New Orleans Hornets to become Pelicans, really?

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Finally, the ferocious pelican gets the chance to flex its mighty wings and flap its pointy, pouchy beak to intimidate opponents on the court.  Reports indicate that the New Orleans Hornets will be changing their name as early as the 2012-2013 season to the Pelicans.

No, this isn’t a joke, although I am certain Seth Myers and the Saturday Night Live crew are pleased to be served up new fodder for their punch lines on the Weekend Update.

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What would possess Tom Benson, who purchased the team on April 14, to select the Pelican as a new team name?  Perhaps the fact that Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints of the NFL, owns the rights to using ‘pelicans’ as a team nickname.New Orleans Pelicans

Historically, the New Orleans Pelicans were a minor league baseball team with roots all the way back to 1887.  The team played professionally most every year through the 1959 season when it was sold to Little Rock.  The New Orleans Pelicans were revived briefly during the 1977 minor league season, when Tony La Russa was shortstop for the Trplie-A team.  The Pelicans won a total of 10 minor league titles, including the 1910 title when they were led by a soon-to-be-famous slugger named Shoeless Joe Jackson.

The history is ‘nice’ but couldn’t New Orleans come up with a more powerful nickname?  Imagine the opportunity to set the course for branding of a major sport franchise.  There are thousands of options, yet Benson is reportedly going with the Pelicans?  Pelicans don’t strike fear in the hearts of anyone, except possibly some fish swimming too near the surface.  They aren’t graceful, they aren’t ferocious, they aren’t even cool or trendy or hip.  In fact they’re downright awkward with those huge beaks.

I can’t imagine too many free agents excited about becoming a pelican.  It’s hard to think of what a cool pelican logo might even look like.  Fans shouting, ‘Let’s go Pelicans!’ from the stands?  All of this is a bit difficult to believe.  Then again, I don’t have a zillion dollars to invest in professional sports franchises, so what do I know?

What are your thoughts?  Do you like the Pelican? What would you suggest for a New Orleans nickname?  Leave your comments below, maybe Benson will get the idea.

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