New Orleans Hornets Rebrand as Pelicans, Unveil New Logos

Written By:  •  Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, your New Orleans Pelicans!

The New Orleans Hornets will be changing their name to the New Orleans Pelicans effective the beginning of the 2013-14 NBA season.  Ending months of speculation and all sorts of leaks the club sorta finally made it all official via a leaked video making the rounds on Twitter.

The new logo is what we posted here on SportsLogos.Net last night, with the team name and extra elements added as described in our article.  It features a pelican facing the viewer with wings spread and a basketball under its beak, the city name prominently arched (and much larger than the team nickname, showing a lot of pride in the city with this one!) above the bird with a red fleur-de-lis at the very top.  “Pelicans” on a red semi-circle in white rounds out the logo at the bottom.   The new logo package was designed by RARE Design, previously responsible for rebrands such as the Houston Texans and Portland Trail-Blazers “ripcity” identity.

As for the uniforms, “Details regarding the uniform will be relayed in the coming months” so says the official press release.  Sorry folks.

New Orleans Pelicans primary and alternate logos for 2013-14 including the “Bird-de-lis” in the top right

A state symbol of Louisiana since the 19th Century, the switch finally allows the City of New Orleans to put their mark on the franchise they inherited from Charlotte a decade ago.

“It was important to me, to our staff, to get something that represented Louisiana”, said Hornets/Pelicans owner Tom Benson via the video.  “We worked on this for a long period of time, this didn’t happen overnight”.

The new colour scheme was explained as such, red because it inspires passion, blue for loyalty, and the gold is the many championships the club hopes to bring to New Orleans in the coming seasons.

A graphic explains the inspiration and reason for the primary  designs, click for larger image

Benson also added why the pelican is a perfect representative for the team:

“It’s a symbol of the state and a symbol of our resolve too, to come back.  I mean, we’ve done it you know?  That’s what’s great”

The new uniforms are also expected to be unveiled today, a press conference is expected to take place at around 4pm ET or 3pm New Orleans time.

The alternate and secondary logos are explained

The name “Pelicans” isn’t new to the city, the first pro franchise in town, a baseball team, was known as the Pelicans and existed for nearly seven decades from the late 19th Century through the mid 20th Century, Shoeless Joe Jackson even suited up for the New Orleans Pelicans in the 1910’s.

With the arrival of the Pelicans comes the departure of the Hornets, their classic logo, and colour scheme which changed the way sports teams designed during the ’90s.

The Charlotte Hornets, as they were originally known, introduced the colour teal to sports, it spread fast to hockey with the San Jose Sharks, baseball with the Florida Marlins, and to other basketball teams even changing the classic red, white, and blue of the Detroit Pistons to teal, black, and red.  The teal became the identifying factor in this franchise surviving a move to New Orleans and a temporary shift to Oklahoma City, surviving several new owners and uniform modernizing.

Farewell to the Hornets (but for how long?)… a look back at their primary logos over the years

In all, it lasted 25 years before NOLA wanted to put their own stamp on the franchise (and you can’t really blame them), freeing up the name for a potential return to Charlotte where the Bobcats are reportedly already polling their season ticket holders about a switch back to the Hornets identity.  So there’s that to look forward to as well.

We have added the new logos to our site, you can check ’em out and give them a rating here.

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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

  • Niko

    Really cool logo

  • Austin Harbeson

    I love the color scheme.

  • Aj

    Red? Where’s red? All I see is pink or fuchsia.

    • kodrinsky

      You’d better calibrate your creen, dude: it’s red. PMS 199, if I’m not mistaken.

  • mnj

    dig the ‘New Orleans’ wordmark

  • Marc

    Great logo, hopefully the uniforms will be just as nice!

  • Big Stunna

    Crescent City Basketball logo


  • Scheherazade

    Very solid logo.

  • Kai

    why different A’s on “ORLEANS” and “NOLA”?

    • 1434

      Good point! Why bother to make them different? The “A” in Orleans should simply match the “A” in NOLA.

      • kodrinsky

        They call it “symmetry”.

      • Ryan

        i think it’s a design choice. the A in the primary logo next to the L in the secondary would leave a huge, oddly shaped chunk of solid blue just off center. it probably looked odd/wrong/distracting compared to their other logos.

        • 1434

          I agree, it’s a good choice to have that “wide” A in the secondary logo. I still think it is very weird to bother to draw a second A that is completely different for use in the primary logo, when that wide A would work just fine in both places.

  • John

    Looks pretty good. There is a lot of red, white and blue in the NBA. I hope the blue is a royal shade and that the red makes only a minimal appearance on the jerseys.

    When I see the Pelican, though, I see a tri-corner hat.

  • J.B.

    Nice logos. I’d also like to see one with a profile of the Pelican, too.

  • No wonder why they didn’t respond to my emails about designing a logo, they’ve already made one, and a good looking one too..

  • TorontoTom

    Colors remind me of the Edmonton Oilers


    I like the name and logs.I’d be happy with it if i was a fan. Yesterday I said on twitter…anything but red and/or blue for the colors. Well its both. Too many teams using red and/or blue. I like the gold, but was hoping someone might finally do something different instead of going with safe color scheme. The reasons listed for the meaning behind the color are so generic as well.

  • Sean Carter

    I’am glad the hornets have new name and reflect the city of new orleans and logo isn’t bad looking for team in new orleans

  • i guess the leak i found yesterday was pretty accurate

  • Will the Bobcats go back to being the Hornets?

    • Michael Q.

      It’s possible, but they haven’t made it official yet.

    • Ken

      I read on another site that Charlotte Bobcats owners/management will have to send a witten request to league officials for a name change back to Hornets. Then it will have to go up for a vote. But seeing that its Jordan’s team, I don’t think there will be any issues with the name swap.

  • KDub

    Very nice all the way around.

  • Rob S.

    Not too bad,but hardly an upgrade from the Hornet name and logo.which is far superior.Not sure why a name HAS to relate ro the city or state per say.The change was not necessary.

  • kurt

    sorry to be the first to tell you, aj. you’re colorblind.

  • PB Paulie

    It’s ok, I don’t like the primary Pelican. There are far superior fan designs out there. The secondary is cool and I do like the wordmark. The color scheme is good…but I’ll reserve judgment until the unis are unveiled.

  • Del

    I think everything turned out pretty good. I’m hoping they can pull off an original look jersey because losing the great teal Hornets’ one definitely STINGS—– “see what I did there?”

  • Amazingly average. I spotted this online and thought WOW, finally after a long drought, the NBA did an identity right.

    Then I realized this was a fan contest and saw the actual logo this afternoon and was mortified? Wow. That’s it? Not a fan.

  • Aaron

    Really like this logo setup. Could’ve used some Mardi gras colours to pay homage to the New Orleans Jazz, but this will do just fine. The bird de leis is a very nice touch.

  • swordsof1000men

    Very nicely done. That is all.

  • Georges

    Nicely done! The Hornets logo/uniforms were too colourful, so this is a major upgrade. I suppose Charlotte can have the Hornets back if they want it.

  • Pretty good look. Would sound much better as “Louisiana Pelicans” in my opinion, but at least no more NO Hornets. Does this mean Charlotte can switch back to the Hornets again?

  • ingmar66

    Expected nothing, but like it a lot, even if the Pelican from the front still looks like a secondary logo (and more than a bit like the Atlanta Hawks). A lot of secondary logos, by the way, as if they could not pick just one. But it’s all very clean and still quite creative. And the pelican being the state bird of Louisiana, all in all a nice new identity for the team. But, as stated above, do change the secondary A to the primary A! Keep the logos crisp and consistent right from the start! And Charlotte, please re-adopt the Hornets name, uniforms and logos!

  • Brad

    One thing I liked about the Hornet’s uniforms was the colors. It was very festive and very New Orleans. Not only is New Orleans festive due to Mardi Gras (the colors, costumes, etc), but the city itself is colorful. Houses all over the city are colorful like you’d see in the Bahamas.

    I think the N.O. Hornets captured that festive element with their uniforms and colors.

    Having said that, this new logo looks great. The colors don’t scream “New Orleans” to me, but I do like how this color combination is unique. I also actually like the Pelican’s name. If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, there are Pelicans everywhere there are bodies of water. Very fitting.

    I don’t believe a mascot has to be intimidating. I do think they should represent the city in some way. And this name and logo do it well. From the font, to the gold outline that curls at the top, to the fleur de lis, to the Crescent City logo – it all just represents well.

    • ingmar66

      Totally agree with you, and I just checked out the first merchandising items on the team site: the logo looks great on shirts and hats. It works really well.

  • Andrew

    These logs are actually very nice. Well done Pelicans!

  • Dante

    Great logos, I must say. I’m happy with the change. I feel like the “A”s are different because the pointed one looks better in the main, but not as much in the secondary logo.

  • Aaron

    I wonder if the Atlanta Hawks will consider revamping their logo so it doesn’t get mistaken for this logo or vice versa. I’d say perhaps a modernized version of the Nique Wilkens-era logo.

  • Doug
  • Trent

    Dang, you know they did good when almost every comment on this threat is positive! Very clean and a great, classy color scheme. Can’t wait to see what they incorporate into the uniforms.

  • Jeff

    When I first heard the name “Pelicans” I had my doubts. But these logos and colours look pretty good.

  • Ben Anijar Andersen

    Not as bad as I thought it would turn out. Now hopefully the bobcats can become the hornets.

  • Ben Anijar Andersen

    Not as bad as I thought it would turn out. Now hopefully the bobcats can become the hornets.

  • John Burlie

    Wow, judging by the name, I was skeptical, but this turned out amazing. Very solid looking logo, all of them. I’m glad to see an all around successful rebranding!! I may actually like NO now 😛

  • musyarofah


  • Logo is very good, professional, but unfortunately the very powerful. Too many elements. More suited to the All-Stars.

  • Aaron

    A splash of Creole blue would’ve been a nice touch with navy, red and gold. Definitely glad they’re using the Saints inspired Old Gold.

  • Ben

    I actually like the logos and colors. I just can’t wrap my head around the name “Pelicans”. And for Charlotte’s sake, I hope they get the Hornets name back cause whatever they have now does not look like a bobcat.

  • Doug

    How about the “Crescent City Pelicans”? It works for Golden State.

    This way you can combine two New Orleans nicknames into one identity.

    I like the Pelican name but “New Orleans Pelicans” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

    • Aaron

      Great idea. Except most fans would actually want their city represented in the team’s nickname.

  • 54321

    Looks like an Indianapolis 500 logo. That’s bad. While I really like the name & even the 2 fonts, the bird’s focal point, its head, looks almost like a scull lol.
    Should’ve tried a softer side profile to match the tone of the Pelican nickname yes? No matter how hard they try, no one will ever be intimidated by a pelican bird.

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  • tp

    the new logo and the name is good, but I really don’t understand why they didn’t maintain today’s colour scheme.. would be awesome with teal-purple-yellow scheme

    • Aaron

      They probably wanted to save the teal for the Charlotte Hornets when they return. But definitely could’ve keep their current scheme with the Pelicans.

  • Nunya Bidness

    I like it, but it sort of looks like something the MLB would use for the All Star Game or postseason.

  • Ryan

    This actually somewhat makes up for the fact that they’re gonna be called the Pelicans. *facepalm*

  • porkchop75

    They could’ve had the option to change their name to something awesome, like the Gators, but they choose a bird? Seriously? First, you’re a small hornet, and now you choose a pelican? LOOK OUT! Here come the new Delta State Fighting Okra!