Fair warning, this is gonna read like you opened a recipe for a dish and the author spends the first 8 pages talking about how she loves casseroles because her grandmother used to make it when she was a kid and then she proceeds to tell you her life’s story while you turn to skin and bones furiously scrolling and waiting for the sweet embrace of the ingredients and directions.
We received a couple messages a month or two ago with renderings of the jersey of the new city edition uniforms. We didn’t share because we couldn’t verify the sources or the authenticity. So we sat on them to be sure.
During that time I went through a range of emotions about the jersey. Admittedly, my initial reaction was confusion. We talked about how the mint was too close to teal and how the contrast was just too confusing especially for a fanbase that already felt like the modern franchise had doctored the teal color from the old Hornets franchise (which just isn’t true, it’s just different material and ratio of colors that is playing a trick on your eyes). This is a fanbase that holds very dear it’s teal and purple and holds it’s branding in higher regards and priority than probably any other fanbase in the NBA and probably all of sports. We haven’t had much else.
Then, without reading any description aids from the Hornets I began to think about the colors, the potential meaning, the fact this was our hypothetical “City Edition” jerseys and like the Grinch’s heart my fondness for the jerseys began to grow.
We are often pegged as a place without culture, identity and history because of the rate of which this city has grown. Our history isn’t shared or taught and much of the physical evidence of it has been destroyed or lost somewhere along the journey. We often talk on our podcast about growing up in Charlotte and how we wished the city would be big and get the recognition and respect we thought it deserved. We talked about how that growth was a double edged sword. We got the nice, shiny and entertaining things but we also lost our identity and some of the institutions that made this place Charlotte.
History, those who move here very rarely seek it out and so most believe it simply doesn’t exist. It’s not entirely their fault as we have also done a poor job of maintaining it and holding it to any level of importance.
Partially, that realization was the origin of Bring Back The Buzz. it wasn’t just an NBA team from the 80’s/90’s. It was a moniker given to us in the Revolutionary War. It was something we as a region took great pride in from naval ships to sports teams to symbols of our local government we branded ourselves a Hornets Nest and took great pride in that. We were fighters.
The two of us were lucky enough to have a mother who is a bit of a historian. She studied anthropology and thus made history a very important part of our childhood. She volunteered at the Charlotte Museum of History and worked in Special Collections at UNC Charlotte. Though she was from Pennsylvania she made sure we knew where we were from and that we knew it’s story. We were privileged that she had access to all the information that the average person in this city does not. Not much of that information is readily available to the public and so it is not celebrated.
This brings me back to the Hornets uniforms. The “City Edition” uniforms. The team that made Charlotte world famous and put the town on the map. It makes me happy to see them celebrate our culture nationally in a way that frankly we haven’t done as a city since we named the team the Hornets in ’88 or brought back in ’14.
This team gave this city’s own citizens a history lesson by simply putting Mint (Charlotte having the first US branch Mint), Gold (The Carolina Gold Rush of the 1800’s) and Granite (The State Rock) on a jersey. Then they put “Trade & Tryon” on the court, the Independence Square that is the foundation of this city and why we are even here. Within hours of the reveal people learned something about the place they call home and if that isn’t a “City Edition” jersey then I don’t know what is.