New Orleans Hornets To Become The Pelicans: Report

By Staff  |  12/05/2012

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Nearly 25 years after beginning in the league as an expansion team during the 1988-89 NBA season, the New Orleans Hornets are changing their name.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the franchise will no longer be known as the Hornets, changing to the New Orleans Pelicans, perhaps as early as the 2013-14 season. The story, which cites numerous sources, reports the team also considered Krewe and Brass as potential nicknames.

Apparently, the Hornets have planned to change their name since New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, who also owns the rights to the Pelicans nickname, bought the team in April.

The pelican is Louisiana's state bird, and appears on both the state seal and flag. Previously, a New Orleans minor league baseball team held the Pelicans nickname in all but nine seasons from 1887-1959, and again in 1977.

The Hornets began as an expansion team during the 1988-89 season, but started in Charlotte, North Carolina. They team moved to New Orleans in 2002, and when Benson bought the team earlier this year, he said he would like to change the name to something more fitting of Louisiana.

ESPN reports that Benson's wife, Gayle, also would like to change the team colors from teal and purple to red, gold and navy blue.

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan said in November that he'd be interested in bringing the Hornets' name back to Charlotte, the franchise he owns.

"It's definitely an interest down the road, but right now it's the New Orleans Hornets," Jordan told the Charlotte Observer. "We would definitely entertain the opportunity. That's as much as we can say right now. We've heard the community ask the question, and we would listen."