The Charlotte Hornets are going the bobblehead route to celebrate some of the most historic figures in the 30-year history of the NBA in Charlotte.
Among a series of “Classic Night” promotions at home games next season, the Hornets will give away bobbleheads depicting original Hornet Muggsy Bogues, former All-Stars Larry Johnson and Glen Rice and longtime play-by-play voice Steve Martin.
Martin retired last April, after calling every season of the NBA in Charlotte, either on television or radio, since the Hornets’ debut in 1988. Martin’s bobblehead will come with a recording of his call of the Alonzo Mourning jump shot that was the winning basket against the Boston Celtics in the Hornets’ first playoff appearance in 1993.
The Hornets will wear white versions of the classic pinstripes-and-pleats uniforms from the NBA’s first decade in Charlotte. Also, the Hornets have a court painted similarly to the design from the mid-1990s at the old Charlotte Coliseum on Tyvola Road.
“The court, the uniforms, the players all coming together,” Hornets chief marketing office Pete Guelli said of the concept of the eight games. “If we’re going to have classic nights, it really needs to symbolize the history of this team.
“We’ve got this unbelievably passionate group of Hornets fans. We would never be able to this 30th anniversary this well without bringing the brand back.”
The then-Bobcats, who started as an expansion franchise in 2004, re-branded to the Hornets in 2014 after the New Orleans franchise changed their nickname to the Pelicans. Starting last season, the Hornets began wearing a version of the classic uniforms Alexander Julian designed in the 1980s for a handful of home games.
The four “Classic Night” games that do not involve bobbleheads will have T-shirt or fanny pack giveaways, including the season opener Oct. 17 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Guelli said the Hornets have begun selling a package of lower-level tickets for the eight “Classic Night” games.
Hornets individual-game tickets for the 41 home games will go on sale Sept. 4, Guelli said.
Guelli said the Hornets’ Sept. 28 preseason exhibition against the Boston Celtics in Chapel Hill has already sold out lower level seats at the Smith Center. That game will conclude a three-day training camp the Hornets are holding at the Smith Center.