COMMENTARY | It's official. The New Orleans Hornets will become the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2013-14 NBA season. Regardless of what fans think about the name, they will continue to support the team and that means buying Pelicans merchandise. Apparently, a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes because Pelicans gear is already available for purchase.
Not surprisingly, the New Orleans Hornets' official website already has Pelicans gear. The last time I checked, there were 43 Pelicans items available. Most of the available merchandise right now is Pelicans t-shirts, sweatshirts, and caps. Most of the gear has red or blue as the main color.
Tom Benson is making use of New Orleans' fascination with the fleur-de-lis once again. There are some items conveniently displaying the Pelican in the shape of a fleur-de-lis. Besides apparel, fans can also buy bumper stickers, car flags, wallets, key chains, basketballs, and many other items.
Click here to visit Hornets.com to check out the Pelicans gear.
David Stern is also ready to offer Pelicans gear for purchase. The NBA's official website currently has 66 Pelicans items available to buy. Unlike the previous website, NBA.com has a few t-shirts and sweatshirts available in gold. However, NBA.com does not have the variety of merchandise available at Hornets.com. Besides apparel, NBA.com only has a duffle bag, back pack, and travel kit.
Click here to see the Pelicans merchandise at NBA.com.
Unfortunately, official New Orleans Pelicans jerseys are not available yet. In an interview with Jennifer Hale on Fox Sports New Orleans, Hornets President Dennis Lauscha said that Pelicans jerseys will not be available until the summer. For now, fans can only purchase Hornets' jerseys.
I've heard a lot of discussion about Hornets merchandise in New Orleans since the team announced the rebranding to Pelicans. Many people are saying they're no longer buying any Hornets gear. Personally, I have a different opinion on this matter.
I tend to like the nostalgic aspect of sports and I look at this as the last chance for fans to purchase New Orleans Hornets merchandise. In 5-10 years, an Anthony Davis Hornets jersey may be a cool item, just as a Kevin Durant Sonics jersey is a head-turner. I own a Pete Maravich New Orleans Jazz jersey and it's my favorite NBA item.
As the 2012-13 NBA season nears its end, Hornets merchandise will be available at a huge discount. I'd definitely be looking out for clearance sales at the aforementioned websites and sports apparel stores at the local mall.
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.
More from this contributorCP3 or C-3PO?