June 22, 2012
(Editor's Note: Philadelphia area sports writer Ben Horrow contributes weekly to Authentically Speaking.)
By Ben Horrow
Major sports teams often tweak and manipulate their uniforms to reflect the times, revert to a retro look, or even to change their image completely. The Charlotte Bobcats constitute the most recent franchise to alter their garb.
After a all-time worst 7-59 record this season, that included a record setting 23-game losing streak to end the year, Charlotte needed to retool it’s image. They did so by hiring a new young coach in Mike Dunlap and secondly, changing the actual look of the uniform they wear.
The Bobcats were founded in 2004 after the departure of the Charlotte Hornets for the more southern pastures of New Orleans. Since then the team has compiled a record of 229-415 (one playoff series included), which is good for approximately a 36% winning percentage.
In 2010 NBA legend and former North Carolina Tar Heel Michael Jordan bought the team, thus becoming the majority owner.
Now that the Bobcats have hit rock bottom, they, like the 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays, have decided to change their entire image. First a new head coach, now a new uniform, and next the 2nd overall pick in the NBA Draft.
The new jerseys feature navy as the primary color for away games, which is meant to make it easier for team apparel outlets to match the color with other types of apparel, rather than the old shade of blue they used.
In addition, the name of the team will now read “Cats” on the front of their jerseys instead of the original “Bobcats”. According to team officials, this change better reflects the actual name used by fans in referring to the team.
Finally, the jerseys will use Carolina blue as an accent, a likely ode to the team’s owner Michael Jordan. The Dallas Mavericks performed a similar redesign in the early 2000’s, and have since won an NBA championship.
Although this change does not imply Charlotte will become a perennial contender like the Mavericks, it signifies a shift in culture and a desire to leave the past behind.
Authentically Speaking Trivia Time: Before the change to colored jerseys for the home team in the NHL at the start of the 2003-04 season, when was the year that teams wore colored jerseys at home in the NHL? Answer on Monday.
Thursday's answer: Maryland Terrapins 1961
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