Former Hornets Mascot Shares His Experience - myfoxcarolinas.com

Former Hornets Mascot Shares His Experience

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • District Attorney's Office Designs Waiting Room for Kids

    District Attorney's Office Designs Waiting Room for Kids

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:53 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:53:34 GMT
    The Mecklenburg County’s District Attorney’s office is working with Pat’s Place, a child advocacy group in Charlotte to transform one of their waiting rooms for children. Having to testify can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for anyone. Imagine what it might feel like for a child, whether they’re a victim or a witness to a crime.
    The Mecklenburg County’s District Attorney’s office is working with Pat’s Place, a child advocacy group in Charlotte to transform one of their waiting rooms for children. Having to testify can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for anyone. Imagine what it might feel like for a child, whether they’re a victim or a witness to a crime.
  • South End Community Focused On Parks & Crime

    South End Community Focused On Parks & Crime

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:19 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:19:46 GMT
    South End residents discussed the progress of a Mecklenburg County Park and crime and safety in their community.
    South End residents discussed the progress of a Mecklenburg County Park and crime and safety in their community.
  • Concord Soup Kitchen in Danger of Closing

    Concord Soup Kitchen in Danger of Closing

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-04-25 03:07:59 GMT
    The board of the Salvation Army in Concord will meet Thursday to talk about whether or not it will take over operation of the Soup Kitchen at the end of June. The Soup Kitchen serves the homeless during lunch hours, and it is currently run by the Cooperative Christian Ministries in a building off Patterson Avenue in Concord.
    The board of the Salvation Army in Concord will meet Thursday to talk about whether or not it will take over operation of the Soup Kitchen at the end of June. The Soup Kitchen serves the homeless during lunch hours, and it is currently run by the Cooperative Christian Ministries in a building off Patterson Avenue in Concord.

Michael Zerrillo recalls the first time he got on the basketball court in 1990.

"They said well just go out and clap to the music and get the crowd clapping when its a good time out... I just went out and started clapping. I wasn't on beat. Didn't hear the music,” Zerrillo said.

He eventually became one with the character Hugo the Hornet.

"It took probably a year and a half until I felt like I put the costume on and I'd see myself walking by a building and reflection and said wow, im dressed and ready for work,” he said.

He captivated sold-out crowds with his front-flip slam dunks and jaw-dropping gymnastic skills. When the team moved to New Orleans in 2002, he went with them. But things got a little tough when he started a family of his own.

"My family was back here. I would fly in and do 3-4 games and fly back home. It was a little bit tough for my family, because I was gone at long periods of time,” he said.

After three seasons, the team relocated to Oklahoma City due to Hurricane Katrina... and by the time the Hornets returned back to New Orleans in 2007, Michael figured this would be a good time to hang out the uniform.

"In 17 years I missed four games, and all of them because of surgeries,” he said.

After retiring as a mascot, it took him a while to transition out of the costume.

"I don't know if I'm completely detached yet. Me and Hugo the Hornet will always have a connection,” he said.

Zerrillo says that connection will be there forever. And you can expect him to be in the crowd when the BUZZ comes back to town.


Powered by WorldNow

WJZY FOX 46
3501 Performance Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28214
Main Number: (704) 398-0046

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices