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Shaq doesn’t care for the Pelicans name, might not know what a pelican is

Sep 22, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Basketball star Shaquille O'Neal of the Getty Images

Shaquille O’Neal is not overly fond of the Pelicans nickname. This is not an uncommon opinion. Shaq’s reasoning for not liking the new name, though? Pretty spectacular.

“It’s a terrible name. I told Charles on TNT, I don’t think I’ve seen a Pelican before. Pelicans, are they that big white bird? I would had named them Tigers, Crawfish or something. Pelicans — no. But I wish them well.”

Via John Reid on

So many questions for you, Shaq. You really haven’t seen a Pelican before? It’s Louisiana’s state bird. You went to LSU. They were in Finding Nemo. You have children. Come on, Shaq. You yelled about Birdman for the entire postseason and now you know nothing about birds? Nice try. Are you undercover again?

Seriously, though, man. Crawfish? That’s your suggestion? Something cool like Tigers, or maybe crawfish? Pelicans could probably eat crawfish, bro. I don’t know if that’s true or not because I haven’t watched the Discovery channel in a really long time, but you don’t go down the food chain in search of a better nickname. You just don’t.

That’s alright, though. Nicknames are hard, you’ve wasted your ammo on yourself over the years, and now you’re spent. All good. New Orleans fans have plenty of reasons to be happy though, right? Bright future, yes?

I’ll be anxious to see how many jerseys they sell. Hopefully one day they’ll get some marquee players and fill the arena up because it’s a town that wants to support something good. Louisiana, in general, if you give them a good product, they’ll get in their RVs and drive and they will support you. Hopefully, one day we’ll get two or three good players that people would want to spend their money on.

I suppose the thought of hearing, “Nice Pelicans jersey!” could push someone with Ornithophobia away from a purchase, even if the name on the front says New Orleans. As for the names on the back? Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans are pretty good players, but are they “fire up the RV” good?

But again, we need to two or three marquee players. I mean you can’t charge the prices that we charge and not give them a good product. So hopefully the first pick, Anthony Davis, and Doc Rivers’ son (Austin Rivers) hopefully have the same impact the ‘Splash Brothers’ (Golden State guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) had last season.

So New Orleans fans, it sounds like Shaq thinks your new nickname stinks, you might not sell many jerseys, you don’t have good players that are worth spending money to watch, and your hopes of making a big impact rest partially with Austin Rivers, of all people.

But, you know, other than that? Go big white birds!

  1. eagles512 - Sep 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I have no problem with the name, just the boring colors and uniforms.

  2. rodge1 - Sep 22, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Shaq and pelicans have the biggest mouths of the animal kingdom.

  3. psly2124 - Sep 22, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Why does the nba move teams back to failed markets. They couldn’t draw fans when the jazz were there with pistol Pete.

    • raykibb - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      WRONG!! We broke the NBA all time crowd record when the Jazz were here. They left because their owner was from Salt Lake City. This city supported the Saints for 30 years before we even got a playoff win. I used to go to Jazz games, and the crowd figures may be skewered because the Superdome did not open until 1975, and the prior years were played at a 2000 seat arena, Loyola Coliseum or the Municipal Auditorium.

  4. hildezero - Sep 22, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I haven’t seen the jerseys, but their nickname IS wack. They’ve should’ve told Utah to change their nickname so they can be called Jazz again. NOLA Jazz. :)

  5. biasedhomer - Sep 22, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Shaq is right, Pelicans is a horrible name. The team didn’t even think the word “Pelicans” was good enough to be written on the jersey.

  6. louhudson23 - Sep 22, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Pelicans is a great name for a team in New Orleans. True dat….

  7. sampulls - Sep 22, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Pelicans are a terrible, terrible name!!!

  8. fordmandalay - Sep 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Pelicans – worst team name, ever. Did they let a 5 year old pick it? The NBA is really becoming a joke.

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:10 AM

      Knickerbockers anyone?

    • skids003 - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      Give Shaq and the nBA a break. It’s hard to come up with a nickname these days that doesn’t offend someone.

  9. dondada10 - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Somebody remind me: the Bobcats are going to be the Hornets next year, right?

    • impartialsportstalk - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:47 PM


  10. longtallsam - Sep 22, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Who gives a damn what Shaq thinks? Where NO messed up was way back when the Jazz left town, they should have sued the hell out of the owners to prevent them from taking the Jazz name to Utah. Now, if you want to talk stupid, nothing’s worse than Utah Jazz. Jazz music probably isn’t even legal in Utah. But, New Orleans Jazz…that was a great name.

  11. impartialsportstalk - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    wait, shaq actually thinks?

  12. freddysanford - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Wait, why does anyone care what this big oaf has to say? He couldn’t even shoot the basketball. All he could do was run people over and dunk. He can thank his genetics for his career. His opinion is worthless.

  13. norcalkingsfan - Sep 23, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    I couldn’t care less if Shaq croaked in his sleep tonight; wish he would go away, forever.

  14. yuwannano - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    I agree. NOLA could have went with way cooler names. NOLA Cajuns, NOLA Gators, NOLA Hurricanes! But no, they went with the silly water bird.

  15. stexan - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Looks like most folks don’t know any more about pelicans that Shaq.

    1. American white pelican – huge, graceful. Watch a couple hundred of them come soaring out of the sunrise some day and it’ll change your opinion. But they’re only down south during the winter, not the bird we’re talking about.

    2. Brown pelican is the bird for NOLA. Lives on the Gulf Coast year round. Came fairly close to extinction from DDT but have come back big time. Watch them when they’re feeding – winging over and power diving into the surf . Look like dive bombers from an old WWII movie.

  16. wjoinfo - Sep 24, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Shaq is just being Shaq…I am surprised to learn that the “Big Aristotle” has never seen a pelican though since he went to LSU and it is the State bird…..I guess it’s all Greek to him…….

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