Earlier on Friday, Dan Devine relayed the news that the NBA had officially sold the New Orleans Hornets to the Tom Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints. Benson, not satisfied to be the owner of just one pro sports team with an area-appropriate nickname (as in, "When the Saints Go Marching In"), isn't happy with owning a team in New Orleans called "the Hornets." The team was originally named in tribute to North Carolina's steadfast, guerrilla-styled defense of its soon-to-be-state during the Revolutionary War, a defense which led to an English general referring to the area as "a veritable nest of hornets." Apparently Louisiana gave no such defense. Way to go, guys. Here's Benson's take on the name change:
Benson said he is also trying to change the name of the NBA team to better fit the ambiance, culture and charm of New Orleans. "We need to find a name like (Jazz)," Benson said, referring to New Orleans first NBA team that relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979. "Whether we can get that or let us use that, you've got to know we're working on it. We'd like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved, but we're not letting up on it, either. Because we've got a good relationship with the commissioner and his people and we're going to be on them daily to do something."
Sounds good to us. We've got some suggestions for Benson, though, considering that the nickname "Jazz" has already been taken by those Chinese Music (that's not an insult, check the link) purveyors in Utah. Here's a few suggestions:
New Orleans Crays
Some of us Yankees can never remember what to call crayfish. Are they "crayfish," or "crawfish?" Do we have to eat 90 at a time? Why'd they shrink all the lobster? Why are the dirty parts the best? Why potatoes and corn, when more crayfish will do? Also, "crayfish," or "crawfish?" Giving an official designation, in the form of a team name, helps everyone out.
Also, with the perpetual popularity of the "that ish cray" meme, this team will somehow be even cooler than the Brooklyn Nets amongst foodies, hipsters, and hip-hoppin'ers. And really, that's what the NBA covets.
New Orleans Petes
Because the Bullets changed their name to the Wizards 15 years ago in a lame move to disassociate itself with gun violence, and MLB had to be sort of shamed into putting a pistol back on throwback Houston Colt .45 uniforms, we consider this a fitting and inevitable tribute to political correctness run amok.
(Full disclosure: We abhor guns, and gun violence, and the idea of needlessly and carelessly standing one's ground by owning a firearm. But the New Orleans Jazz once actually put the word "Pistol" on the back of Pete Maravich's uniform. It may have been the coolest thing ever. Considering the NBA's decades-long decline in cool in the years since, it just makes sense. Go on, you Petes.)
New Orleans Wild Tchoupitoulas
If you've never heard of this band, you shouldn't feel ashamed. In the years before internet search engines could auto-correct spelling and lead you to your desired destination no matter how many vowels you misplaced, finding a Wild Tchoupitoulas LP was a bit of a struggle. They're awesome, though, with a funky rhythm provided by the legendary Meters (no way the NBA is going to name itself after a damned un-American unit of measurement, by the by), it would be an irreverent nod to the city's history, musical legacy, and a CD that won't leave your car's six-disc changer for months.
New Orleans Creole Kings
That one is actually pretty cool, if I'm honest.
New Orleans Jazz
Seriously, just fight 'em for it.
With all due respect to the Utah franchise's history and winning ways, that name is meant for New Orleans, it turned from a representation of a city's history into just another nickname once the Jazz moved to Utah, and absolutely nobody would side with the Utah Jazz in this conflict.
Also, what's so wrong with two teams out of 30 sharing the same nickname? If any league should break down this barrier, it's the NBA.
New Orleans Bensons
If the Charlotte Bobcats can name a team after its first owner, then the somewhat-related New Orleans franchise can do the same while also adding in the needed tribute to Robert Guillaume's spinoff sitcom of the same name.
New Orleans Hot Five
I don't care that the NBA fields between 12 and 15 players on a roster, this name is the best. The newspaper-derived nicks ("the Fivers") will be marvelous, it will allow for me to add in Kid Ory references in most of my New Orleans columns, and it's a healthy tribute to Louis Armstrong's initial New Orleans-based outfit that helped to introduce improvisation to not just jazz, but music.
Argue all you want on the "is basketball jazz?"-front, but you can't deny a name like this. And it sure beats the hell out of a bloody British-bashing bee.