The dictionary definition for the word statement is, “a clear expression of something in speech or writing.” That happens to be quite fitting, considering a freshly-dressed Charlotte Hornets squad is looking to make a new kind of statement both on and off the court this season.
Revamped purple Nike Statement uniforms for the Hornets will officially be unveiled at the organization’s external Media Day on Monday, Sept. 30. Coincidently, this year also marks the 25th anniversary of the franchise’s introduction of the original purple classic jerseys, which will be worn on a handful of Retro Remix Nights throughout the season.
The new Statement uniforms feature teal jersey numbers now under the abbreviation, “CHA,” which runs across the upper front in white. This three-letter acronym is the league’s official designation for Charlotte and is accompanied by two pairs of teal triangular-shaped “stingers” running down the sides on the front and back of the uniform top.
The team’s partial primary logo is now stitched on the front of the waistband for the first time.
There is a large silhouette logo broadly positioned on both sides of the shorts in between two upward-pointing sets of stingers, which are replacing the stripes from the previous Statement uniforms. The Jordan Brand logo and LendingTree patch remain on the right and left sides of the chest, respectively.
“These Statement uniforms represent a design change to the main holding area of the jersey,” said Josh Kramer, the Senior VP of Brand Management at the Hornets. “While there’s certainly details that are overt throughout the bold statement of the three letters, it’s a commitment to our fans saying, ‘This is something you can take pride in. The strength of our city, the strength of our team, the statement we make every night when we take the court.’ We want that to be the headline when you see this uniform come out.”
“We really wanted to give our fans something different without going too far away from some of the strong parts of our brand,” said Seth Bennett, the organization’s Senior VP of Consumer Engagement. “The Statement uniform is intended to be something that speaks on behalf of our players. It sets the tone of being bold, being strong. Purple itself is a color of royalty and honor and we definitely see this speaking to the basketball royalty across the state. I definitely think fans will enjoy the new design.”
Now more than ever before, on-court (and off-court for that matter) apparel has become a huge part of NBA pop culture and how the league is digested by its fan. Introducing innovative designs and concepts on a regular basis, which take years to plan and design, is the going trend and there’s no sign of slowing down.
“Nike’s doing a great job coming out with so many different uniforms,” said Hornets forward and Nike-sponsored athlete Miles Bridges. “They’re very creative. Last year, I didn’t wear that many shoes. I strictly stuck to LeBrons and one color of them. This year, I’m going to try and branch out and try and match our jerseys. I’m going to try and get some purple shoes and switch it up this year.”
The NBA and Nike are currently in the midst of an eight-year partnership which began running at the start of the 2017-18 season. The exclusive on-court apparel provider has collaborated with each of the league’s 30 organizations to create a variety of different uniforms that best align with the respective brands and histories that exist within in the NBA.
“There’s a degree of trust that I have because of Nike’s track record of success,” stated the Hornets’ Director of Creative Services, Kris Bazen. “They’re going to be a little explorational in ways that can sometimes shock people, but based on my interactions, they’ve been very receptive to any sort of feedback that we’ve had. You’re seeing things from different vantage points, which is helpful.”
“When you look at this season as a whole, it’s been unique to see more of the embracing of purple as what we’re going to be wearing on the court, specifically. We’re looked at as more of a predominantly teal team, so to have that as just one of our prominent uniforms this season is unique. As far as reception, the players have seen it during internal Media Day and they’re very pleasantly surprised by it.”
Kramer added, “Nike’s been phenomenal. They are one of the apex brand-building companies in the world. For us to have access to work with those experts as partners has been a tremendous opportunity and you see it as we continue to evolve our uniforms.”
This is the fourth of five different uniforms the Hornets will wear this season. The new “City” editions are expected to be unveiled and debuted later on this fall. For now, the Hornets will don their overhauled purple attire and look to usher in a new era of Charlotte basketball.