TCT’s Game of the Week features #11 Ohio State going up against...
The New Orleans Pelicans? Really?
Pop question: You own an NBA team. Should you change your name from the Hornets to… wait, this can’t be serious… the Pelicans? Of course not!
Yet as you probably heard, next season the New Orleans Hornets will become the New Orleans Pelicans. Tom Benson, if you happen to read this, please halt turning New Orleans basketball into a joke. More so than the 15-31 team already is of course. Do it for the pride of the players on that team. Do it for the pride of the good people of New Orleans. Hell, do it for the pelicans. But please stop the worst possible team name in NBA history from becoming a reality.
Benson, the GM of the Hornets, has swallowed whole the idea of naming a competitive team after a state bird. Yet no amount of Louisiana connection to the albatross can make up for the fact that in a league of Bulls, Raptors, Grizzlies and Timberwolves, pelicans just don’t fly.
There’s a reason there will never be a Milwaukee Robins or Memphis Mockingbirds and it has a lot to do with casting an image of power, force and pride. More importantly, it has to do with not wanting a name that sounds like an 80′s new wave band in an after school special.
According to Benson, the Hornets “didn’t mean anything to this community. The pelican represents New Orleans, just like the Saints. They have incredible resolve. If they can do that, the team can do the same.”
That is all well and good, but the Saints don’t cause open mouths followed by laughter when mentioned as the moniker of a professional sports team. The Pelicans however… well let’s just say that Benson has definitely helped stretch a smile across many faces along with a hearty chuckle from heads shaking east to west.
Pelicans have no place as a name for a franchise just like a center has no place attempting a 3 pointer with 23 seconds left on the shot clock. The league does have its share of silly names. Case in point: The Washington Wizards. But at least a Wizard can conjure up some magic to do away with opponents (apparently, Washington lost that book of spells). While the New Orleans Hurricanes would be a powerful name, it probably hits too close to home. But the New Orleans Voodoo sure beats the Pelicans.
To be fair, there is a bigger message to the name change. The pelican, according to ESPN.com, is “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.”
No one will fault the organization for trying to raise awareness for the restoration of New Orleans and its coastal area, but that doesn’t mean the team should have to fight against a losing record as well as an embarrassing name. Talk about kicking a squad when they’re down.
Whoever proposed this team name must be strapped to a chair Clockwork Orange style and forced to watch the Pelican Brief while listening to the post-metal band Pelican ad nauseam until they realize that you simply do not go from the Hornets to the Pelicans without losing your mind.
Yes, the Lakers don’t make sense ever since they left Minnesota. There’s nothing about the Knicks that resembles the Dutch settlers they are named after. NBA teams are no strangers to silly names, but why fix the one thing about New Orleans basketball that isn’t terrible? The Hornets is a great name. No harm, no fowl.
If only New Orleans could trade naming rights with Utah and become the New Orleans Jazz, all would be right. Let’s be real, does anyone conjure up images of Louis Armstrong blowing that horn when walking past Mormon churches in Salt Lake City?
And the winner of all this name game nonsense? The Charlotte Bobcats. The team desperately wants to become the Hornets once again. Good luck Charlotte, it may be the only time in recent history where you might actually win something.
Update: This writer did some research on pelicans and, after seeing the video below, might alter his view on the name change in New Orleans. If the Pelicans play anything like this pelican, expect New Orleans to be the new bad boys of the league.
Article has been read 536 times