The New Orleans Hornets, in possibly the most anti-climatic press conference ever, officially announced today what people have assumed for weeks. Beginning next season, New Orleans' NBA franchise will be known as the Pelicans.
The announcement comes after Yahoo! Sports broke the news in December and after a series of debates on the possible name change, as well as some creative logo mockups on the national and local level. Also, because this is the future and we can't wait for anything anymore, the news of the official announcement broke yesterday and, just under an hour before the press conference, this Pelicans promotional video was found leaked online (a video that, not surprisingly, echoed many of the positive points I made about Pelicans and in support of the name change).
The video, which was also shown at the press conference, stresses the connection that the name Pelicans has with New Orleans and Louisiana and how pelicans adorne the state flag and capitol building. Another message conveyed in the video — and echoed by team president Dennis Lauscha, owner Tom Benson and Mayor Mitch Landrieu during their press conference comments — was of the Hornets/Pelicans commitment to the recovery, restoration and preservation of the Gulf Coast. The Pelican represents "Somebody that takes care of its young" and "Reselience and coming back from near-extinction", Landrieu said. "We have our name."
This name change was a long time coming and Benson, who donned a Pelicans hat on stage, had put the rebranding machine to work even before he bought the Hornets. Yes, the local connection is clearly important but let's not forget that Benson is also a businessman and that this rebrand will mean millions in product sales. The team has not wasted any time in launching a new website "Introducing your New Orleans Pelicans" and an online store with Pelicans merchandise.
In the end - and as several players and coaches have mentioned - the team name really won't mean much if the team itself can't produce successfully on the court. But seeing as how the Hornets are last in their division right now and debating the merits of the current squad is kind of depressing (unless you look to the potentially bright future) let's just distract ourselves with some logo talk. Hit the jump for the very early twitter reactions to the Pelicans logos:
Someone pointed out a friend had gotten a Hornet's logo tattoo. There's got to be plenty out there. Discuss. #pelicans
— Pontchartrain Pete (@Pontchartrain) January 24, 2013
The mayor starts out hot, saying the jazz name does not belong in utah. #agreed
— Joe Gerrity (@GerrityJoe) January 24, 2013
GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO BIRD-DE-LIS GUMBO THAT AIN'T A PROPER PO'BOY GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO
— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) January 24, 2013
A quick tweet search is showing that most non-New Orleanians think "name is still weird but the logo is amazing". It will grow on them.
— Hornets247.com (@Hornets247) January 24, 2013
Ain't no way Anthony Davis gon be able to confidently walk up to these hoes and say "hi I play for the pelicans" ...
— VARNELL HILL (@pROBly_rite_tho) January 24, 2013
twitter.com/Hornets/status… look at this shit, really? Pelicans?
— @TWlTTERLESSDEREK (@DerkFisch) January 24, 2013
Wish Chris Paul was still in New Orleans when they were the Pelicans. No doubt I'd snag that jersey.
— Nicholas Libertini (@LiBertAndErnie) January 24, 2013
The Pelicans logo is waaay better than the Thunder.
— Random Black Guy™ (@AstroMcfly) January 24, 2013
This New Orleans pelicans thing is real? Did the hornets just become a WNBA team?
— Chris Cantu (@ChrisCantu23) January 24, 2013
I have no like or dislike of the new name for the Pelicans. It's just not creative.
— Chris Barnewall (@ChrisJandB) January 24, 2013
@wwltvsports That mean-looking Pelican might scare the King Cake Baby.
— Snake and Jakes NOLA (@snakeandjakes) January 24, 2013
Pelicans??? #ImNotRollin— Chris Paul (@CP3) January 24, 2013