HATTIESBURG/CHARLOTTE — It’s an exciting time to be an NBA basketball fan in Charlotte, NC. The Charlotte Bobcats, with the help of Hattiesburg, Mississippi based branding agency RARE Design, officially adopted the “Hornets” moniker at a Tuesday press conference, formally ushering in the new era of the Charlotte Hornets.
“Today we complete a task that has never been accomplished before, bringing a name back to its original market,” Hornets COO Fred Whitfield. “It’s a name that provokes a tremendous amount of pride. The Hornets name has been a part of our community for over 200 years.”
Back in December, the team unveiled a new logo and identity system.
“Tonight is a special night for all the fans in the Carolinas,” Bobcats owner Michael Jordan told the home crowd. “You guys asked and we delivered.”
For RARE, the project also marked a homecoming of sorts. Rodney Richardson, RARE’s Founder and Principal, cut his teeth in the design world with Nike; so naturally, when Nike’s Jordan Brand asked RARE to steer Charlotte’s identity in this history-making change, it was a no brainer.
The design and branding team, consisting of RARE, Nike, the Jordan Brand, and representatives from the team and NBA’s Global Merchandising Group, set out to reinvigorate the city and the fan base by balancing a sense of heritage with the the vitality and energy of this change. While Bobcats are indigenous to the Carolinas, the “Charlotte Hornets” moniker drew its inspiration from the 1700s. The Hornets nickname in Charlotte dates back to the Revolutionary War, when British General Charles Cornwallis compared the resistance in Charlotte to a hornet’s nest.
Endeavoring together with Nike’s Jordan Brand, RARE sought, according to Richardson, “to develop a brand positioning and an identity package that rightly depicted the characteristics and DNA of the City of Charlotte and this franchise. This meant that it had to be about more than just connecting with the team’s heritage, the identity had to represent the passion of the team today and the vision for its future. Our mantra for this brand was that, ‘With relentless intensity we will protect, and we will attack. We will be Tougher, Faster, Stronger. We will SWARM. This is the rejuvenation of the Charlotte Hornets!’ “