It’s official: the Charlotte Hornets are back in the NBA.
The good news, though, doesn’t end with the return of the purple and teal. For starters, Hugo’s back! Well, he will be on June 5th, anyway, making his long-awaited, triumphant return to the Queen City Hive.*
*Curious where Hugo’s been? Well, between you and me, fellow traveler, there are whispers that he’s been…away, fighting a true evil.
From the rim of a volcano came the gular shrieks of an oversized bird, a pretender to the true throne of the Land of Mascots. Those who witnessed the battle on that day can barely bring themselves to lift their voices beyond the quivering veil of fear that drowns out their verbiage, yet they all tell the same tale. Shadows danced among the embers and sulfur, blow struck after vicious blow. A violent eruption. And when the plume of ash cleared, a lone Apoidean figure took flight, victorious.
And the Hornets get all of their history, too! Well, the Charlotte version of their history, anyway. Courtesy of DeAntae Prince:
If you can’t quite make out that bottom paragraph, it reads:
In addition, the team announced that after collaborating with the NBA and the New Orleans Pelicans, all of the statistical information, records and history of Charlotte NBA basketball will also be returning to the franchise. The Hornets will now own and have access to all of the historical elements from not only the Bobcats era (2004-2014) but also the original Hornets era in Charlotte (1988-2002). The Pelicans will maintain the history and statistics beginning with the team’s first season in New Orleans.
It’s a bit convoluted, I suppose, but it’s also organic and, in the end, quite logical. NBA teams that have played in Charlotte fit under that franchise history umbrella. NBA teams that were based in New Orleans have their own franchise history. Fin.
Additionally, of course, next month will see the unveiling of the new Charlotte Hornets jerseys and new (hopefully retro-, honey-combed) floor design. And in July, the Hornets make their on-the-court debut at the annual Las Vegas Summer League.
Last but certainly not least, the Hornets plan to continue to honor the late Bobby Phills:
"We have every intention of returning Bobby Phills' jersey to its rightful home here in Charlotte." -EVP Pete Guelli
— Charlotte Hornets (@Hornets) May 20, 2014
Phills, for the unfamiliar, was a nine-year veteran of the NBA who played for the Hornets from 1997-2000. On January 12, 2000, Phills was killed in an automobile accident in Charlotte. He and teammate David Wesley were reportedly driving “in an erratic, reckless, careless, in a negligent or aggressive manner” and “involved in a speed competition before the collision,” according to police. Phills lost control of his vehicle, which spun and crossed into oncoming traffic. Phills was pronounced dead on the scene; the occupants of the other two vehicles, with which Phills’ Porsche collided, recovered.
The Hornets retired Phills’ jersey less than a month later, on February 9th. When the team relocated to New Orleans, the only thing that was left in the arena in Charlotte was Phills’ #13, hanging from the rafters.
For three months, the retired jersey of Bobby Phills hung alone in the rafters of the Charlotte Coliseum, the only remaining sign that the NBA ever existed in this city.
After those three months, the jersey was given to Phills’ widow. If she’s willing to share his memory, it’ll be a nice touch for Charlotte to once again hang his jersey in remembrance.