When Tom Benson became the new owner of the New Orleans Hornets in April, the 83-year-old owner of the NFL franchise the Saints, told reporters that he would like his team to have a new nick-name that is more relevant to the Crescent City, than the name the club is currently sporting. The squad got its name when it was residing in its city of origin; Charlotte and Benson’s thoughts echo sentiments from many of the team’s fans that the club deserves a name that has more to do the “Big Easy” than its current handle,the Hornets.
Tuesday, “Yahoo Sports” reported that Benson and his brain trust, have decided on a new nickname for the squad; as they are hoping to be called the New Orleans Pelicans, by the beginning of next season. The city has a long association with brown pelicans, as they are the official state bird of Louisiana beginning in 1996, while also appearing on the State Flag and State Seal.
The connection does go deeper than that, however; as the popular minor league baseball team; the New Orleans Pelicans, played from 1901-1956, then came back with an ill-fated one year attempt in 1977. That club had some incredible players over the years, heading for the majors including Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Benson’s first choice to change his franchise’s name to, was the Jazz, the first NBA team to play in New Orleans. They moved to Salt Lake City in 1979, but retained the nickname. The Hornets name and colors may be claimed quickly, the Charlotte Bobcats, as that was the original home of the Hornets. Last week Charlotte Team Owner Michael Jordan, expressed interest in bringing the name and colors back to the city.