What Do International Hornets Fans Do With New Orleans Pelicans Rebrand?

Published: February 12, 2013

It’s 37 degrees out and I’ve had a few beers. It’s festival season in Australia and there’s music all around. I head to buy some more and I see someone wearing a Hornets cap.

“Oh hey man, I see you’re a Hornets fan, cool!”

“Nah man, I’m actually a Lakers fan.”

“… Uhh okay?”

“Yeah mate, just love the hat, looks cool.”

Me [Holding back anger]: “Right, you guys aren’t winning a championship.”

Conversation pretty much stops, I get my drinks and I lose my respect for NBA fans yet again.

An odd phenomenon has occurred over the past couple of years. This phenomenon is the flat-top hat. The brands from the 90’s are ever prevalent and the Hornets just happen to be one of those. This is what brands do when they have appeal. The colour scheme for the Hornets is pretty awesome which is why it’s going to suck to see it go away.

For international fans like myself it’s a lot tougher to describe the feeling of what we’re going through. We always knew that a rebrand was going to occur, we knew it should occur. That didn’t mean we were okay with it.

An Organisation or a Logo?

The real issue is what are fans really fans of? I mean you can’t say you’re a fan of a picture or a colour that just sounds weird. But not having these to represent an organisation is odd and hollow. Without the Lakers would fans really be fans of the Los Angeles ball-club?

At the end of the day we are fans of success. At the root of my fandom I am a fan of it as well, but in a different way. I have stuck to the Hornets because I really despise glory supporters, bandwagon fans, fans of players (not teams) and I root for an underdog.

This really won’t change with a branding alteration. Being a fan of the New Orleans organisation has become easier over the past couple of years. You can see the foundations for something special building. Patience is a virtue hard to come by and with dwindling crowd figures you can see the full effects in action.

The distinction between organisation and logo is synonomis. If you were a fan of the organisation under the Hornets emblem then you should be one under the Pelican. This is because the same business you were a fan of before is trying to reflect the region in which they play and I respect that.

Do We Move to Charlotte?

One of the things that has been raised to me is whether I would consider moving my fandom back to Charlotte.

The answer is a weak yes.

I guess I love the Hornets so much that I’d have to consider having two teams. But I would never follow them in the same way. The real reason I followed the Hornets was because they were unique, a fun icon in the vast spectrum of NBA logo’s. I grew to love them because they are the underdog.

They aren’t the Lakers, they’re not the Knicks.

Because of that I fell in love with the city of New Orleans, their resilience. This was further exemplified after Hurricane Katrina when the team returned and had the playoff run. It was magical and incandescent. There was no stopping us.

That’s why this Pelican, its resilience, its goofiness is me and will be us.

Charlotte hasn’t had any such characteristics. The last time they faced any resiliency was when the American Civil War was in full swing.

Taking Things Less Seriously

At the end of the day we are fans. While the Hornets logo is spectacularly awesome and cool we can still embrace the ambivalent Pelican logo. It is pretty quirky and nobody really likes it which makes me somewhat happy for my need to like things others don’t.

If you embrace this team now if and when they make a playoff run it’ll be just as exciting, just as fun and just as rewarding to be a part of. Being a fan of the NBA is different to many sports because it has that idiosyncratic sense about it. It’s quite a wacky league that doesn’t hold itself within the confines of the American sporting arena.

This is very much the same line you should take when embracing a new brand and label. We will never forget the Hornets but the Pelicans and the city of New Orleans can have this international fan for the rest of his basketball loving days.

Go Pels, Go!

Tell us what you think Hornets fans, will you be following them regardless of the nickname change? You can contact James on twitter on @jsgrayson


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