The New Orleans Pelicans! What the Pel is going on?

Here comes some news as fresh as fish flopping in the drooping lower jaw of an aquatic bird.  The New Orleans Hornets are changing their nickname to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Pleased to meet you!  Get used to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Pleased to meet you!  Hope you guessed my name.


New owner Tom Benson stated last year that we wanted to change the name, so we’ve known this was coming for a while.  As it turns out, Benson already owned the name Pelicans and chose it over Krewe and Brass.  A while back, Benson was trying to foist the Voodoo nickname away from the Arena Football club, but he was thwarted–presumably with a doll made in his likeness.

Since this is right up our alley, you might be wondering what the Sport Change take on it is.  Well…Sport Change likes it, sort of.  Pelicans is infinitely superior to the other name ideas thrown around, but it’s not really ideal for a pro team in the Big Four.  In the context of the NBA, I would rank it somewhere between 14th and 19th best in the league, which is where the Hornets are.  Similar to the Bobcats, Pelicans is a likable but cute nickname that would be better suited to a minor league, collegiate, or semipro club.

It could’ve been even worse.  Sport Change followers will know our stance on non-singularable/non-pluralable (as we call them) nicknames such as Heat, Magic, and yes–Jazz.  They’re some of the worst of all.  If Krewe, Voodoo, or Brass (ugh) were selected, they would’ve likely ranked  in the bottom ten of all monikers in the Big Four.

Despite our loathing of the NS/NP, Sport Change once reluctantly suggested that the Minor League Baseball Mobile BayBears change their name to the Mobile Krewe.  Reluctant even at a low level.  Brass is a name that came out of left field, and thank god it was scrapped.  I remember when the great website Uni-Watch solicited suggestions from readers, and came up with possibilities.  Of those, I certainly favored the Pelicans above the rest.  Here was a conceptual drawing:


Not bad, really.  In reality, Tom Benson’s wife Gayle wants the colors to be red, blue, and gold.  I guess she gets to pick.  At least those are nice colors!


What was lost?

Well, we lost the opportunity for the great NBA moniker swap.  In that scenario, we had Hornets going to Charlotte, Toronto taking the Bobcats, Utah taking the Raptors, and yes, the Jazz going home to NOLA.  Jazz would’ve been the only NS/NP nickname that Sport Change could’ve tolerated in New Orleans.

We also lost the Fleur de Bee, one of the greatest sports logos of our time.  I may have to purchase a Fleur de Bee t-shirt now out of reverence.  Just as soon as they go on mega sale.


Fleur de Bee. RIP.


What was gained? 

Well, I’d say that there’s a damn good chance that MJ will follow through on his suggestion that Hornets returns to Charlotte.  That’s a good thing.  The Charlotte Hornets will always hold a candle in my heart, but that may be tied to being at an impressionable age during the heyday of Alonzo, Larry, and Muggsey.  It will be good to see the name returned.


What broke even?

In the event of the Hornets buzzing back to Charlotte, we’ll be losing the Bobcats.  That will be a sad day.  I can’t help but love the fuzzy, scrappy, inept kitties in North Carolina.  Of course, as I said before, Pelicans is very similar to Bobcats in a lot of ways.  In essence, we’re trading Bobcats for Pelicans.  Whatevs.  I’m just glad it wasn’t the Brass.  Brass.  (vomits)

Thoughts?  Comments?  This is another news break.  For those of you awaiting the posts that have been promised: they’re coming soon.  We’re tackling every nickname in NCAA Division I sports.  Stay alert.


  1. joeandrewc said:

    If they could make the pelican look more mean, then I don’t think it would be so bad.

  2. They don’t have a logo yet. Those were just concepts. I bet the logo will look much more mean.

  3. Greg said:

    So will it be the Pels when it’s shortened now?

  4. Maria Maccamini-Cowan said:

    Much better than Krewe or Brass.

  5. Jarrod C said:

    I disagree with pretty much everything in this post. Sorry, but I actually like Singular names. Krewe is my favorite, but only because the other two choices are sub-par at best. Pelicans is literally awful. People are poking fun for a reason: because it’s a dumb name. When the Houston Astros changed from Colts to Astros, no one complained. Why? Because Astros isn’t lame as hell.

  6. Fair enough. No need to apologize for voicing your opinion. I may disagree, but that doesn’t mean I’m right. Pelicans (and Krewe) are more on the side of Minor League nicknames. Despite the fact that it’s NS/NP, I would’ve much preferred that Jazz return to New Orleans. I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks so.

  7. When I first heard this, I was a little dumbfounded. Now that I’ve been reading about the reasons behind it, I don’t think it’s that bad! I mean, yeah, “Jazz” would have evoked some really great childhood memories about the way sports used to be. But the fact of the matter remains that Tom Benson is involved…not to say that it’s a BAD thing…and he is highly revered by me, as I’ve been a Saints fan since 1989!!!

  8. Right on. Pelicans isn’t as bad as folks are making it out to be. It’s not terribly intimidating, but this isn’t an NFL team we’re talking about. Is Celtics intimidating? Nets? Spurs?

    At least Pelicans are living creatures, and the state bird of Louisiana. There’s even a big pelican on the state flag. We’ll get used to the Pels. Or the Pellies. Or the ‘Cans.

  9. Maria Maccamini-Cowan said:

    As weird as it is to have a team called the Jazz in the least Jazzy state in the union, the Malone/Stockton era makes it the Utah Jazz for posterity. They can’t swap back now. You can say the same for the Lakers. There are no lakes in L.A. unless you count canals and cesspools.

  10. Chico said:

    Why not change the whole name to LOUISIANA PELICANS instead of New Orleans PELICANS? IT SOUNDS BETTER LIKE THAT. What does everybody think?

  11. Never thought of that. Interesting. Not a bad idea. It would certainly be as legit as the Utah Jazz and would be more respectable than say, the Indianapolis (should be just Indiana) Colts. I still prefer New Orleans since the Saints already use it and it’s an iconic city.

  12. Greg said:

    As a former Charlotte Hornets diehard, I literally get chills thinking about the return of our Charlotte Hornets. I will certainly fly home from Colorado for the 1st game back and I can tell you the arena that night, The Hive, yes OUR Hive, will be rocking harder than any basketball game the Hornets have played in New Orleans. Please take no offense to that, it just is the truth. The Purple and Teal mean a lot to the city of Charlotte and the state of NC… the B**cats mean nothing to NC and just enough to stay relevant in Charlotte. If, and hopefully when, the name and Hugo and Super Hugo and the Honey Bees and Bee-fense and everything else that comes back home, the NBA in Charlotte will strive once again. It’s very exciting to say the least.

    New Orleans should have changed the name from the beginning. NOLA has too much culture to not brand any team there after it.

    I could write a 20 page paper on why I think the Hornets (name) should fly back home to Charlotte…but I won’t get in to all that and just enjoy the thought of this (once pipe-dream) actually becoming a reality…


    • Thanks for the comment, Greg. It seems as though you will get your wish. A team nickname relocation is essentially unprecented–or at least it hasn’t happened in several decades. I love the idea, and wish that the same could happen with the New Orleans Jazz, Minneapolis Lakers, Brooklyn Dodgers, etc.

      Charlotte Hornets!

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