Hornets Beat: Pelican Powered

Published: December 10, 2012
Hugo Laying Cutely on the Court

Oh Hugo, we hardly knew ye. Our writers give their takes on Pelicans and other team names from around the NBA.

1. If the Hornets wind up being rebranded the Pelicans, I’ll be _____.

Michael McNamara: Happy that this is over with and we can now focus on basketball.  A year ago we were wondering about whether this team would even stay, then the drama over who the owner would be, now logos and colors. I just want to be like a fan/writer of any other NBA team and talk X’s and O’s, trades, draft, free agency, etc. Time to move forward.

Jason Calmes: Unchanged. They’ve been thinking about this for a while and will have a nice, fun, brand that is also worthy of respect. I think the importance of this rebrand is overstated in some circles, but I’ll be glad it’s over.

Chris Trew: Thrilled. The two most recognizable symbols in New Orleans are now directly associated with our two sports teams. What other city can say that besides Dallas?

Andrew Smith: Happy with it. Although Pelicans isn’t my favorite name, it has already started to grow on me. Now just don’t blow the jerseys and mascot…

Joe Gerrity: Content. I definitely don’t hate it, I don’t love it, but it’s sure a heck of a lot better than accidentally being called the Charlotte Hornets twice a week.

2. The best thing about the name Pelicans is _______.

MM: That it is unique. Angels and Blues were two rumored names but both of those belong to other sports franchises. Pelicans is unique in that aspect and it is unique to the state of Louisiana, so I am all about it.

JC: The cultural significance. It’s got local sports ties, it’s on many a state symbol, and they are pervasive. I’ve ridden along side many a Pelican taking trips across the Causeway.

CT: That not everyone else gets it. I’m being a total New Orleans hipster right now but I don’t care – I think it’s awesome that millions of people think Mardi Gras is about plastic beads and partying but really they just don’t get it. I think it’s awesome that millions of people don’t know that Pelicans are locally significant. It’s so local and anything this local makes us locals feel stronger about where we live and each other.

AS: It’s a part of the city and state. If you mention Pelicans to someone from Louisiana, the first thing that comes to mind is the state flag. Even still, if you mention Hornets to someone they sometimes think of Charlotte.

Joe: They exist in Louisiana. I truly saw about 100 on the golf course the day before the name change news broke on Yahoo! For those counting, I’ve seen a grand total one Hornet in Louisiana over the past eight years. It was in Ruston.

3. The worst thing about the name Pelicans is_______.

MM: That Chris Paul doesn’t like it. I was really hoping he would come back, but how could he leave a team with a name as cool as the “Clippers”?

JC: The idea that every other brand is flawless. I don’t mind the Hornets brand in itself, and it, like Pelicans, has flaws. Is it a step backwards in the long run? No. Are there better names? Sure, but if it’s Pelicans, we’ll all end up loving it.

CT: That it’s taken this long to rebrand. Bring it on Lord Benson. Let’s do it now. I’m ready to camp out all night to my hands on all that new merch.

AS: It seems like no one outside of Louisiana knows what it represents. During the Grizzlies game I was talking to a photographer from Kentucky that was getting pics of Anthony and Darius. She asked me “Why the pelicans? It’s such a random name.” I then had to explain the state flag & Louisiana being the “Pelican State”.

Joe: Pel-i-cans. Clap-Clap-Clap. Three syllable names are the pits, and the Pelicans will be one of two teams in the league that’s going to use one as their primary name. Sure the Knickerbockers, Trail Blazers, 76ers, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and Mavericks are the same length or longer, but they can all be shortened. Only the Warriors are currently in the stuck-with-three-syllables-boat.

4. What is your favorite Pelican video, article, or photoshop?

MM:  Hornets to Pelicans? Where have I heard that before?

Jason’s favorite

JC:I’m partial to this one. It’s like there’s some sort of shakedown about to take place. Sorry, fellas, but I just don’t have your money.

CT: Deadspin. It’s got a cuss word in the title, though kiddos. Check out the number of people who facebook “like” the article – 93,000+. That’s a good number to remember when people say “everyone hates Pelicans. we are the laughingstock of sports.”

AS: My favorite Pelicans photoshop is a fan made design by Guru Design.

Joe:  This piece is from months before the news broke, and it will be relevant for months to come.


Dru’s favorite

5. Disregarding New Orleans, what is the worst franchise name currently in the NBA?

MM: The Lakers. At least there are Jazz players in Utah. Why would you move from Minnesota to LA and never rebrand?

JC: Nets. It’s the NBA equivalent of the NFL Really-Long-Upright-s. The nets are associated with the game, but only as a means to make scores more detectable by officials. They should have changed to the Brooklyn Courts. They’d be set up for their own Jail Blazers era, and the court is at least a necessary part of the game.

CT: This question would be a lot more fun if there was a W in NBA but I’ll say Knicks. The shortened version is better than the long version, yeah, but check it:

“Did you stub your toe?”

“Yeah, but it’s really just a knick”

See? It also implies “not a lot”.

AS: Clippers– They represented the boating and sailing that can be done off the coast of San Diego, but now that they’re in Los Angeles they are forced to sail in the non existent lakes that the Lakers represent.

Joe: Jazz, and it’s not at all because the name itself isn’t solid. As we say in real estate– location, location, location.


  1. Will

    December 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I agree with Joe’s statement about syllables; we can’t use the cliche chants like “Here we go Hor-nets, here we go.” Maybe that’s a good thing, though and our new chants will be as unique as our mascot.

    After watching Youtube videos of pelicans last night, I’m even more on board. People here love the unique and docile Saints brand as well as the ferocious yet painfully generic Tigers; eventually the rest get on board and the product on the court will be the focus.

  2. Kempleton

    December 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Well well, I am glad It will not be Angels or Spirit!

    Here is what I said 7 months ago:


    May 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Pelicans! Yeah!

  3. Ray

    December 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Wow..Benson’s PR team is really amping up the sell on this stupid name.I still haven’t talked with anyone outside of this website that even remotely likes the name or even the colors!In all the rush to re-brand to a more local reference to the city, those in favor of it seem to forget that The NBA and the Hornets have largely out grown the local aspect and are a global commodity and are more dependent on the world wide merchandise and TV rights than the concessions and ticket sales of the actual games. The Hornets are already a well like and respected established brand known through out the world.In today’s global world, teams should not be allowed to re-brand just to satisfy the so called local market.That might have been sustainable 50 or 60 years ago when the markets were truly local.

    Pelican are not however,and outside of a small group of people who have lived in this area all their lives, nobody associates the Pelicans to the city or to the area even.I’ve lived here since the beginning of 2005 and have immersed myself in as much of the culture of the city as I possibly can. Hell Jazz Fest even brought me down here and never once in all that time have I heard anyone ever talk about how much pelicans mean to the city or to its residents.Nothing, and I do mean nothing,about this city identifies itself with pelicans.

    This re-brand upsets me greatly as I have been a huge fan of the Hornets since they came into the league and have followed them ever since. They also have a personal meaning for me as they were my late wife’s favorite team and the memories I have of watching her root for them are indeed as they say..priceless.One of my regrets was that I never got to take her to an actual game when they were in Charlotte and she died before I moved here.

    In short I am more than just a casual fan,I’ve been a full season ticket holder for the last 3 years and have been to almost every game since then. I spend money on concessions,parking and merchandise and support the business’s that sponsor the team.For me that team is and will always be the Hornets..not the pelicans and yes the name is that important to me.I will say it again,if this goes thru I will turn in my tickets,stop supporting any business that has anything to do with them and will not spend another dime on this club or the NBA again.

    • Jason Calmes

      December 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Just in case it is not clear: This website is in now way affiliated with Tom Benson or the Hornets. If anything, this website was instrumental in causing all this furor.

      Also, just one of many examples of people who like the name who are not here or from here:


      I’m not saying they aren’t working at PR machine or that everyone likes the name. It’s clear that there is support for the name. The relative amounts of support that will manifest in time IF this name sticks remains to be seen.

      Also, merch sales, for the most part, go to all teams equally. It’s not like Benson has to sell Pelicans stuff to compete with the Lakers merch sales. Kobe jersey sales benefit the Bobcats as much as the Lakers in terms of the amount of money that goes to each team from the sale. This is on reason why the NBA has to approve the changes.

      Just giving you some data.

      • Ray

        December 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        Never meant to imply that Tom Benson had anything to do with this site or even this article. I would beg to differ with you..what is clear to me at this point is that there is more support against this name than there is for it..significantly so.

    • Jason Calmes

      December 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      I’d like to add, since you shared, that my first date with the lady who has become my wife was to a Hornets game. I know that’s not the king of memory that you have, but I understand having something invested in those events.

      I just don’t want you mistaking me spouting off facts for me ignoring the other side of things.

      Here’s a piece I wrote on the subject of these memories in the context of potentially losing the team as opposed to the brand.

      You may enjoy it, you may not.


      • Ray

        December 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm

        Wow..outstanding piece. Damn near brought me to tears. You should re-run that as it is every bit as applicable now for the re-branding as it was to almost losing the team then.You’ve expressed in this what I have been trying to get across and haven’t been able to find the words..to quote you

        “At this point, everyone is saying, “Yeah, but this is Hornets . . . is that really the same thing?”

        No. It’s not. Not today.

        But it could be one day. It will be if we make it that way.”

        That day is today for me and that’s why the Hornets are important to me.

        Thank you for sharing that with me.

      • Jason Calmes

        December 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm


        No matter how we fall, not just me and you, fall on this issue or any other, we all have more in common than not.

        So, without digging too deeply here, is it safe to say it’s not the colors that are important in that IF the Hornets had different colors from day 1, then you’d like those colors, etc. Same goes for `Hornets’, logos, etc.

        Rather, it’s about losing the `emotional equity’ in the team?

        Is that at least in the right direction?

      • Ray

        December 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm

        I would agree with that.

      • Ray

        December 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm

        Meant to say that I agree with the losing the emotional equity part. I’d still be pretty upset if they changed the name on day one when Benson bought the team..it should have been done when the team moved here from Charlotte back in 2002 if it was going to be done.

    • Nithenz

      December 11, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      I totally agree with all, but the laststatement. Im an international fan and have been a Hornet fan since 92, i wont stop supporting the franchise, but to have the Hornets name taken away from the team i love really sucks.

  4. ktrufant

    December 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    The thing about pelicans is that (and a simple wikipedia search will tell you) as a symbol they go back a long, long time and are known (and symbolic) around the globe. People know pelicans.

    Plus, and I haven’t yet seen it mentioned here, the pelican is an old and strong symbol in Christianity. Culturally, NOLA is a Catholic city (Mardi Gras. the counties are called parishes, etc.) however Protestant churches have used the pelican as a symbol too.

    So the pelican name references the old (and fairly long standing) baseball team, the state flag, (I think) the seals of LSU and Tulane, the local wildlife, Catholic cultural roots, and even the Saints name. The more I think about it, the more like the name. And the colors are those of the cities flag too (and look good IMO) so yay and yay.

    And honestly, Benson is a local. The team has New Orleans (and will have New Orleans or Louisiana or some other local name) in the name. It should stand to represent the area to people who aren’t native or don’t live there. It should stand to educate people about the life, the culture, the values and the people of the area, in whatever (small) ways and whatever (small) parts it can. (the Saints colors represent the, um, black gold that’s big business out in the Gulf).

    And more personally, I too remember seeing pelicans while riding the Causeway. It takes damn near a lifetime of work to understand a city, especially one like New Orleans (and many times, many locals even don’t really understand the place they’re from).

    I’m happy about the re-brand I and hope Charlotte is able to (re-?) re-brand as the Hornets.

    • Ray

      December 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      Exactly what pelican symbols are ‘known” around the world and have any significant meaning to anyone? I doubt highly that anyone outside of Louisiana even knows or cares that we have a pelican on the state flag or that it is the state bird.As for it’s supposed ties to Christianity and the catholic church that’s even more reason for me to hate it. As for the wildlife,hornets are also part of the ecosystem down here. Having New Orleans in the name already represents the city and area and adding pelicans isn’t going to add anything to that. It certainly won’t educate or inform them about the city or it’s culture. You have to come here for that.
      One of the great things about this city is that you don’t have to be born here to belong or fit in. This city is a gumbo of cultures and has a way of making them it’s own. The city has done that with the Hornets and they are as much as part of this city now as anything else that’s associated with the area.Charlotte has the bobcats..the Hornets belong here.

  5. Jordan J.

    December 10, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    favorite video of a pelican-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUtDKuSXcEM

  6. Uptown Sammy

    December 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Here we go pellys here we go!

  7. Mickey Chatman

    December 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    First off…..I love that design of the pelican over the ball. hope that is the next design…..will make a beautiful tatt on my ribs.

    Second, there is no login button when I try to access the site from my iphone….I can do everything but log in so I cant post from my phone. It’s very rare that I’m on my computer.

    • Jason Calmes

      December 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      Have you tried to view the site in landscape (turn the phone sideways)?

      I do NOT see it in portrait mode but I do see it in landscape mode.

      It’s on our list to get it in both, but if it’s not available in landscape either, we need to ramp up the priority.

      • Mickey Chatman

        December 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm

        Just double checked and turned the phone sideways and still the same result. It shows the espn search bar and the true hoop network dropdown….nothing else.

      • Jason Calmes

        December 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm


        Phone OS?

        Also, did you try to click the black “Menu” menu to see if was on there? Or does it just show the writer filters?

      • Mickey Chatman

        December 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

        Iphone 5 with IOS6.

        Yeah just the writers.
        Thanks in advance Jason

      • Jason Calmes

        December 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm


        I appreciate you letting us know all this so we can help.

        For reference, you can bookmark this http://www.hornets247.com/wp-login.php to get you by in the meantime.

  8. MaskedTalent

    December 10, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    TERRIBLE NAME. what a tremendous downgrade. PELICANS? really? over the Hornets? sigh* I understand seeing the glass half full but SHEESH

  9. Ben

    December 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    If there’s one thing I’m gonna miss about the Hornets, it’s gonna be this quote they play at the end of games when it’s close.
    So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, “LET’S GO HORNETS” (Da, Da, Dadada) “LET’S GO HORNETS!”
    Can’t wait till we can hear all the Pelican replacements for “Bee-fence,” “Let’s go Bees/Hornets,” the one above, etc.

  10. JayDogon

    December 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Jason’s Pelican picture is classic LOL! DEM PELICANS!

  11. Massa Hudd

    December 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    I’m sure this is a dead horse I’m beating but how is Krewe, Brass, Rhythm, or Revelers not better than the Pelicans? I completely understand the reasoning of the Pelicans moniker but from a city with so much culture, there seems to be a poetic injustice of a professional team being called the New Orleans Pelicans… Not to mention the money being left on the table by isolating jersey sales to regional buyers. Basketball jerseys have an essence of “cool”, and the lack thereof will translate to far less sales nationally… Just a thought as I’ll always support the team no matter which way this goes.

  12. mojart

    December 11, 2012 at 3:01 am

    i just read in sheridan hoops that a 3 team trade is in the making between the bulls, lakers and hornets. this is the offer on the table

    Bulls: Pau Gasol
    Lakers: Ryan Anderson
    Hornets: Rights to Mirotic, Taj Gibson and a 1st rd pick

    Hope its not true…pls dell….

    • James Grayson

      December 11, 2012 at 5:17 am

      It’s not “In the works,” it was a suggestion by a writer. We advise you to be careful when reading things on the internet because what you might think is facts and “in the work” type deals is just made up be a writer.

      If we hear of anything we will be sure to let our loyal readers know!

  13. NOEngineer

    December 11, 2012 at 7:05 am

    The new name is not enough of an improvement to justify the waste of all of the obsolete Hornets merchandise I have accumulated. I can afford new stuff, but many can’t…..

    The proposed red and blue primary color scheme is essentially used by half of the sports teams in every league. Boring and derivative. Some may not like teal or Mardi Gras unis but they are unique and distinctive. If you see s red and blue uni, even with some gold, you have to check the logo to see whether it is the Patriots, the Rangers, or some WNBA team.

  14. Lucas Ottoni

    December 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Pelicans is a terrible name. So terrible…

  15. Will

    December 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I just read on an SI.com article “NBA trademarks five potential names for Hornets.” The five supposed potential names are Pelicans (of course), Bull Sharks, Swamp Dogs, Rougarou and Mosquitoes. I don’t know the reliability of they’re source, KL Chouinard, but I think everybody should be glad that, among these, Pelicans is the supposed frontrunner.

  16. Apple

    January 25, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Hey, Joe…
    Peli-cans, Clap-Clap! Peli-cans, Clap-Clap!
    Where’s the problem?

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