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The Charlotte Hornets of the NBA — formerly known as the Charlotte Bobcats — recently were graced with a new identity, courtesy of Rodney Richardson and his staff at RARE Design in downtown Hattiesburg.
The new brand of the Hornets — which officially will be incorporated for the 2014-15 season — has been unveiled slowly to the public during the last few months and incorporates a new logo, uniforms and home court at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Richardson, founder and principal of RARE Design, said the job came his way partly because of his brand work with professional sports teams including the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Texans.
“Through work with them, we’ve started to build acknowledgment that we build those brands with teams,” he said. “As they were taking on this project, they reached out and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a lot going on, and can you come in and work with us on this?’
“So we were able to work with the (majority owner and NBA legend Michael) Jordan brand, and we did the re-branding of the Charlotte Hornets.”
The new logo uses the familiar Charlotte purple and teal color pattern, featuring a menacing-looking hornet with a basketball that doubles as its body. “Charlotte Hornets” is emblazoned across the center of the hornet.
“When we talk about branding, I use that word synonymously with story — we want to know their story, and that’s what we’re bringing to life,” Richardson said. “We’re putting the face on that story, and through that story you connect with your audience in meaningful ways.
“We wanted to reclaim the heritage and the passion of the team with the city, but this is a new team, and a new organization with a new vision. So it takes on some of the color scheme, some of the characteristics of the original identity, but it’s also built in a way to tell the story of this club.”
The team unveiled three new uniforms last week — a white home jersey with purple numbers and teal letters, a purple away jersey with teal numbers and white lettering, and a teal alternate jersey with white lettering and purple numbers.
On Thursday, the team revealed its new home court, which features the hornet logo at mid-court and a beehive cell pattern stained into the wood. Buzz City logos are featured near the three-point line at each end of the court.
“What was great about this one is they did an amazing job rolling out everything,” said Ken Cavanaugh, senior designer at RARE Design. “They’ve really built up some anticipation — there’s a buzz going on. The team captains are on board, and it’s been very well received.”
According to a news release sent out by RARE Design, ESPN recently ran a Sports Nation poll of 15,000 people and found a 90 percent approval rating for the new uniforms.
“We’re thrilled to bring back the Hornets to Charlotte and the Carolinas,” Jordan said in the news release. “The passion and enthusiasm around this name change by fans in this market has been unmatched.”
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