CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hugo the Hornet made his return to Charlotte Thursday with a series of appearances that included stops at Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital, Rama Road Elementary School, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Eastway Division, Charlotte Fire Department Station 1 and a Lowe's store, along with the first Hornets "Tweet-Up" at Charlotte's Independence Square at the corner of Trade and Tryon streets.
A modernized version of the lovable mascot used by the original Charlotte Hornets, Hugo features a teal head with black antennae and black eyes with white accents. The body is a teal and purple fur with "Hugo" across the chest, while the arms and legs are teal spandex featuring a cell pattern. His wings are white with teal accents and are double wings like a real hornet rather than the oval shape used by the previous version. Always ready for action, he wears purple kneepads and a specially-designed pair of Air Jordan 11 "Concord" shoes customized to fit him. The costume was designed internally by the organization's creative department.
"Hugo is a key part of the team's identity and we are excited to re-introduce him to our fans," said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield. "It was important to us that he resemble the inviting and entertaining Hugo that people remember, which is why we chose to refresh and modernize his look rather than recreating it."
The familiar white gloves feature the logos of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Hugo's presenting sponsor, while the palm is a textured black to allow for better grip.
"As a proud partner of the Hornets, we are thrilled to welcome back a leaner and healthier Hugo to Charlotte," said Eric Quimby of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. "As presenting sponsor of Hugo we look forward to seeing him generate excitement for the Charlotte Hornets franchise while spreading a positive message of living an active lifestyle within our community."
Along with Hugo's return, the Hornets Fan Shop at Time Warner Cable Arena today launched a new line of merchandise featuring the Hugo logo that includes T-shirts, hats and other items.
Fans wanting to keep up with Hugo can follow him on Twitter using @HugoTheHornet.