Ah! The Bobcats. What was that all about hey? They came and went in the blink of an eye. Didn’t much inspire anyone outside of Charlotte, who soon re-claimed their Hornets name back from New Orleans. However, like with all temporary things, the further we move away from their existence the more sought after they become! Let’s have a look at the Charlotte Bobcats Jersey and why people are still after it.
The Charlotte Bobcats Jersey colour scheme was primarily orange and white. With the orange providing the bulk of the colour for the alternate jersey. Almost all iterations of the Bobcats jersey kept a fragment of the teal colour that the Hornets who had previously played in Charlotte had made famous. The Charlotte Bobcats featured for 10 seasons in the NBA, between 2004 and 2014, before reverting back to the Charlotte Hornets.
That’s not the whole story though. What NBA greats had the opportunity to wear the Bobcats jersey? Why were they called the Bobcats and what if anything has this got to do with One Tree Hill?
What different Jersey’s did the Bobcats have?
The Bobcats are famous for 3 things (well 4 really, but we’ll get to that later).
- Not being the Charlotte Hornets;
- Never winning a playoff fame (0-8); and
- Frequently changing their logo and kit design.
The initial plan wasn’t for them to be called the Bobcats. Early marketing research produced a clear front runner for the new franchises name.
This paid homage to Charlottes claim to be the place the first ever manned flight took off from. It also has some pretty cool basketball related connotations. The logo ideas above are from a publication produced by Gameplan Creative, who were commissioned to create branding for the new Franchise, called Creating a Brand Identity: How Charlotte Became the Bobcats. As you can probably tell, Charlotte Flight would have been way more successful both on and off the court. However, Owner Bob Johnson, who had paid $300million to the NBA for the expansion rights, wanted the team named after him and so the “Bob”-cats were born (sounds even worse now you know that right?).
The initial reddish orange colour was supposed to lean into the natural colour of the Bobcat and at the same time be distinct from colours other teams in the league were using. The logo was the same concept, a side on profile of the animal, rather than the standard face on that most other teams used was supposed to set the Bobcats apart.
Over time, the colours were altered to try and bring blue to the front. This was aimed at matching local NCAA behemoths Duke and North Carolina to try and draw on their fanbase.
At a time when Jersey design didn’t change much, and a simple home, road and alternate kit selection would do. The Bobcats managed to produce new kit designs at least 4 of the 10 season’s they competed in the NBA. Branding consistency goes a long way. It is widely believed that one of the reasons the Bobcats failed was a failure to recognise this.
Why aren’t the Bobcats a franchise now?
The Charlotte Bobcats played ten seasons’ in the NBA. They won just 293 of 804 regular season games (29%) and zero of 8 playoff games. This failure to achieve success can be attributed as the main reason they rebranded themselves back to the Charlotte Hornets. They had 5 coaches during this time, failed to attract any top end talent and missed on almost all of their draft picks. In the 2011/12 lock out season they set a league record for lowest win percentage, winning just 7 of 66 games (11%). The silver lining to this was that, given their record, they received the 2nd pick in the 2012 Draft. This was an opportunity to draft another future star to go alongside Kemba Walker, who they had taken 9th the previous year. However, they chose to draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. A move that was not only confusing at the time, but has grown more so in the seasons that have unfolded since. Some notable players that were drafted after MKG. Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, Khris Middleton and a certain Draymond Green.
In 2010 local boy made good, Michael Jordan purchased the Franchise. 3 years later, at the start of the 2013/14 season the New Orleans Hornets, changed their name to the Pelicans. This vacated the Franchise moniker, Hornets. The very next year MJ and Charlotte would snap it up, abandoning the Bobcats name and reclaiming Hornets and all the history and branding that came with it. The Charlotte Hornets were back and the decade long Bobcat experiment would be consigned to history. Jersey’s and all.
Who were the best players to wear a Bobcats Jersey?
Let’s get into the crux of the matter. NBA Jersey’s aren’t cool simply because of how they look, it’s about who wore them and what they did in them. This iconic moments from the NBA that are burned into every true fans memory bank. You don’t even have to Google the image, just close your eyes and remember. That made shot, that missed shot… that block.
In order for the Bobcats jersey to hold some status it needs to have some iconic moments attached. Or at least some iconic players!
Who were the best to ever wear the Bobcats jersey in the NBA?
With zero playoff wins, let alone a series win, we know iconic moments aren’t really going to be the thing the Bobcats can rely on. Let’s look at who their best players are by Win Share.
Trawling through the Bobcats roster season by season doesn’t yield many better results. We are left with Gerald Wallace or Kemba Walker as their most iconic players. Now having a large part of your franchises time in the NBA defined as “The Gerald Wallace era” isn’t ideal. He was a player who never fulfilled his potential at best, a journeyman at worst.
Kemba Walker has become a true star. Playing 8 season’s in Charlotte, 3 as a Bobcat, before signing with the Celtics ahead of the 2019/20 season. As an undersized (for the NBA) point guard, Walker has an exciting style of play that makes him a fan favourite. A 3 time Allstar, Team USA star and always in with a chance of making the all-NBA Teams he is by far the most iconic player ever to wear a Bobcats Jersey in a competitive NBA game. At the age of 28 he is sure to go on to eclipse anything he achieved in Charlotte under the coaching of Brad Stevens and alongside talent like Brown, Tatum and Hayward. The more success he achieves as a player the more sought after his Bobcats Jersey will be. It’s how it works; people want to make a statement saying they were their from the start. “He might have been a star in Boston, but I’ve been with him since the Bobcats days…”
All that said. In my opinion he isn’t the best player to wear a Bobcats Jersey and run out in front of a packed arena…
Is Nathan Scott really the most iconic player to wear a Bobcats Jersey?
Disclaimer: The below picture is of my wife, wearing replica Nathan Scott Jersey. Not only is she an awesome basketball player herself, but she is a MASSIVE One Tree Hill fan.
That said let me explain why Nathan Scott is the most iconic player to ever pull on a Charlotte Bobcats Jersey.
After a successful college career, winning the NCAA title in his first season (but staying for 3 more years). He signed a shoe deal BEFORE being drafted into the NBA. His signature shoe, The NS23’s, were set to launch after he was projected to be drafted 10th by the Seattle Supersonics (only 1 place behind Kemba). Sadly, while defending the honour of his Rockstar wife (already a power couple) he was paralysed. It would take him a few years to work his way back. Ultimately signing with the Charlotte Bobcats and pulling on that jersey as a starter in his first game. Let’s check the list off.
- High School Star
- NCAA Title in freshman year
- Signature Shoe deal before signing to the NBA
- Projected top 10 draft
- Celebrity wife
- Epic injury comeback story
Maybe if he’d been able to team up with Kemba they would have managed to get the Bobcats that first series win!