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Nothin' but Net: Pelicans?

4:35 PM, Dec 6, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Reports came out during the week that the New Orleans Hornets were considering a name change.

That makes all of the sense in the world. The Hornets came from Charlotte and with new owner Tom Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints, at the helm in the Big Easy, why not put a new stamp on his organization.

Benson landed on Pelicans as the new team name.

Pelicans.

The large-mouthed bird, kinda looks like a seagull?

One and the same.

Let's be clear - team names mean nothing. Grown men, professional athletes aren't intimidated if you are a Panther, Predator, Padre, Pirate or Pelican. It's just a name, but in this case, it's a silly one, so let's have fun with it.

The pelican is the state bird of Louisiana. It is on the flag and state seal. How many people know what their home state's bird is? (Ruffed Grouse for my fellow Pennsylvanians.) So who associates with such a thing?

"The New Orleans Pelicans?!?! As a native New Orleanian all I can do is Smh," tweeted Danny Granger of the Indiana Pacers. (Smh means "shaking my head.")

While a name won't intimidate the opposition, it doesn't have to potentially embarrass the players who don that uniform. Maybe it's preposterous to think this would humiliate Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers or Eric Gordon. Again, it's just a name, but can you imagine after Davis gets introduced, pulling the team together and saying, "Let's go boys! Play hard! Pelicans on 3...1..2...3 Pelicans!"

Making a team name indigenous to its culture is appropriate and a possible way to connect with a fan base. The Pelicans were a long-time minor-league baseball team in the New Orleans area and reaching out to more fans would be prudent for Benson, who owns the name Pelicans. The Hornets rank 27th in home attendance.

The team colors would change from teal, which is just fine. Throw out a cool uniform, and merchandise sales go up and now we are getting some cash in the coffer.

But if the best you can come up with is the state bird, is it worth it? The obvious team name for a New Orleans franchise currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Jazz were formerly anchored on Bourbon Street and it might be time for wholesale changes in the NBA name department. The Jazz is the silliest name in sports, let alone basketball. Is there a less jazzy place on earth than Utah? Is there a jazzier place on earth than New Orleans?

Could Commissioner David Stern intervene? After all, he is sticking his nose in all business of NBA teams.

"If it works for them, it works for me," Stern said. "I don't have any objections to anything that the Hornets want to do name-wise because I'm sure it'll be sensible. I'm sure whatever it is, it'll be good. If (Pelicans) is what it is, that's fine. I think everything sounds good."

He can not possibly think Pelicans sounds good.

Stupid names attached to teams is not reserved for New Orleans. Ever heard of the existence of a lake in Los Angeles? That team came from Minnesota. Think there are any grizzly bears in Memphis, Tennessee? Do you know what a Knickerbocker is? Washington Irving wrote under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker and it became synonymous for Manhattan elite.

Also, it's a slang term for underpants.

The point is, if you don't have a good name that fits your culture, scrap it and go with a general, albeit a relatively scary animal.

But New Orleans is fraught with fascinating ideas.

As a play on Jazz, what about Brass as an ode to the music?

New Orleans is the voodoo capital of the U.S., what's wrong with Voodoo? Imagine what the mascot could be and how creepy and intense you could make the pre-game intros in a darkened arena. One problem is Voodoo is the New Orleans Arena Football League team name and the team was once owned by Benson, but no longer.

Crawfish? Anything sounds better than Pelicans.

Sure, this won't matter next season when the Hornets become the Pelicans. All the jokes will be made and within six months, we will be acclimated with the name.

For now, it's a silly and short-sighted choice.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

- Kobe Bryant reaching 30,000 career points is impressive, but don't be mislead. Yes, he is the youngest ever to accomplish the feat, but remember, it took him the most games to do it since he came right out of high school. Still awesome achievement.

- Lakers brass say they aren't trading Pau Gasol, but at some point they'll have to consider it. If Steve Nash (Lord knows when he's actually returning) can't get Gasol going, they should explore it. With the Lakers' age, they need to try and acquire athleticism. However, it will be nearly impossible to trade a 32-year-old with two worsening knees and over $38 million owed to him in the next two seasons.

- Lakers other problem is "Hack-a-Howard." Mike D'Antoni can't sit the best center in the sport in the fourth quarter of close games, but he's under 50 percent at the line in the final frame. That Orlando Magic loss hurt him deeply. He was not the same man in the locker room. Obviously, it stung, but Howard doesn't seem to know how to fit in totally. Lakers are in some serious trouble.

- Apparently no thoughts on anything other than the Lakers.

- Movie moment - I'll watch a "Family Guy" movie. I mean, I've already watched the three they made, why not another one.

- TV moment - There are two, TWO celebrity diving shows coming to your airwaves next season. I think this is it. I think this is where the line has to be drawn. This is too much. Watching T.O. and JWoww learn how to flip off a diving board now passes as a television special. When the "Wizard of Oz" came on TV, that was considered a special. Yeah, this is the one that broke me. This needs to be the one that gets all television big-wigs into one room and ask what are we doing? "Cheers" and "Seinfeld" were television shows. "Real Housewives" is bad enough to the citizens of this country, but now putting two of them on a diving board and calling that entertainment? We are better than this. I swear we are. And there will be two of them. You can only really vote for one of two people to be President of the United States. You have the same number of options in leaders of your country as you do in "celebrity" diving competitions. Disgraceful.

The Sports Network

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