The New Orleans Hornets are planning to change their nickname to the Pelicans for the 2013-14 season in a move that could affect the Charlotte franchise as well, Yahoo!Sports reported Tuesday.
New Hornets owner Tom Benson, who Yahoo said owns the NBA rights to the Pelicans name, said when he bought the team from the league last summer that he was interested in changing the nickname to something that appeals to the region. Louisiana's state bird is the pelican.
Bobcats owner Michael Jordan said prior to this season that if the Hornets nickname became available, then he would consider bringing it back to Charlotte. The Hornets, who began playing in Charlotte as an expansion franchise in 1988, moved to New Orleans in 2002 after a despite between then owner George Shinn and the city over an arena lease.
The possible name change has denied by the Hornets, telling Nola.com that is still in the exploratory stages.
"We're not confirming that is the name," Hornets spokesman Bensel said. "This is a process that's ongoing and still in discussions. And it will be eventually decided by the NBA."
Also under consideration were the nicknames Krewe (a Mardi Gras reference) and Brass. New Orleans first NBA franchise was the Jazz, which relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1979.
Also, Benson's wife, Gayle, recently told Fox Sports New Orleans she wanted the team's colors to change to navy blue, red and gold.