Jan 11, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Hornets cheerleaders the Honeybees perform during the first half of a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the New Orleans Arena. The Hornets defeated the Timberwolves 104-92. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Why The New Orleans Pelicans Is A Terrible Name Choice


There’s no stopping it now.

According to a report by Yahoo Sports, the New Orleans Hornets will announce during a press conference tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon that the team will be changing its nickname to the “Pelicans” .

The name switch and new team colors (red, gold and blue) will be used during the 2013-14 season.

Louisiana is known as the “Pelican state”, so there is that obvious connection. The bird can also be seen on the state painting, flag and seal. It symbolizes the states environmental recovery from oil spills.

A video is expected to be shown during the press conference to showcase the history behind the nickname and its overall importance.

This isn’t the first time a new team nickname has been met with such disdain and disapproval. When the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and changed their name to the “Thunder“, a lot of fans loathed it right off the bat. Years later, no one seems to notice how awful the name choice is because the team is winning.

Winning solves everything.

I appreciate what the Pelican means to the people of Louisiana, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a awful name for a basketball team. If owner Tom Benson was going for a name that had some local flavor, then perhaps the “Krewe“, “Rougarou“, “Swamp Dogs” and “Brass” (all of which were considered and trademarked) would have been better choices.

Why are they better? It’s because they aren’t Pelicans, that’s why.

TNT analyst and former NBA all-star Chris Webber certainly agrees with me.

“Come on, everybody in the world knows that’s the worst name ever thought of and they’re going to be a joke,’’ Webber said. “I would hate to be from New Orleans and go somewhere and people tease me about being a Pelican   fan.’’

“I think it’s so obvious that nobody would like it if you ask a kid or grown person. It’s not my team, and I thank Mr. Benson for keeping them there so he can name them whatever he wants. But that’s not the toughest name in the world. But hey, every time I go get a haircut at the barbershop, I’ll have something to talk about. I have family there (New Orleans) and I know they hate it and I haven’t even talked to them.’’(nola.com/hornets)

NBA-TV analyst Steve Smith has the same sentiments.

“Even though it’s the state bird, it’s something that doesn’t ring. You can make it ring if you win a championship but until then I’m not on board with the Pelicans. It just doesn’t sound like an NBA team.’’

I’ve been presented the argument that while “Pelicans” isn’t an overly attractive moniker for a team, so aren’t a handful of others around the league either.

What the heck is a Clipper? The Toronto Raptors? Seriously? Wizards? What is this, Harry Potter?

I get it.

Do any of those nicknames make you laugh? Not really, unless you have a major sense of humor and laugh at everything. What about Pelicans? I don’t know about you, but everyone I’ve asked about the name seems to get a chuckle out of it.

A good portion of team nicknames in the NBA either suck, don’t make sense or don’t fit with the city in question. It happens. However, this is just a little over the top for my liking.

Would any of you be caught dead wearing Pelican merchandise? How about a Pelican hat? Pelican t-shirts? Maybe some Pelican wrist bands?

Odds are you wouldn’t, unless you were from New Orleans and/or had a strong connection/devotion to the team.

Four to five years down the road, no one will care anymore. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s going to be engraved in your mind that the New Orleans Pelicans are an NBA franchise.

All I know is that for the immediate future, this basketball team is a league bottom-feeder that’s years away from elevating itself to a contender in the Western Conference. This unfortunate (in my opinion) name change just makes a bad team look much, much worse.

Sorry.

Chris Walder is the Editor here at Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter at @WalderSports

Tags: New Orleans Hornets New Orleans Pelicans

  • Jester

    As a Hornets fan, I totally agree. I’m an outdoorsman and pragmatic environmentalist, so I have nothing against pelicans as an animal. However, it is downright terrible as a team name. I say the name and can’t help but think of an 8- and 9-year old coed softball team.

  • djcastel

    I thought this was a gag story from the Onion.

    • Paul Guillion

      You and me both. Worst name in the history of sports.

      • Christopher Walder

        I’m sorry to say, but it’s very real. The name “Thunder” eventually grew on me, but “Pelicans”? I’m going to have to take some classes for this one.