While in Charlotte, the original Hornets retired one jersey – No. 13.
That number belonged to Bobby Phills, who died in a car crash at age 30 during his ninth NBA season and third with Charlotte.
When the original Hornets moved to New Orleans, they took his retired jersey with them.
But now that those Hornets are the Pelicans, and the Bobcats are now the Hornets, Charlotte has reclaimed the statistical records of its first NBA franchise – and Phills’ retired jersey.
The Charlotte Hornets announced today that the team will honor the late Bobby Phills and re-hang his retired No. 13 jersey in a halftime ceremony during its game against Memphis on Saturday, November 1. The jersey was originally raised to the rafters on February 9, 2000, following Phills’ passing a month earlier.
“During the process of bringing the Hornets name back to Charlotte, one of the most important elements to us was to once again honor the retired jersey of Bobby Phills,” said Hornets President & COO Fred Whitfield. “It is our responsibility to appropriately recognize the legacy of a man who impacted so many people with his contributions both on and off the basketball court.”
The halftime ceremony, which will include members of the Phills family and several of Phills’ former Charlotte Hornets teammates, will feature a video and remarks on behalf of the family and the organization before the No. 13 jersey once again resumes its place as the lone retired number in Hornets history.
Phills’ was a top-notch 3-and-D player before the term ever came into existence. In his far too short life, he carved out a long NBA career after getting picked in the second round and cut before playing a game. His forthright nature and toughness endeared him to teammates, leaving a legacy of respect for him.
This is a nice honor, and it’s fitting Phills’ jersey hangs again in Charlotte.