COMMENTARY | Chris Paul is unquestionably the greatest player in New Orleans Hornets history. He posted incredible assist numbers, got the Hornets into the playoffs several times, and even helped New Orleans win the Southwest Division in 2008.
However, Paul also made it clear he would not re-sign with the Hornets, thus forcing a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers. Since then, Paul has made the Clippers instant NBA contenders, while the Hornets have won a total of 40 games over the last two seasons.
New Orleans Pelicans
But despite his departure from New Orleans, Chris Paul has interjected himself into the debate over the Hornets rebranding as the Pelicans. Immediately after Hornets owner Tom Benson made the official announcement about the Pelicans name change, Paul tweeted, "Pelicans??? I'm not rolling."
Then at NBA All-Star Weekend this year, he said, "I think the thing with the name change that's tough is that it almost feels like I played for another team, you know. The New Orleans Hornets for me they don't exist."
No one is denying Chris Paul's right to express his displeasure with the Hornets becoming the Pelicans. The First Amendment guarantees Paul that right. However, there is a big difference between 'a' right and doing what 'is' right.
First, if Chris Paul is so concerned with Hornets business, he should have stayed in New Orleans. He was always a class act in New Orleans and at least he had the decency to inform the organization he wouldn't re-sign, thus giving the Hornets a chance to trade him and get something in return.
But now that Paul's gone, his opinion on the Pelicans name doesn't matter. In fact, if Paul was still with the Hornets, maybe the team would have kept winning and selling more tickets and Benson wouldn't have needed to change the team's name to Pelicans to generate interest in New Orleans.
Concerning his comment that the rebranding to Pelicans will make it feel like he played for another team, Tom Benson has more important things to worry about than Chris Paul's sense of nostalgia. If he would do just a bit of research, Paul would know that the name Pelicans is serving as a symbol of Benson championing the cause of coastal restoration.
When Chris Paul said the New Orleans Hornets don't exist for him, he is almost correct. If it hadn't been for Tom Benson, they would likely have a new name and a new city. Benson is simply doing what he feels is best to market the Pelicans in New Orleans.
At least Benson didn't name the team after himself and call them the "Tomcats."
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. Patrick has followed the Hornets since they moved to New Orleans and has covered the team since 2010. He was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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