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Once Hornets are sold, team could get new name, identity

Apr 2, 2012, 5:40 PM EDT

Detroit Pistons v New Orleans Hornets Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets was a fitting name — in 1775, just prior to the American Revolution, Lord Cornwallis referred to Charlotte as “a hornet’s nest of rebellion” and the people of that city have worn that rebellious badge proudly ever since.

The New Orleans Hornets… that name is just the leftover a team moved there then run into the ground by the previous owner.

With a deal coming soon for new owner there may a new name coming, too, reports Ian Thompson at Sports Illustrated (in a great look at the state of the Hornets franchise right now, with a hat tip to IamaGM.com).

The most interesting decision of the new owner may be whether to rebrand the franchise. Will the “Hornets” nickname be relinquished and enabled to return to Charlotte, where owner Michael Jordan could rebrand his own underperforming franchise?

If so, how would the basketball team of New Orleans rename itself? No suggestions will be made here, for the new name would have to represent the resilient spirit of New Orleans and its fans. It would be the finishing act of a franchise that has been reinvented, a team committed to the city that wouldn’t let go.

Jordan may or may not want the Hornets name back — a lot of people in Charlotte do not like Bobcats, as they thought previous owner Robert Johnson was naming the team after himself — but it makes sense to me for New Orleans to get a fresh start. Under the new lease deal they are committed to the city until 2024 at least, so they need to have something that works with the community.

This is not an easy market for the NBA — New Orleans was a small market and that was before hurricane Katrina, when many who moved away did not return. But go read the story, the city is backing the team and it is a franchise poised to make a big move if they can keep Eric Gordon and have a little lottery luck.

  1. thekingdave - Apr 2, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Utah should give up the Jazz, everyone knows it

    • thevza - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:05 PM

      True that. And it should go even further: Jazz to New Orleans, Hornets to Charlotte, Bobcats to Memphis, and Grizzlies to Utah. Still have to figure out a way to get the Lakers back to Minnesota…

    • fm31970 - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:11 AM

      Jazz should go back to New Orleans, but would they really want it? I don’t see a ton of marketing angles for the name “Jazz”, and that musical note graphic thing is long played out.

      Now, that leaves Utah’s NBA team without a name….hmmmm, Beehive State…plenty to work with there, as long as it’s not Hornets.

  2. AlohaMrHand - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    If not the Jazz how bout the New Orleans Cajuns?

  3. scooper15928 - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    New Orleans Hurricanes? Feel free to dislike, I know I’m a terrible person…

  4. jawnn - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    nawlins NIGHTS…or KNIGHTS as transplant with deep affection for a city like no other… especially the night life… really though the JAZZ should should be given back!!!

  5. frozencajun - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    If we can’t get the name Jazz back from Utah, let’s go with the New Orleans/Louisiana Zydeco

  6. mogogo1 - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    There shouldn’t be any rebranding required because the Hornets never should have left Charlotte. They were a successful and well-supported franchise right up until owner George Shinn got involved in a sex assault scandal, got tired of reading about it in the local paper, and turned his back on Charlotte. He then bolted to a city that had already failed to keep a franchise afloat. (Don’t tell me nobody saw trouble coming on that one.) And the NBA’s “solution” was to stick an expansion team back in Charlotte.

    This has nothing to do with branding or the names that are on the jerseys; it has everything to do with the NBA doing nothing to protect its product from bad owners. Check out the ridiculous lengths they’re going to in order to preserve the Maloofs ownership of the Kings for another example of this.

  7. tombradysmerkin - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    How about the New Orleans Bounty Hunters?

  8. cincyorangenblack - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Jazz would be perfect, but those losers in Utah probably won’t give it up… Chiefs could work or the Cajun word for it as a play off the parade tribal chiefs….would be an awesome mascot too

  9. eugenesaxe - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    If Charlotte changed their name too, wouldn’t MJ choose the Jordans? It is all about him/his bank account.

  10. isujames - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Doesn’t matter what name you give them or what city they play in they will continue to be a door mat for the sub par and elite teams of the nba.

  11. bleed4philly - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    The Seattle Lincoln Dizzles

  12. vols84 - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    How about Narlans Swamp People

  13. detroitcityryda - Apr 2, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    New Orleans hot boys

  14. gmsalpha - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    I’m sure Jordan would prefer “Tar Heels”, and probably copy the UNC jerseys down to the Jumpman logo.

    As for New Orleans, howabout “The Gumbo”. Or perhaps “The Voodoo”.

  15. losangelasbasketball - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    New Orleans “Migraines”
    Let’s Go Migraines, Let’s Go…..
    Has a ring to it…

  16. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    charlotte should get the hornets back. but does a team have to have a mascot or team name? NOLA, just plain nola would be pretty cool. it would be short, sweet and filled with badassery.

  17. mrhney03 - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    The New Orleans Voodo!….

    I can hear their crowd now chanting… Voodo Voodo Voodo!!!

    • cullenand99 - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      Except New Orleans already has an AFL team called the New Orleans Voodoo

  18. furedmccombs - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    New Orleans Noodlers…Crawfish…Breaking Levees…or Idiots Who Built a City on The Coast Below Sea Level

  19. NOLA Man Blog - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    New Orleans Hustlers! This city is probably the most open-air market in the United States. You are guaranteed to make money here by selling pretty much anything. Tourists and residents alike have getting hustled since 1718 here. It is only fitting!

  20. roycewhittedsaintsfan - Apr 5, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    New Orleans Brass

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