Pelicans is just fine
What's wrong with the Pelicans? As NBA commissioner David Stern said, as long as the owner is fine with it, he's fine with it. It's the state bird. It's actually a strong species, even though many are mocking the nickname for its alleged weakness or clumsiness.
The thing about these team nicknames is that most negative reaction is based on unfamiliarity. Heard much Jazz lately in Utah? Seen many grizzly bears in Memphis? These nicknames traveled with these franchises from their original homes of New Orleans and Vancouver. And they're accepted now because of familiarity.
Yes, Pelicans sounds a bit jarring, but more for reasons of unfamiliarity than anything else. Once the name change happens — and it should — everyone will get used to it. And people might even learn more about a misunderstood bird.
Reclaim the Jazz
Should we crow about the New Orleans, uh, Pelicans?
Doesn't sound like a good nickname for a serious sports team, even if the pelican is the Louisiana state bird.
It would be funny just to hear stoic Spurs coach Gregg Popovich say, "We couldn't stop the Pelicans."
I'd keep the nickname "Hornets" if I were New Orleans, but I'm not in the business of marketing new shirts, hats, etc.
Maybe New Orleans needs to make a trade, dealing "Hornets" to Utah to reclaim "Jazz." Utah is known as "The Beehive State." Throw in Hugo, a two-time MVM (Most Valuable Mascot). There you go.
Get a flavor of the region
Los Angeles Times
Some of the possible new nicknames being tossed around for the New Orleans Hornets aren't bad.
Calling them the Pirates would be a nice nod to the city's old ABA franchise. Going with the Big Easy would serve a dual purpose, referencing New Orleans' cultural heritage and the prospects of success for every opposing NBA team that comes to town these days to play the dreadful Hornets.
The Pelicans, the name the team actually wants, is OK but seems a bit boring.
I like the New Orleans Creole because it pays homage to the French ancestry common in the region and a cooking style that is widely beloved. Plus, it just sounds cool. And the mascot could be an oversized pot stuffed with tomatoes, peppers, onions and rice. What's not to like?
Take back what's ours
As a native New Orleanian, I've seen this become a big debate on social media. I actually like adopting our state bird as the new mascot.
My friends debated several other options such as Krewe (Mardi Gras parade group), Gumbo and Crawfish. However, the real mascot should be taken away from Utah. Does Jazz and Utah ring together?
Just like new Hornets owner Tom Benson (who also owns the Saints) thought the team deserved a name that is identified with the city, it is time for Utah to end its charade. Benson should have worked harder to get back what rightfully is ours from the Jazz ownership. But oh well, Anthony Davis will soar for a dunk like a Pelican.