Charlotte Hornets to welcome back some big names for 30th anniversary

The Charlotte Hornets' 30th anniversary logo as seen from Trade Street
The Charlotte Hornets' 30th anniversary logo as seen from Trade Street

The Charlotte Hornets are getting ready to party like it's 1988.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the NBA in Charlotte. On Tuesday, the team will announce a handful of fan-focused, nostalgic ways to commemorate the anniversary. One major element will be the debut of Muggsy Bogues, one of the most popular players in Hornets history who was also the shortest player in NBA history, as a Hornets ambassador for the season.

"We wanted to embrace (Bogues) and have him be part of the Hornets family again. He’s extremely excited to be part of the celebration," Hornets President Fred Whitfield told the Observer.

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Bogues joins former Hornet and current FOX Sports Southeast analyst Dell Curry as a team ambassador. This means Bogues and Curry will be integrated into virtually every 30th anniversary activity the Hornets have planned, including appearing at "classic nights," when Hornets players will wear their popular throwback pinstriped jerseys.

The team brought back the teal classic uniforms last year, and it will be unveiling more colors this year, Hornets' Chief Operating Officer Pete Guelli said. The team will host six to eight classic nights honoring popular Hornets stars from the team's early years, including Alonzo Mourning, Glenn Rice, Larry Johnson, Bogues and Curry.

"It’s exciting to go back and have those players and their legacies be attached to our history. It’s about being able to celebrate NBA in Charlotte from 1988 to 2018," Whitfield said.

On Feb. 25, 1993, Muggsy Bogues, left, and Larry Johnson embrace during a Charlotte Hornets win over San Antonio. Bogues will join the team this year as a Hornets ambassador for the team's 30th anniversary. BOB LEVERONE

The classic nights will be an ode to the team's early years in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and the music and game presentation will reflect the theme. Giveaways on those designated nights will include bobbleheads and T-shirts that highlight popular players and moments in Hornets history.

"We’ll do our best to transport people back to 1988, when the team started in Charlotte," Guelli said. The dates of the classic nights will be determined once the team schedule comes out in August, he added.

Also on Tuesday, the team will announce that Spectrum will serve as a presenting partner of the season-long commemoration. The Spectrum logo will appear on everything from TV spots on Spectrum News to a 25-by-25-foot 30th anniversary logo above the Trade Street entrance of the Spectrum Center.

The team will also launch a microsite in late July that lets fans vote for their selection for the 30th anniversary team. Fans will be able to pick up to 10 players from the history of Charlotte’s time in the NBA, with the top 10 overall vote-getters being named as the 30th Anniversary Team.

Since the beginning of Hornets history, fans have had an affinity for the classic Hornets look made popular in the 1980s, as well as the Hornets name, which they welcomed back in 2014 following the team’s move to New Orleans in 2002.

Capping off the season-long anniversary will be the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, which will be held at the Spectrum Center uptown on the 56th birthday of owner Michael Jordan, who was, incidentally, the leading scorer of the All-Star Game in 1991 in Charlotte.

The combination of (from right) Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues was once so popular in Charlotte they were pictured together on an uptown mural. Charlotte Observer File Photo

Steph Curry gets a shooting lesson from his father Dell before a Golden State Warriors game.