Can the Charlotte Hornets make their alternate uniforms their primary home uniforms?
Unfortunately, they cannot, because those alternate uniforms -- primarily teal in color and on the far right in the picture above -- are the ones that I like the best of the new trio of uniforms the Hornets unveiled Thursday.
The Hornets will wear those teal uniforms 16-20 times a year, they say -- about half of those at home games and half at away games. Of the three, the teal uniforms are the only ones that say "Charlotte" on the chest plate -- the other two both say "Hornets."
None of the three uniforms have the characteristic pinstripes coming down the front of the jersey that the originals had. That is a lost opportunity in my book. I wish the pinstripes had been inserted into at least the alternate uniforms.
On the other hand, I think the lettering is good and the overall look is crisp and uncluttered on all three uniforms.
The Hornets will have three uniforms for 2014-15. Here is a quick look at each and my reaction to each:
1) White home uniforms. The NBA mandates that a light-colored uniform must be an NBA team's home uniform. None of the Hornets' new uniforms are bad by any means, but these to me are the weakest of the three. I just like purple and teal to be the primary color -- that's what says "Hornets" to me.
Also, while the word "Charlotte" is actually on this uniform, it is in very small print and extremely hard to read on the bottom right leg of the shorts. The Hornets' brass say this is a "discoverable" element -- to me, it should have been easier to discover. The purple numbers are cool, though. (Here's another take from the influential "Uni Watch" blog, which believes the home whites are actually the best).
There is colorful striping on the left side of the uniform, which the Hornets are insisting are "pinstripes" in homage to the original design. To me, a pinstripe is thin. These are very thick. These "pinstripes" use purple, teal and light blue like the original Hornets, but they also add a new color in gray.
2) Purple road uniforms. These are the second-best of the new uniforms. The purple is vibrant. This is basically like the home uniform but with a lot more color to it. Like the home uniform, the chest plate says "Hornets" and not "Charlotte" -- Hornets officials said this was in large part due to their research, which said fans wanted the word "Hornets" very prominently displayed since it was so hard to get the old nickname back. Again, the word "Charlotte" is on the bottom right leg of the shorts and you won't ever see it unless you are really, really looking for it.
3) Teal alternate uniforms. These will be worn in about a quarter of the Hornets' games. I wish it was more like 90 percent of them. Talk about a pop -- these uniforms are the ones I predict will sell the most (fans can pre-order all of the new unis, but not until August).
These also have "Charlotte" on the chest plate, and I like that too. The purple numbers on the teal looks a lot like the iconic Alexander Julian design that originally made so many millions for the Hornets (Julian wanted to design these new uniforms for free, but the Hornets instead had a team of designers from Nike do it).
This shade of teal is a bit darker than the original teal, by the way. It looks fantastic.
All in all, it's wonderful to see actual Hornets' uniforms again -- ones that will be worn, not just old uniforms that will only be nostalgically remembered. And while I am nitpicking some here, what will be the most important ultimately is how well the Hornets play in these uniforms.