn screwed it all up). And some kids may not have been born when they were in town, but I doubt many of them care too much about the Bobcats's synonymous with losing.