When the news broke that the New Orleans Hornets would change their name to the Pelicans for the 2013-14 season and beyond, opinions were mixed between those who thought it a fun change of pace reminiscent of the ABA and those who considered it a really dumb choice for pretty much all the same reasons. Whatever the case, it's different and will require some getting used to. Fans can be forgiven for not warming to "Pelicans" immediately after decades of being told that only the most immediately fearsome animals are suitable for mascot status.
Clearly, the franchise has some work to do. Luckily for them, they have received one very high profile endorsement of their new name. That's right — HIs Holiness the Dalai Lama, metaphorical manifestation of the bodhisattva of compassion, has worn a Pelicans hat to express his support. Check out the photo below for proof (via Jason Gallagher of Ballerball):
The Dalai Lama is currently touring the United States and is speaking several times in New Orleans through Saturday. (There's a livestream available at NOLA.com, if you care to watch.) It's unclear exactly who gave him the hat, or what he thinks of Hugo the Hornet, but putting on sends a message. The forces of peace and understanding are on the side of the Pelicans.
Or maybe not. As is clear from this photo of the Dalai Lama holding up a Portland Trail Blazers jersey and many more shots of the man in sports-related caps, he makes a habit of wearing hats of local teams. In his position as a spiritual leader who preaches acceptance of all things and a higher plane of consciousness, he sees the value in all teams and wears all branded apparel. When you think about it, the Dalai Lama is really like a more high-minded version of Lil Wayne, supporting all teams at once.
- New Orleans Hornets