The Ultimate Guide to Charlotte Hornets Jersey History

by | Feb 27, 2024 | NBA Jerseys

The Charlotte Hornets are one unique NBA team. They first showed up in 1988 with their funky teal and purple uniforms that totally captured the vibe of the city.

As we look back on the Charlotte Hornets jersey history over the decades, we’re really exploring the franchise’s cultural identity and its deep roots in the community.

The Hornets built a tight connection to Charlotte right from the start when original owner George Shinn brought them to town. But things got messy in 2002 when they moved to New Orleans.

Even with the team bouncing, Charlotte just wasn’t ready to give up on their Hornets. Two years later the NBA hooked them up with an expansion franchise called the Bobcats. But in 2014, Charlotte got their Hornets name and identity back for good.

It’s been a wild trip for the squad, with plenty of relocations and rename games over the years. Through all the twists and turns, the tie between the Hornets and the city has stayed strong.

From their origins from 1988 to now, the Hornets weave a rich history into the tapestry of the NBA.

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1988-97 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

1994-97 Alternate Jerse

1994-97 Charlotte Hornets Alternate Jersey

The Charlotte Hornets had some really cool jerseys back in the late 80s and early 90s. They first showed off the new design in 1988. The colors and patterns were totally unique for an NBA team at the time.

The jerseys used a mix of teal, purple, and white colors. The home uniforms were mostly white, while the away ones were mostly teal. They also had narrow purple and teal stripes all over them, kind of like pinstripes on a suit. This became a signature look for the team.

The Hornets jerseys definitely stood out from other teams’ boring old uniforms. They helped set the trend for more funky and creative designs that other franchises later copied.

Several famous players wore these iconic jerseys too, like Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson, and Muggsy Bogues. So the cool jerseys and popular players combined to make the Hornets super popular in the early 90s, both for basketball fans and people just looking to rock the latest fashions.

The company Champion made the jerseys with high quality fabrics. So they not only looked slick, but were comfy to wear during intense games.

Even though it was only for less than 10 years, the original Hornets uniforms had a big impact. They showed teams you can take risks with color schemes, stripes, and not just stick with traditional looks. The teal and purple design remains legendary for any true Hornets fans.

1997-02 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

1997-02 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

The Charlotte Hornets got some fresh new jersey designs when the 1997 season rolled around. The biggest switch was the pinstriping pattern. Instead of the busy stripes from before, they now had a cleaner double pinstripe look.

The colors stayed the same though, keeping the classic teal, purple and white scheme the Hornets were known for. The company Starter started making the jerseys with lightweight, breathable fabrics, helping meet the needs of pro ballers.

Some big name players rocked those jerseys over the next several years, like Anthony Mason, Brad Miller and Vlade Divac. They remained super popular with fans, influencing 90s sports fashion trends with the iconic design.

During that 1997-2002 stretch, the Hornets put together a solid run of playoff teams. They had some hard fought postseason battles featuring clutch plays and great performances. One highlight was 1997-98, when All-Star Glen Rice and scrappy dudes like Mason carried them to one of their best regular season finishes.

Some key things stayed the same – the Hornets still repped North Carolina hard, getting crowd hype during home games. But they began establishing a reputation league-wide as an up and coming franchise that could compete with the top Eastern Conference squads.

2004-06 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey

2004-06 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey

In 2004, the NBA added a new expansion franchise called the Charlotte Bobcats, bringing pro hoops back to the city after the original Hornets left. The Bobcats had some brand new jersey designs made by Reebok to kick things off.

The colors were pretty different from the teal and purple Hornets unis. The Bobcats went with orange, silver, blue and white. They featured an aggressive looking bobcat logo, trying to get fans pumped up for a fierce new squad.

The reception to the new jerseys and logos was a mixed bag at first. Some appreciated the fresh start, others wished they stuck with the classic Hornets themes that repped the city in the 90s.

That 2004-2006 period was all about laying the foundation and struggling through typical expansion team growing pains. Building a roster from scratch was challenging, and they went 18-64 their first season under coach Bernie Bickerstaff.

But important players emerged who would define the early Bobcats, like high flying Gerald Wallace, defensive beast Emeka Okafor who won Rookie of the Year, and other cornerstones.

The Bobcats expansion years were about finding an identity and nurturing a young core. It set the stage for better times ahead, like their first playoff run in 2010.

2006-09 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey

1981-83 New Jersey Nets Jersey
2006-09 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey Alternate

The Charlotte Bobcats went through a lot of changes with their jerseys between 2006 and 2009. This was when they were still a new team trying to figure out who they were.

Adidas made the jerseys back then. The home jerseys were mostly white with some orange and blue.

They tried some different logo and jersey designs each season, looking for something unique compared to other teams. Some fans liked seeing new jersey ideas, but others thought changing so much made it hard for the Bobcats to build their brand.

The Charlotte Bobcats went through some growing pains from 2006-2009 as a new NBA team finding their footing.

They had some good players like Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor who helped them make their first playoff appearances in 2007 and 2010. That was big progress! But they struggled to really make an impact in the playoffs or get consistent wins.

2009-12 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey

2009-12 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey Home
2009-12 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey away

The Bobcats’ jerseys from 2009 to 2012 were made from moisture-wicking fabrics to help the players stay cool and comfortable. They used the team’s colors of blue, orange and white and had the Bobcats logo and player names on them.

Like all NBA teams back then, the Bobcats sometimes had special patch designs on their jerseys to celebrate certain events or anniversaries. The jersey styles tried to keep up with what was popular.

The 2009-2010 season was huge for the Bobcats. Led by guys like Gerald Wallace, they made the playoffs for the first time ever under coach Larry Brown. They went 44-38 but got swept in the first round.

After that, the team tried making trades to build around their top players like Wallace. In 2010, Michael Jordan became the owner, which created a lot of excitement, but the team still struggled.

Even though they made the playoffs in 2010, the next couple years were rebuilding years for the Bobcats with lots of roster and coaching changes as they tried to figure things out.

2012-14 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey

2012-14 Charlotte Bobcats Jersey
The Bobcats’ jerseys from 2012-2014 were made by Adidas and worn for NBA games during those seasons. The away jerseys from then also show the Bobcats’ style for road games. Fans generally liked the look and design of these jerseys a lot.In 2012, they introduced a new cat logo that faced forward. Fans enjoyed it, and it gave their branding more flexibility.They also drafted Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 2nd overall in 2012, trying to build a better team with young talent.But even with the logo change and draft picks, the Bobcats still struggled on the court those seasons. The rebrand didn’t immediately lead to wins.
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2014-17 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

2014-17 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

The Hornets’ jerseys from 2014-2017 were made by Adidas and marked the team’s return to that classic name after being the Bobcats for a while.

They had some cool designs, like the Pride jersey introduced in 2015. Each jersey represented different parts of the team’s identity during those seasons.

Going back to the Hornets name in 2014 reconnected the team to great basketball history and loyal fans in Charlotte.

The backstory is that the Hornets have had ups and downs over the years. They had some good teams in the 90s but struggled for consistent success.

The Bobcats years were tough, so becoming the Hornets again in 2014 aimed to recapture the spirit of those early teams.

Kemba Walker was a star player then who embodied the Hornets’ fighting spirit. But even with Kemba Walker, they still found it hard to make the playoffs most seasons.

2017-18 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

2017-18 Charlotte Hornets Jersey
2017-18 Charlotte Hornets Jersey city and classic

The Hornets had some really cool jerseys in the 2017-2018 season made by Air Jordan. The Classic jersey had an old-school look that celebrated the team’s history but with a modern twist. Players like Dwight Howard wore that one, so it was an important design that year.

They also had a City edition jersey that mixed in local Charlotte flavor.

Both jerseys showed the Hornets working with Jordan Brand to blend tradition and new designs. It reflected their commitment to quality gear and basketball culture.

That season also had changes in the front office and coaching staff. It was the last year for GM Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford. The Hornets, led by Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard, had some veterans and young guys. But they finished 10th in the East and missed the playoffs that year.

2018-19 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

2018-19 Charlotte Hornets Jersey
2018-19 Charlotte Hornets Jersey city and classic

The Hornets had more cool jerseys in 2018-2019 from their partnership with Air Jordan. The Statement jersey got good reviews from fans for its unique design. The City edition jersey was also popular that year. It used elements to celebrate Charlotte and connect with local fans.

All the jerseys kept the Hornets’ style going while experimenting with new designs and colors. They showed the team’s continued work with Jordan Brand for high quality and innovation.

For the season itself, James Borrego became the new head coach. They celebrated 30 years as a franchise but missed the playoffs again, even with Kemba Walker leading the way in his last season before leaving for Boston. Also, this season was significant as it marked Tony Parker’s last in the NBA.

2019-20 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

2019-20 Charlotte Hornets Jersey
2019-20 Charlotte Hornets Jersey City and Classic

The Hornets had some really interesting jersey designs from 2019-2020.

The “City Edition” uniforms were cool grey with purple, teal and black – totally different from the old “Buzz City” look.

The “Statement Edition” had the word “Charlotte” on the front and a redesigned Hornets logo on the shorts for a modern vibe.

The “Classic Edition” brought back the classic pinstripe jerseys from the late 90s and early 2000s as a retro throwback.

All the uniforms were made by Air Jordan and showed off Charlotte’s culture and diversity.

This was the first season without longtime star Kemba Walker, so it was a transition year focused on developing young players under coach Borrego. The fresh jersey designs were a nice change for the rebuilding team.

2020-21 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

2020-21 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

The Hornets’ 2020-2021 City Edition jerseys paid tribute to Charlotte’s history as home of the first U.S. Mint and the Carolina Gold Rush. The mint-colored jerseys had black lettering with metallic gold accents and pinstripes, plus the classic “Buzz City” logo on the front.

The 2020-2021 season was an important step forward as the young Hornets team kept developing. They went 33-39 under coach Borrego and just missed the playoffs.

Rookie LaMelo Ball brought major excitement by winning Rookie of the Year and putting up strong numbers before injury. He showed huge potential for the future.

2021-22 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

2021-22 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

The Hornets created a pretty cool throwback-style City jersey that year. It had a retro “Charlotte” script on the front as a nod to the late ’80s teams. The number fonts blended styles from different eras to connect the past and present.

The jersey brought back the classic pinstripes in purple, green and blue. The Hornets were the first NBA team to wear those. The shorts had the original Hugo logo from 1988 to celebrate the franchise’s roots.

Players like LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier were rocking this City edition that aimed to pay tribute to the team’s legacy with its design details.

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2022-23 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

2022-23 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

The Hornets had some fresh new jersey designs this 2022-2023 season made by Air Jordan.

The City Edition paid tribute to Charlotte’s history as home of the first U.S. Mint and the Gold Rush, using the same mint, gold and granite colors from 2020-2021. It had “CLT” on the jersey for the first time and coin-like stripes to celebrate the city.

The Statement jersey kept the Hornets’ bold style going with a look the players and fans really liked. Stars like LaMelo Ball, Hayward and Rozier were rocking this edition.

Both uniforms used creative details to connect the team with Charlotte, from the CLT abbreviation to the gold rush stripes.

2023-24 Charlotte Hornets Jersey

2023-24 Charlotte Hornets Jersey
2023-24 Charlotte Hornets Jersey classic

The City Edition “Buzz City Gold Rush” uniform celebrates Charlotte’s history as home of the first U.S. Mint and the Gold Rush back in the 1800s. It has a bold teal design with gold and mint accents and fun hive details on the sides.

They also released a Classic Edition to mark 35 years as a franchise. It has iconic pinstripes from the late 90s jerseys and the Jumpman logo in the classic Hornets colors.

Both jerseys show the Hornets honoring their roots – from Charlotte’s gold mining past to the team’s own history. The City Edition connects to the city itself while the Classic Edition throws back to their early NBA years.

Special Jerseys

2007-09 Charlotte Bobcats Racing Day Jersey

2007-09 Charlotte Bobcats Racing Day Jersey

2009-11 Charlotte Bobcats Racing Day Jersey

2009-11 Charlotte Bobcats Racing Day Jersey

2008-09 Charlotte Bobcats Go Green Jersey

2008-09 Charlotte Bobcats Go Green Jersey

One special jersey was the “Go Green” one in 2008-2009. It was part of the NBA’s push to promote helping the environment. The jersey had a one-of-a-kind design and the Bobcats colors.

2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats ABA Throwback Jersey

2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats ABA Throwback Jersey
The jersey was made by Adidas as part of the Bobcats’ uniform lineup for the 2011-12 NBA season. It featured a retro design inspired by the uniforms worn by the original Charlotte ABA team from 1970-1976. The purpose was to pay tribute to and honor the basketball history and legacy of the ABA in Charlotte. The red, white and blue color scheme was reminiscent of the classic ABA uniforms from that era. Details like the star on the belt buckle, striped trim, and jersey font added to the throwback aesthetics. Worn occasionally by Bobcats players that season, it stood out from their regular uniforms. Part of a larger NBA initiative that year celebrating the ABA’s influence and contribution to basketball culture. Allowed the Bobcats to reconnect with Charlotte’s past ABA roots and heritage.

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Sandy Lee

Hi! I’m Sandy Lee, the creator of Jerseys Wiki. As a lifelong sports enthusiast with a special fondness for sport jerseys, I’ve created this space to share my passion. Join me as we explore the rich tapestry of sports jerseys, Learn more about me.
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