TSN TV Schedule TSN2 TV Schedule
NBA

Benson says changing name to Pelicans could improve team

{eot}
Associated Press
1/24/2013 8:59:37 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

NEW ORLEANS -- Hornets owner Tom Benson is changing his team's nickname to the Pelicans and said the switch will create a bond with the city that could lead to a championship.

The Hornets announced Thursday they are going ahead with the name change. The NBA still has to approve it, but Commissioner David Stern has said he wouldn't object to any name Benson chose. The league is expected to expedite the change at the start of next season.

The new colour scheme is blue, gold and red, a departure from the Hornets' teal, purple, gold and white.

The Hornets have been in New Orleans since moving from Charlotte for the 2002-03 season, although they were relocated temporarily to Oklahoma City from 2005-2007 due to Hurricane Katrina. Benson, who also owns the Saints, bought the team last spring.

The nickname Hornets "didn't mean anything to this community," Benson said. "The pelican represents New Orleans, just like the Saints. They have incredible resolve. If they can do that, the team can do the same."

The brown pelican is Louisiana's state bird and has become identified with efforts to restore Louisiana's coast, which has been damaged extensively by the 2010 BP oil spill and erosion from Katrina and other storms. Images of the pelicans covered with oil were plentiful after the oil spill.

The brown pelican was taken off the endangered species list in 2009.

"We're raising an entire generation to be very mindful to what happened to our coastal restoration," said Rita Benson LeBlanc, Benson's granddaughter and vice chairman of the board for the Hornets and the Saints. "Give it time, and I think everyone will be inspired (by the name change). It's for a greater purpose."

The team also unveiled five new logos. The primary one has a red background with the words New Orleans and pelicans written in white, a red pelican's head and bill, a gold basketball and crescent and a red fleur de lis at the top.

"It's a strong looking logo. that's what I was most worried about," coach Monty Williams said. "I was hoping it was dynamic and strong, and when I saw the colours and the angles of it, I thought it was great. It's going to be great to see kids around the city in their pelican jerseys and hats."

Benson owns the rights to the name Pelicans, which was the nickname for a former minor league baseball team that played in New Orleans for more than 70 years.

"When kids grow up, they're going to identify with New Orleans Pelicans here," said New Orleans head of basketball operations Mickey Loomis, who also is the Saints general manager. "It's really New Orleans' team. I think from the very beginning for Mr. B when he bought the team, he just wanted to make sure that I'm a local owner and this is a local team."

The Hornets are New Orleans' second NBA team. The Jazz played here from 1974-79 before leaving for Utah, and current Jazz owners have said they had no interest in giving up the name so New Orleans could have it back.

There is a small campaign in Charlotte to "bring back the buzz" to North Carolina.

Before they were the New Orleans Hornets, the franchise was located in Charlotte from 1988-2002 -- then George Shinn moved the Hornets to the Big Easy. The Bobcats are doing market research to find out if the name change is worth it. Charlotte has hired Harris Interactive, a nationally prominent polling company, to survey current Bobcats customers and the Charlotte sports market to get their input on possibly changing the name.

"We are aware of the impending change regarding the team nickname in New Orleans," said Bobcats president and COO Fred Whitfield. "We are currently in contact with the NBA and conducting our own due diligence relative to this matter."

Tom Benson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

zoom

(Photo: The Canadian Press)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story

Game 1: Mavericks at Spurs (TSN2)

Sunday at 1pm et/10am pt


NBA on TSN Broadcast Schedule


Western Conference

(1) SA v (8) DAL (4) HOU v (5) POR
(2) OKC 1, (7) MEM 0 (3) LAC 0, (4) GS 1


Eastern Conference

(1) IND 0, (8) ATL 1 (4) CHI v (5) WSH
(2) MIA v (7) CHA (3) TOR 0, (6) BKN 1


Playoff Schedule/Game-By-Game Breakdown



Big Tour
Social Media
twitter icon

Follow the Raptors and Raptor play-by-play man Matt Devlin on Twitter! Check out the latest Tweets!

Podcasts

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: April 18 - Bruce Bowen

3x NBA Champion and ESPN NBA Analyst Bruce Bowen joined The Bryan Hayes Show to preview the NBA Playoffs.

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: April 18 - Greivis Vasquez

Toronto Raptors Point Guard Greivis Vasquez explains what the Raptors mindset is going into the playoffs.

TSN 1050: Macko & Cauz: Ryan Ruocco- April 18, 2014

Ryan Ruocco joins Macko & Cauz to tee up what should be an exciting first round match up between the Raptors and Nets.


More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television