Impressions from new Jordan Brand-heavy Bobcats shop

I headed over to the Bobcats home opener on Friday — a loss to the Pacers — but I got there just early enough to also check out the new team shop at Time Warner Cable Arena that was being deemed a “Jordan Brand boutique.” The verdict? It’s a very nice store, and it’s probably one of the nicer ones you’ll see in an NBA arena, but it won’t wind up as a destination for Jordan Brand freaks.

I entered from inside the arena, going down steps and entering through the half of the store that was basically all Jordan Brand. And, as I’d been told, it’s all apparel. You won’t find any sneakers there and that probably makes sense the more I think about it. Who’s going to buy sneakers there on a game night and carry them to their seats? More thoughts on the shoe part at the end. In addition to all the Jordan Brand apparel, you’re also able to find regular Bobcats gear plus a healthy dose of really sharp looking Jordan Brand-tagged Bobcats apparel. (The team shop is evidently the only place you can buy that apparel.)

All of this is fine. It’s an enhanced team shop experience for sure, but I think some opportunities were missed.

1. No shoes? As I said, selling shoes in the day-to-day isn’t realistic. People won’t lug ’em around to the seats. But what if you could make the Jordan Brand boutique shop into a “pop-up shop” of sorts for the biggest Jordan Brand releases. Dropping the Cool Grey XIs at Christmas? Release them there. You’ll get people into that team shop seeing Jordan Brand Bobcats gear who might not otherwise ever see it or think to go into the shop.

2. Really, no shoes? (Part 2) In addition to not selling, I feel like a real opportunity was missed in not displaying specially made player editions that Bobcats players have worn in the past. Why not display some PEs made for Gerald Wallace, D.J. Augustin and other Bobcats from Jordan Brand? They’re unique and would make a great display item in the store. Even the mannequins had bland, plain Team Jordan shoes that wouldn’t draw a second look from anyone.

Aside from those two points, I have to bring up a kind of bizarre use of the Jumpman on opening night. The first 12,000 people got long sleeve shirts that said “WIN AS ONE” with a Bobcats logo and a Jumpman just below the neck. The back had a Bobcats logo and a Lowes logo, too. The most interesting mark? In the collar. Was there a Jumpman tag there? Nope, just a Hanes tagless t-shirt logo. Is it strange or just disingenuous that they slap a JB logo on the chest, but it’s really a Hanes t-shirt inside?

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