The Charlotte Hornets unveiled their new court design Thursday morning, featuring a pattern of honeycomb-shaped cells, a teal border, purple lanes and a large Hornets logo at mid-court.
The most distinctive aspect of the design was the honeycomb-like cells that fit together in a parquet style.
“We thought that would give us our identity and be recognizable all over the country,” said Hornets president Fred Whitfield.
The Bobcats received the NBA’s permission 11 months ago to re-brand as the new/old Hornets after the New Orleans franchise changed its name to the Pelicans. The team has already issued new logos and uniforms. The new court was the last piece in a design process done in partnership with Jordan Brand.
Owner Michael Jordan has said frequently he aspires for this team to create the same sort of home-court excitement the original Hornets had at the Charlotte Coliseum in the late 1980s.
“We want to do everything we can to make sure this arena has the same sort of feel, the same sort of energy, the old ‘Hive’ had,” Whitfield said. “I think our players will be energized when they see this court every night.”
Whitfield said the challenge was coming up with a look that was distinctive without looking gimmicky.
“We wanted a classic design. As we did our research, we felt the cell system was a big part of the Hornets identity,” Whitfield said. “We thought this was a unique way to still keep our court clean (-looking), but show what the hornet is all about. We felt it would be easily recognizable on television and relate back to our mascot.”
The Hornets were poised Thursday to make over their roster, as well. They have the ninth, 24th and 45th picks in the NBA draft, starting at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a huge day,” Whitfield said. “To know we’ll have two (first-round) picks, to know for the first time the (draft) lottery has been kind to us.
“It’s really about flexibility: To know we have multiple draft picks and could make trades, and on July 1 we’ll have $13 million-plus in cap space to possibly add another free agent. For us it’s the perfect storm coming together.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell