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Report: New Orleans to officially announce name change to Pelicans

Jan 23, 2013, 1:32 PM EDT

Brown pelican AP

The New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA.

When that trial balloon was first floated it led to a lot of mocking and laughing on twitter and the Web. But Tom Benson likes it. And Tom Benson owns the New Orleans Hornets and has talked about a name change since he bought the team a year ago.

Now comes this from Marc Spears of Yahoo.

It’s not unexpected. And the new name and logo likely will be in place for next season, David Stern has said he would expedite the process.

Hornets is a name that worked well in Charlotte, a city that has been called the Hornets Nest since the Civil War. That name is part of the Charlotte identity, not New Orleans.

The brown Pelican is a common sight on the New Orleans waterfront, it is the state bird of Louisiana and it is even on the state flag. It has local flair.

It is not, however, the most intimidating of creatures. The other names being considered — Pelicans, Rougarou, Mosquitos, Swamp Dogs, and Bullsharks — had some fans but there was by no means a consensus. Plus, Benson already owns the right to Pelicans, which was a minor league baseball team Benson used to own in the area.

Personally, I kind of like Pelicans. And the name will grow on the people of New Orleans, especially if the team starts to do well on the court.

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