Source Claims Hornets to Become Pelicans in 2013-14

Written By:  •  Wednesday, December 5, 2012

According to “numerous sources” the New Orleans Hornets will be re-branded and re-named as the New Orleans Pelicans as early as next season.

The rights to the name “Pelicans” is said to belong to new Hornets’ owner Tom Benson, the pelican is also the state bird of Louisiana, there’s four pelicans on the state flag, and was also the name of the local minor league baseball team for over 3 decades in the mid 20th Century.

State flag of Louisiana shows a family of pelicans, yes those are indeed drops of blood on its chest

In a post on Yahoo! Sports, blogger Marc Spears says the team considered the names New Orleans Krewe, costumed Mardi Gras paraders, and the New Orleans Brass, after the musical instruments frequently used in jazz.

While early fan feedback appears to be overwhelmingly negative, I guess I’m in the minority – it’s a great name, especially when compared to the other supposed finalists.  It’s a name relevant to the locale (which is a surprising rarity lately in the NBA, especially for a relocated team), it’s a name that sounds like it’s been around for years in pro sports yet has never been used at a major league level, and it’s a name that should be able to allow for a fantastic logo and uniform set when the time comes (hey, don’t discount that reason, look what they came up with for “Thunder”… designing a logo to represent sound ain’t easy, most of the “Sonics” logos were terrible too).

I also don’t buy claims of it’s “softness”, have you ever had a pelican land next to your head on a pier?  I busted it pretty damn fast, that’s for sure.  Plus they also eat pigeons, alive and whole in one gulp.  Yeah, I know right? Trumpets can’t do that.

The minor league New Orleans Pelicans baseball team logo

We’ll await word on official confirmation from the team, but until then we can speculate on the logo and colour scheme.  From that same Yahoo! Sports report Benson’s wife had told Fox Sports recently she’d prefer the team switch to a navy, red, and gold look – picture something like the Cleveland Cavaliers if you’re having a hard time imagining those colours together on a basketball team.

News of this has also re-fuelled the effort to get the Hornets name back in Charlotte, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan had said in the past he’d be open to re-naming the team but not while the New Orleans Hornets were around.

A Facebook fan group called for the team to be re-named the Pelicans back in April of this year, they have been proposing this logo designed by Guru Design:

I kinda dig it, but now that it’s out in the public it will never be adopted by the club.

What are your thoughts? No proposals to swap names with the Utah Jazz please.

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Chris Creamer

Chris Creamer is the founder of SportsLogos.Net and has been maintaining it since June 1997. You can follow him on Twitter at @sportslogosnet or contact him via email at

  • Delayed Penalty

    They should totally just swap names with the Uta…

    • Bobby

      sounds like a team from that will Ferrell movie. or a fake team that plays the globe trotters. awful.

  • Intimidating.

  • Skyler W.

    Well…It’s an interesting concept.

    It’s also silly as hell.

    Therefor, if they do change their name, I want them to win. Even as a Celtics fan, I would want them to go all the way.

  • Stephen Peters

    Brass, which was an option apparently, would have been much, much better. I get it’s the Pelican State and the bird is on the state flag, but we’re not talking about Louisiana, it’s New Orleans, and if Jazz can’t be given back to the team, then Brass is a much more viable option, IMO.

    • Storm

      Brass is an excellent name as well. Worked nicely for the ECHL team.

    • elmo10

      Brass is too close of a name to Jazz. Besides, it rhymes with Ass! – Think about it! It just wouldn’t work! – especially if the team isn’t any good!

  • Storm

    What a great name! NBA nicknames do not have to be intimidating. It is nice when a team doesn’t use marketers and focus groups to pick its name. Just go with something local and special.

    On another note, hopefully Charlotte will become the Hornets again.

  • Brian Dolinar

    One of the dumbest team renamings ever.

  • Brian, the Washington Wizards take offence to that.

    • Wow, I just felt it get colder in here B-P

    • Ivan

      pelicans sounds like a WNBA name to me

  • Craig Michaels


  • Aaron

    The Pelicans name itself, fairly unique, considering not many teams use it. The logo that’s posted on their, definitely use it. as nice as it looks in the navy, red and gold, I personally wouldn’t mind them replacing the red and navy with purple and creole blue.Keep the gold though. For a team based in NOLA, that would make the most sense. Although I personally thing, Krewe, Brass, Gators or even the Buccaneers would’ve been more appropriate. As for the Hornets name returning to Charlotte maybe, use their original turquoise, but use the Bobcats navy and grey. An MLB team could use the current Bobcats colours.

  • Matt Campbell

    Major 70 year history with the minor league baseball NO Pelicans (Google them, awesome logo). Ironically, the name Hornets came from Charlotte’s long history with their minor league ball team the Charlotte Hornets. Full circle and whatnot.

  • Ben

    Love it. It has local roots and most importantly… it’s not a singular noun!! (Heat, Thunder, Magic, etc). A guy on the roster is a Pelican — he plays for the Pelicans. A guy on the Thunder roster is what? It’s not 1994. No more singular nouns please.

    • kev

      actually a singular name would make more sense since the city name ends in s. Two consecutive words ending in S does not roll off the tongue. New Orleans Pelicans…. I prefer Brass personally

      • Ben

        good point about the (s)’s, but i still despise singular nouns. and brass is way too close to jazz — it would be taking a half measure

        • Ben

          …and brass ends in two (s)’s!

  • New Orleans Brass is better

  • Jason Lombardi

    if New Orleans becomes the Pelicans, than the bobcats will once again become the hornets…just a matter of time

    • Aaron

      And then maybe a potential MLB team will be called the Charlotte Bobcats. Or even a potential NBA or NHL team in Kansas City. Who knows!

  • New Orleans brass was a hockey team in the echl

  • Are there a lot of Pelicans down there? I cant wait to hear the logic behind this one…

    • Stephen Peters

      The logic is that Louisiana is also know as the Pelican State and the pelican is on the state flag.

    • Matt

      Were you being sarcastic, or are you just stupid?

  • Trent Steffes

    (Im sorry, Chris)
    How about we do this:
    Hornets goes to Charlotte
    Jazz Goes to New Orleans
    Bobcats goes to Utah
    Lakers goes to Minny
    and LA become whatever they want.

    Am I not right, though?

    • JJHoser

      No you are not right. Minnesota have the Twolves, the Utah Jazz are perfectly fine where they are and New Orleans needs to stay the Hornets and just stfu.

      • Doug

        But New Orleans isn’t staying the Hornets. You mad? You gonna cry?

  • Aaron

    Oh yeah, as for the purple, creole blue and gold for the Pelicans, maybe, would pay homage to the New Orleans Jazz with a Mardi Gras twist. The creole would act as the green.

  • This sucks

  • Why bother?


    I prefer The Brass and save the owner some money by keeping the Madi Gras uniforms and colors of Purple, Gold, and Green.

    The home uniforms could use the same design set but use the predominant color of White with Purple piping and Gold Number and lettering.

    The NBA should seriously consider this.

  • I guess I’m the only person who actually likes this?

    • Ben Foster

      No, I actually kinda like it.

  • Ty DuPass

    The New Orleans Beignets.

    • Aaron

      Neat idea! Maybe with this nickname they could join the Montgomery Biscuits. LOL

  • mnj

    I would have went with something like “New Orleans Havoc” for a team name, but at least the Pelicans are somewhat unique

  • Brandon B.

    The Hornets, Jazz, and Bobcats, all need to swap names. New Orleans Jazz, Charlotte Hornets, and Utah Bobcats.

  • Rob S.

    How about just keeping the New Orleans Hornets.The Pelicans is a cool name,but the change is completely unnecessary…this will probably set off a name swapping frenzy, like the frenzy we saw with the Conference realHignments in College Football..ridiculous!!…btw Utah will never give up the Jazz name

    • Aaron

      Just like Los Angeles will never give up the Lakers name plate or even Memphis giving up the Grizzlies anytime soon. The Lakers have been a success for many years and the Grizz are more or less starting to become one. Originally the Grizzlies were supposed to change their name after the first two years in Elvis’ hometown. I somehow remember they were thinking of Phantoms. What would’ve made the most sense would either be the Memphis Blues, Memphis Chicks (in reference to the old minor league baseball team) or Tennessee Twisters if they wanted to promote the whole state like the Roughriders do in Saskatchewan. If it were the Sacramento Kings moving there, keeping the Kings nameplate would probably make sense.

  • duma

    New Orleans Gators would have been much better.

  • Aaron

    Why don’t they run a name the team contest like most other teams do? Include Pelicans, but give the fans and possibly the team itself some more options.


    I’d put Jazz on the list, but I highly doubt Utah is giving that name up so fast.

  • Sean Carter

    i like proposed logo if, rumors are true about New Orleans Hornets change their name,then they should have made deal with Utah Jazz get that nickname back in pelican state

  • Matthew Garry

    I can’t stand the “Hornets, Jazz, Bobcats swapping names” argument. So long as we have Lakes in LA, and Grizzlies in the middle of Memphis, there will always be Jazz in Utah.They are here to stay. As for Charlotte picking back up their rightful nickname, I say bring back the buzz. Pelican’s isn’t a bad name. Look at Minor League Myrtle Beach. Let’s do it!

  • Matt

    I like “Louisiana Pelicans” better

    • Budaniel

      This. This works.

  • Give em fish

  • S Kay

    When I first read the headline indicating that there might be a name change to the Pelicans I was not in favour, however after reading the commentary from Chris Creamer, I changed my mind, it is a suitable name to give a team in New Orleans with lots of local context and if you think about the size of the bird and what they eat, that is even better. I also like the proposed logo above.

  • Jamie Phelps

    Uhhhh I have no words for how much of a bad idea this is.

  • Nathan

    hate the name but some how still love the logo

  • Anthony

    New name. New logo. Same team. = Same losing franchise

  • Pelicans??? Whats wrong with Hornets? At least change the name to the “Louisiana Hornets”.

  • Brian Simpkins

    I hope theres some sort of uniform nod to the old New Orleans Bucs in this case.

    • Aaron

      Then just call them the Buccaneers. Easy! Give a real nod to the ABA.

  • The Pelicans? That’s no good…

  • New Orleans top brass needs to show some brass balls and re-name them the New Orleans Brass.

  • New Orleans Brass… Louisiana Pelicans… Seattle Supersonics…

  • Nick

    I thoroughly dislike the red, blue and gold

    • Aaron

      If the team were called the Buccaneers, they could totally use these colours as tribute to the ABA team. If not these colours, maybe the Shreveport Pirates colours.

  • Paul

    Some thoughts

    -New Orleans Pelicans just doesn’t flow. Portland Pelicans, for example would work verbally, even if there are no Pelicans in Oregon…it just sounds good..

    -Brass would have been fair in absence of Jazz. But, what would the management be called? The Brass brass?

    – Krewe sounds too ghetto…would have alienated some of the people filling the seats. Corporate minded NBA wouldn’t go down that path anyway….sounds like team name in a pick-up league.

    -They really need to buy the Jazz name back from Utah….which needs to find a better name anyway. That would leave Charlote to revive the Hornets name, which will happen if NO ditches it. Jordan has even stated as much.

  • 1vox
  • jon hall

    Yeah, I didn’t like the new name at first, but at this point it looks like i’m going to have to learn to love it. Like somebody already posted, a nickname doesn’t have to be fierce or intimidating to be good. I mean, Lakers? Nets? Those names aren’t fierce at all and people still like them. And pelicans CAN be somewhat frightening… Pelicans means something to the city of New Orleans and Louisiana, and i’m sure they’re going to come up with a fantastic logo, so people are just going to have to deal with it. Hopefully, one day when Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon are healthy, the New Orleans Pelicans will be known as one of the premier teams in the league.

  • Aaron

    If not creole blue, gold and purple, at least purple, green and gold like the New Orleans Jazz. Googled New Orleans Pelicans and saw what the above logo would look like with those colours.

  • Steg

    I always thought NBA names should all be plural. For istance, D-Rose is a Bull, Kobe is a Laker, KG is a Celtic, CP3 is a Clipper and so on…. that’s the reason i’m not really digging those names like thunder, heat or magic… you can’t say LeBron is a Heat, that doesn’t make sense at all.
    So, from this perspective, i actually like Pelicans. It might not be the most intimidating name ever, but it’s nonetheless way better to know that Anthony Davis will be a Pelican rather than being a Krewe or a Brass.
    Plus, the name Brass makes me think about some horrible St.Louis Blues third jersey memories that i would love to have erased!

  • Taylor

    the Hornets, while not denying it, are “not confirming” the name change. they are at least alluding that they haven’t yet decided.

  • F19

    I like the name change.. good for them. Hopefully Charlotte gets the Hornets name back.

    But we wouldn’t have the situation now if team owners would have some decent and if they want to move, leave the name and colors in the city your leaving. The Cleveland Browns should be the model for all team relocations. The only thing that makes your team moving away is to see the same name all the time, representing some other city.

    • Aaron

      Yeah, it’s too bad the Oilers didn’t do that when they left Houston or the Hornets when they left Charlotte for that matter. In fact, if the Jazz were called something else in Utah, Jazz would be right on top of names for New Orleans.

  • Pod

    Obviously many here did not read the last sentence of the article.

  • bigjorge1

    pelicans isn’t the worse name ever…how about new orleans blues or harmony or something else music related like trumpets….
    or something diffrerent but represents the city also like voodo, crawfish, spirits….
    still better than bobcats hahaha

  • James Fruth

    I actually really like the logo and type that the fans came up with, but what should happen is “Hornets” go back to Charlotte, “Jazz” back to New Orleans with a new look, and Utah does a complete overhaul. There has never been a odder combination than UTAH and JAZZ. (Except maybe LA and LAKERS, who could also use a branding overhaul) Pelicans is not awful, but is by no means great. But then again, NBA has bad branding overall. The only beacons of light being the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.

  • ingmar66

    Pelicans are very cool birds, but somehow the teamname New Orleans Pelicans looks and sounds not totally right. I like the link with the state flag and the former baseball team, but it just does not sound right. N.O.Pe… Myrtle Beach Pelicans on the other hand looks and sounds just right. How about New Orleans Crescents? New Orleans Steamers? New Orleans Blue Notes? Still think New Orleans Jazz was the single best nickname ever for a ball team from NOLA.

    • ingmar66

      And those drops of blood on the mother pelican is a biblical thing, by the way. The mother picking herself in order to feed the children with her blood. It is a very well known symbol for sacrifice, Teammates sacrifice themselves also in some sort of way for the better of the team, so should they choose Pelicans it has a nice symbolic theme to it. But it stil would not sound right. Like the proposed logo, by the way, but for a different town and for minor league baseball or hockey: Corpus Christi (TX) Pelicans would be so fitting…

  • Boogers

    ‘Bout time. Now the Hornets name can come back to Charlotte where it belongs. They’ll probably screw it all up and keep the Hornets colors and uniform design but just change it to a pelican. Meanwhile Charlotte will get the Hornets name but keep the Bobcats hideous colors.

    • Aaron

      Not likely. The Hornets would get their turquoise back. The Pelicans could keep the creole blue and gold, but just make purple their primary. There’s also the purple, green and gold possibility paying homage to the New Orleans Jazz.

  • Bill A

    I propose that Charlotte, New Orleans and Utah trade their names to Charlotte Hornets, New Orleans Jazz and Utah Bobcats (or whatever).

  • Doug

    I let it sink in and then decided I like it. Give the Hornets back to Charlotte!

    I like the names that connect with the area. Let’s get real – intimidating names don’t make an intimidating team. The Lions anyone?

    In a perfect NBA:

    The Lakers name would be in Minneapolis,
    The Jazz name would be in New Orleans,
    The Hornets in Charlotte, etc.

    However the NBA is far from perfect and the Lakers/Jazz names have been with the cities for decades. They’re not giving them up!

    • Aaron

      You have a point intimidating names don’t always equal intimidating teams and vice versa. If that were the case, teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Yankees, Canadiens would never have dominated any league with championships over the years.

  • Doug

    Pelicans are cool! And they know how to handle the press!

  • Dante

    Right now, all of the pelicans in the US are making note of who is hating on them…Better watch out, folks.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the name at all. It certainly would be unique, unlike Tigers, Lions, Bears (oh my,) Wildcats, and the list goes on. I like the logo that Facebook group has put forth, but I would change it to more jazzy colors like the present Hornets logo. And, speaking of Jazz, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a New Orleans team named that again. We’ll just have to accept that there is no big jazz scene in Utah (where “Hornets” would make more sense,) and maybe one day the team will change the mascot to something more appropriate.

  • elmo10

    Well all know that it would make sense for the Hornets and Jazz to exchange nickname withs Utah being known as the Beehive State and New Orleans being the jazz capital of the world, but it will never happen. As far as the Charlotte Bobcats go, they should change their name to another type of cat and that would be the Cougar. They can get rid of the Charlotte and replace it with Carolina. So, the renamed team would become the Carolina Cougars – just like the old ABA team from back in the day. It would be pretty cool if two teams named Carolina Cougars and Carolina Panthers played in the same city, but in different sports!

    • Aaron

      I think most residents of Charlotte would rather have the city name than the state name with this team regardless of what they’re called. You’ve already got two pro teams named Carolina (Hurricanes/Panthers). Make it kind of like the Colorado teams where two teams named Colorado (Rockies/Avalanche) and the other two named Denver (Nuggets/Broncos). Hopefully a potential MLB team in Charlotte will have the right idea and use the city name.

      • elmo10

        I’m cool with that as well. I would just rather see them nicknamed the Cougars instead of the Bobcats! – Charlotte Cougars would sound a lot better than Charlotte Bobcats!

  • brighton schmill

    I know the pelicans is a weird name but if the hornets like it thank i like because i am a big hornets fan. Also it will catch on eventually just like the thunder.

  • Nascarfan4

    Who came up with this dumb name??? This name is alot more worse than the Supersonics…..

  • Nascarfan4

    It sounds like that the Hornets just threw away the word “Intimidating”.. And turned it into “Beat Me Up”!! So fling idiotic.

  • Greg

    If they cant swap with Utah they should just go with the New Oreans “Soul”

  • Eddie c.

    “Krewe” would be cool instead. Imagine a mardi gras jester with a spinning basketball on his finger. Uniforms would need to be tamer, though. Yes, it would mean the continuation of the NBA’s use of collective plural names for teams–Magic, Heat, Thunder–but a maniacal jester seems more formidable than a pelican, right?

    • Aaron

      A mardi gras jester with spinning basketball for a New Orleans Krewe logo.What a cool idea. And the use of the same text as the proposed Pelicans logo and purple, green and gold. If you can somehow fit the creole blue in there. That would scream New Orleans.

  • ryan depew

    I agree with a previous post…if teams can trade players,etc. why cant they trade nick names?

    four way trade:

    Utah sends “Jazz” to New Orleans in return for Memphis’ “Grizzlies”
    New Orleans sends “Hornets” to Charlotte for “Jazz”
    Charlotte sends Memphis “Bobcats” for “Hornets” and
    Memphis can choose to either rename or go with Bobcats…id rename…

    make sense to me…

    if they were all on board to make the move the NBA should check into it…

    I do think that Charlotte will be the Hornets again!