The team formerly known as the New Orleans Hornets is comprised of a young, athletic, up-and-coming core.
Anthony Davis, Xavier Henry, Eric Gordon, and Austin Rivers highlight a nucleus looking to put New Orleans basketball back on the map.
With both eyes clearly focused on the future, the franchise felt that they should use the youth movement to launch a complete rebranding campaign, with a new name and all.
The idea wasn’t awful; fan bases can often be re-energized by a new franchise identity, especially if it is meant to represent the entering of a new era. Plus, the city wanted something that was more representative of itself, since New Orleans is not especially known for Hornets, having inherited the name from Charlotte.
It all made sense. The organization had the opportunity to come up with an exciting new nickname that encompassed the spirit and energy of the young squad, while serving to intimidate opponents, at least a little. New Orleans’ newly-named team could resonate as “cool” with an entire generation of kids, just as the original Charlotte Hornets did during the 90’s.
So, after weeks of deliberating and pondering the organization produced the best possible nickname: The Pelicans.
My initial reaction to this announcement was amusement, which was only amplified upon seeing logo designs.
Yes, New Orleans boasts a plethora of pelicans, not all of them pleasant, as I found out on my lone trip to Louisiana last year. But, is that really how the franchise wants to portray its team and players for the foreseeable future; a big gang of pelicans? The name doesn’t quite serve to inspire fear in other teams, of even a tad bit of intimidation.
“We have to go play the Pelicans;” sounds scary.
The franchise’s former All-Star point guard is one who is not in favor of the new name.
“Pelicans? I’m not rolling,” Chris Paul stated in a tweet, and he was not the only one who was somewhat skeptical of the change.
The new name has to put the Pelicans in the running for worst NBA nickname, right up there with the Bobcats, the Raptors, and the ill-fitting Jazz.
In reality, team name has little proven connection with on-court performance, and at least pelicans are relatable to the region. However, you would think players would prefer an identity that they can be proud of, and it is yet to be seen if the Pelicans will inspire pride.