In the wave of new ownership, the New Orleans Hornets are looking to get a new name. The New Orleans Hornets will change to the New Orleans Pelicans as early as the 2013-14 season.
According to ESPN, the name change was expected when Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, bought the team in April for a rumored purchase price of $338 million. Tom Benson, 84-year-old New Orleans native, owns the rights to the Pelican name.
After purchasing the franchise, Benson told the Times-Picayune that he would consider a new name.
“We need to find a name like (Jazz),” Benson said, referring to New Orleans first NBA team that relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979. “Whether we can get that or let us use that, you’ve got to know we’re working on it. We’d like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved, but we’re not letting up on it, either. Because we’ve got a good relationship with the commissioner and his people and we’re going to be on them daily to do something.”
Pelican makes sense for the basketball franchise that moved to New Orleans from Charlotte in 20o2. In Louisiana, a state nicknamed “the Sportsman’s Paradise,” the pelican was designated the state bird in 1966, and its image can be found on the state flag and seal. According to a Yahoo! Sports story, the Hornets also considered the names Brass, for New Orleans’ unique music scene, and Krewe, for the group of paraders that march down the streets during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Benson’s wife, Gayle, says her preferences for new team colors are navy blue, red, and gold. However, there are no reports of uniform changes yet.
In 24 seasons, the Hornets franchise has had an overall record of 934–986 and has made it to post season 12 times. The Hornets have had five playoff series victories and one division title. The Hornets recently won the NBA’s draft lottery and No. 1 pick overall and chose Anthony Davis from Kentucky.