COMMENTARY | The worst-kept secret in sports will finally become official on Thursday, January 24. The New Orleans Hornets will announce that they will rebrand themselves the New Orleans Pelicans for the 2013-14 NBA season. Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by Hornets' fans, the name change to Pelicans is hardly the end of the world.
New Orleans Pelicans
I wrote on the Hornets rebranding as the Pelicans when the rumor broke a couple of months ago. I believed then that the name Pelicans was a decent, though not a great, choice and my opinion has not changed. I prefer Jazz or Brass but Pelicans isn't so bad.
Just remember that New Orleans' NFL team is named after holy Catholics and has a flower on its helmets. But that hasn't stopped Saints' fans from passionately supporting their team.
A quick look around the NBA shows that other teams have rather non-vicious names. The Nuggets, Lakers, Suns, and Nets are just a few of the NBA names that are much less imposing than the Pelicans. Although it will take time for people in New Orleans to get used to calling the Hornets the Pelicans, I'll just be happy to stop hearing the national media referring to the team as the Charlotte Hornets.
Although I would have loved the nostalgia of the Jazz playing in New Orleans again, the name Pelicans has even more history in the Big Easy. The New Orleans Pelicans were a very successful minor league baseball team for many decades. Also, the pelican is the state bird of Louisiana and it's on the state flag.
Hornets owner Tom Benson will reportedly announce the 2013-14 rebranding at a press conference on Thursday. He will also explain his rationale for choosing the name Pelicans. I expect Benson to highlight the aforementioned points from the previous paragraph. Regardless of how well or poorly he explains himself this won't even be an issue in five years.
Another secret that was kept almost as badly was the Hornets' new colors. Insiders have known for some time that the Pelicans' colors would be red, blue, and gold. I'm not sure why Benson chose these colors, but I'm sure we'll find out on Thursday.
Just as there is a lot of complaining about the name Pelicans, many Hornets' fans are also unhappy with the new colors. I've spoken to several fans in New Orleans who prefer the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. Personally, I find copying off Mardi Gras very unimaginative and if the worst thing in our lives is the Pelicans' colors, then we must not have too many problems.
Tom Benson is a shrewd executive and I'm sure he knows the best thing about rebranding is that fans will need to buy new gear. Even casual NBA fans like to wear the newest, hottest jerseys and I can see Anthony Davis' 2013-14 Pelicans' jersey being a big seller.
The New Orleans Hornets will become the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013-14 and we'll all eventually get used to it.
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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