My 10-point plan as to what the Charlotte Bobcats should do next now that they have really decided to change their name to the Charlotte Hornets:
This is absolutely the right thing to do, but it’s like jumping into a swimming pool. There is no way to halfway do it. So if you’re the Bobcats-soon-to-be-Hornets, you go all in.
1. You get Michael Jordan and Kemba Walker on billboards and on ESPN and some of the national playoff TV coverage to talk about it. You spend a lot on advertising. You make sure people cannot miss the fact that this is happening.
2. You bring back the teal-and-purple color scheme.
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3. You bring back Hugo the mascot, the old logo and the pinstriped uniforms (although it’s OK if you tweak all of those just a tad as long as the colors remain true to the original). Again, this falls under the swimming-pool theory. What’s the point of doing it if you don’t go all the way?
4. You treat your current Bobcat season ticket-holders with kid gloves. You give them some free Hornets merchandise before anyone else to replace that closetful of outdated Bobcat T-shirts. You offer them a few other perks. You make sure you don’t alienate your core – it’s a relatively small core, yes, but a surprisingly loyal one.
5. You play the nostalgia card for all it is worth. You get Muggsy Bogues involved. Dell Curry is already involved as the team’s TV analyst – he will be essential. You place calls to LJ and Zo and see if they will do something for you. You have a former Hornets’ reunion on the first day the team wears the new uniforms and give the former players front-row seats a few times for maximum TV exposure.
6. You speed up the timetable for the name switch. So this supposedly can’t happen before the 2014-15 season? Really?! In today’s world, I just don’t buy it. So what if some store in Topeka doesn’t have the rebranded Hornet uniforms in time? Put the new stuff online and watch it sell.
7. You publicly recognize the leaders of the grassroots movement to bring back the Hornets name. Not to say it wouldn’t have happened without those guys, but they were an undeniable help to the cause.
8. You get the signage replaced outside the arena as soon as possible.
9. You hire the right coach, and you make sure he understands the symbolism inherent in this name change and doesn’t dismiss it as something that doesn’t matter. It does matter to a lot of people.
10. You get better on the court. Obvious but true – the most effective marketing for the Charlotte NBA team, whatever it’s called, is to stop going an NBA-worst 28-120 over two seasons like it just did.
There will be no more standing ovations after 40-point losses. No parades. That happened for the old Hornets once, but that time is long gone. But at least the Charlotte Hornets are going to exist again, and that’s beautiful.