Ok, well – it’s not crazy, actually. Here’s my thoughts on the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets changing their name to the Pelicans next season.
What do you think of when you think of what the NBA stands for? Cool, hip, digital/social media, wicked dunks, cool shoes, big personalities may come to mind – not really in line with… Pelicans.
Turns out there is some local history there – the Pelican is the State bird of Louisiana for one thing. And, back in the day, there was a minor league baseball team from the 1880’s-1950’s called the Pelicans that Played at Pelican stadium.
But what’s wrong with the Hornets you might be thinking? Is it that bad? I mean they’ve been the Hornets for 10 years in New Orleans! True, but they were also in Oklahoma for a while post Katrina. Before that – they were in Charlotte for about 10 years, not a huge amount of time. So they’ve been around the block so to speak.
Apparently – this is a done deal. And the Pelicans will fly again in 2013/14.
It’s been a bit controversial as the name Pelicans is not really cool. But let’s consider some other “cool” franchise names and ones that did or did not change names when they relocated.
Raptors, Jazz and Lakers
Here’s a “cool” NBA team name – the Raptors. Well, cool in 1992 at least. The Raptors (short for velociraptor, the term “raptor” is simply a bird of prey) came to be along the rise of Jurassic Park at a time when the NBA was as cool as cool could be. Now, it seems completely dated to many. Recent archeological discoveries also indicate that velociraptor had feathers back in the day – deadly, yes – but much more muppet like than lizard.
Other NBA teams have relocated. Is it just me, or does the State of Utah just scream “Jazz” to you? Of course not – so guess where they came from? Yes, New Orleans, of course – but they only played there for about 5 years in the 1970’s. However, changing the team name from “Jazz” now seems pretty absurd (success will do that).
Perhaps the most famous “what’s up with that?” name in the NBA is the Lakers. Now synonymous with Los Angeles, they were originally from Minnesota where they won 5 championships before moving to LA in 1960. There’s a lot of lakes in Minnesota (the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”), but I wouldn’t consider LA to be lake country.
The Lakers have an estimated franchise value of $900M – Tops in the NBA. Changing the name of the Lakers is actually a crazy idea. No one would EVER consider renaming them to something more connected to the city like, oh say… Pelicans. Or Golden Seals (don’t get me started). But is franchise value really a factor in New Orleans? Not the way I see it – I think they can literally “afford” to re-brand the team.
What do you think? Are you down with the Pelicans?