by Sam Perley
Fans making their way to Spectrum Center on Saturday, Nov. 26 to see the Charlotte Hornets take on the New York Knicks are in store for a special giveaway as the organization will be handing out 10,000 shirts displaying the entire team characterized as “Tykes” images. A Charlotte-based graphic design company, Tykes creates cartoon-style depictions of famous athletes and other personalities, providing fans with an alternative visual representation of their favorite teams and players.
Tykes designs are a somewhat modern rendition on the overly-exaggerated caricature style portraits made popular in the 1980’s and 90’s. Most notably, the Chicago Bulls created similar renditions of players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman during this time period as did the Detroit Pistons with Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer, two prominent members of the infamous “Bad Boys” team.
The 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball team, fittingly known as the “Dream Team”, also used similar portrayals during it’s run to the gold medal at the Summer Games in Barcelona. All three of these aforementioned teams are widely regarded as some of the most culturally influential squads in the history of the sport.
For this particular shirt, all 15 players plus Hugo the Hornet are portrayed, some of whom in familiar on-court poses, such as Marvin Williams and his “three-point goggles” or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s chest pounding. One of the more fashion-conscious players on the team’s roster, Marco Belinelli, weighed in on the design earlier in the week.
“I think it’s incredible. Once I saw it on Instagram at first, I said ‘I got to have that’. It’s cool. I think everybody looks like [they do] in real life. So that’s really cool. It represents the team and city. It’s just an incredible T-shirt I think,” said Belinelli. “Everybody looks good, I have to be honest.” Many of the other Hornets players hold similar sentiments, with some like Cody Zeller and Spencer Hawes even using their own depictions on personal social media accounts.
Few NBA teams have as wide a variety of different merchandise than the Hornets. Shirts, jerseys, hats, jackets and Jordan Brand products are just a few of the many popular items for sale in the team store. While all this great aforementioned merchandise will always be on the shelves in some regard, this commemorative Tykes shirt might only be available for this particular promotion.
Although there is the possibility of a continued partnership between the organization and Tykes, fans should still do their best to get to Spectrum Center this weekend, grab a special Charlotte Hornets free giveaway item and cheer the team on to victory against the visiting New York Knicks.