When the NBA's New Orleans Hornets announced that they would change their name to the Pelicans for the 2013-14 season, public opinion was divided into two camps. The first rejected the name as too goofy, a reference to an actually-imposing but not imposing-seeming bird known mostly for having a big mouth. The other group, which included me, thought that it was a nice nod to the less self-serious aspects of professional basketball, as well as a callback to some of the weirder mascots of the ABA.
Yet, for the nickname to work in practice, it would need to inspire a mascot fitting the same image. On Wednesday night, before their home opener against the Indiana Pacers, the Pelicans unveiled their mascot. As you can see above, he is quite terrifying, although maybe not as his designers intended.
His name is Pierre the Pelican, as determined by fan vote earlier this week. He is, to put it lightly, maybe a bit of a misfire. Blessed with neon yellow feathers that could be the result of a toxic accident, deliriously open mouth, and the eyes of an animal that wants nothing more than to end your life, Pierre follows the Brooklyn Nets' BrooklyKnight as NBA mascot designers' latest attempt to scare small children away from their product.
The situation is all the sadder because Pierre replaces Hugo the Hornet, a slightly anachronistic but extremely popular mascot. While Hugo will likely return to arenas when the Charlotte Bobcats officially become the Hornets, he will be missed. We should all give Pierre a chance, I suppose, but this was not the most pleasant way to meet him.
Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee, alias "Pierre," was not made available for comment.
- - - - - - -