Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hornets display rebirth; Ju-Ju, Mo Pete act a fool

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 10:28 PM

click to enlarge Julian and Mo

All photos by Eilan Levkowitz

The Hornets held a nice early-afternoon get together to unveil their updated logos and uniforms. There were free food and drinks, live music, and Julian Wright and Morris Peterson decked out in the new unis, and brushing each other off on stage. Needless to say, it was a good time all around. Follow me after the jump for extensive pictures a full report:

Hornets color commentator Gil McGregor kicked off the ceremonies and talked about how the new colors and textures capture the spirit of the city better than before. McGregor described the colors as "a more vibrant blue, a passionate purple, and a Mardis Gras gold." They also presented a video which, conveniantly enough, can be found on the Hornets Web site.

click to enlarge all three logos

Hornets Executive Officer of the Board Chad Chinn unveiled the three new Hornets. Two featured an upgrade on two logos they had last year — primary Hugo logo and the secondary "Fleur de Bee" logo — and one was a brand new logo that features "NOLA" in golden letters and is integrated with a trumpet.

click to enlarge NOLA horn logo

It was the "NOLA" logo that elicited an audible response from the crowd. It's also the team's only completely New Orleans-oriented logo. After unveiling the three logos, Shinn introduced Morris Peterson and Julian Wright who came out on stage and started dusting each other off while Shinn described the unique aspects of the uniforms.

click to enlarge mo and julian foolin

After the presentation, bot Mo and Julian talked to reporters for a bit and discussed their uniforms, socks and Jannero Pargo's decision to sign with the Russian basketball team Dynamo Moscow. Then it was Mo Pete who put on a show and started to ask Julian all sorts of questions about the jerseys and new addition James posey.

"I like them a lot," Wright said about the uniforms. "There's a lot of color and detail, you can tell how they crafted it. It gets a lot of fans looking at the jerseys, even if they're not a fan of ours they'll stop and stare."

click to enlarge Mo interviewing Julian

As you can see, both new uniforms feature the return of pin stripes, with both featuring "New Orleans" written across the chest. Both uniforms also feature the Fleur de Bee on the shoulder, on the side of the shorts and the NOLA Horn on back of the shorts, just below the waistband.

Julian was also rocking black high socks. I asked why he wasn't wearing matching blue socks and he said because he wanted to keep it simple.

"We got a lot of colors up top," he said. "We can't have so much down there. You just want to keep to a minimum."

After Mo and Julian, general Jeff Bower took some time to speak.

"I think all kinds of emotions and all kinds of enthusiasm can be felt by everybody in the organization," Horents general manager Jeff Bower said after the presentation. "We want to accomplish more as an organization and you see how we feel about the branding with out team and how we feel that deep connection to our city."

And then he started getting bombarded with questions about the upcoming season, which is more than two months away.

click to enlarge Terrance Osborne painting
The Hornets also unveiled this painting by local artist Terrance Osborne which feature a three-story, Hornets-themed house and gave out prints to everyone who attended. Osborne also signed copies of the prints afterward.

 "The house represents the new, fresh, vibrant colors of the team," he said. "It's more of a celebration. It's a festive thing that ties New Orleans with the Hornets."

(SIDE NOTE: The best moment of the afternoon, by far, was when an older-looking man with gray stubble and white hair sprouting out of his head came up to Osborne, shook his hand and said, "Congratulations on last year and good luck with this season. This year we're gonna go all the way." Apparently all it takes to pass for an NBA player is to be a black man sitting behind a table and signing autographs.)

click to enlarge Terrance Osborne signing

Overall you have to say the event was a success for the Hornets organization. Sure this city had already embraced the team and changes are purely symbolic. But when you're a professional sports franchise, it never hurts to reaffirm your connection to a city. Especially when that city is New Orleans and there were questions about the franchise's long-term plans. At the very least, it got the team some great publicity. Full video recap, with even more pictures, coming tomorrow.

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