Will New Orleans 'Pelicans' Nickname Run Anthony Davis out of Town?

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 24:  Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball against the Houston Rockets at New Orleans Arena on October 24, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans' auto sales whiz Tom Benson should stick to the business transactions that have netted the 85-year-old a cool $1.2 billion (according to The Forbes 400 report from September 2012).

Because crafting team names for professional sports franchises is clearly a road better left untraveled by the Benson family.

Benson plans to change New Orleans' basketball nickname from the Hornets to the Pelicans as soon as the 2013-14 season (according to what numerous sources have told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports).

Granted, the Hornets nickname was adopted by the city after the former Charlotte franchise moved to the Crescent City in 2002. So giving the franchise a New Orleans-style facelift isn't the worst idea.

But how can a makeover go so terribly wrong?

Look, I get it. The Pelicans are the state bird of Louisiana. But if every team followed that train of thought we'd be stuck buying Miami Northern Mockingbirds jerseys or Sacramento California Valley Quail shirts. (Kidding, of course. No one's buying any Sacramento gear—Maloofs included.)

Not to mention that New Orleans has such a unique and rich history that there had to be more creative options available. Just look at the names of the city's other teams: the Saints (NFL), Green Wave (Tulane), VooDoo (Arena Football League), Blues (ABA), Zephyrs (minor league baseball) and Half Moons (rugby).

All more colorful and more unique than the bland Pelicans.

With regard to the name change, one thing is for sure. If the world of Twitter (the official 2012 court of public opinion) had any say in the matter, this clearly never would have happened.

There's been shock:

Wow... I got nothing for you on Pelicans...for two days I heard how name and color change would really change the culture -- terrible

— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) December 5, 2012


There's been no shortage of corny jokes:

Remember, you can't spell Pelicans without I cans!

— Royce Webb, ESPN NBA (@RoyceWebb) December 5, 2012


There's even been some attempted rationalization:

Two of the oldest baseball franchises are named after socks.

— Eric Freeman (@freemaneric) December 5, 2012


The possibilities for colorful promotions or rally cries are endless:


The New Orleans Pelicans will crap on the competition. #Sorry

— InsideHoops.com (@InsideHoops) December 5, 2012


Then again, maybe there was some unspoken inspiration for the team's new nickname. Maybe this whole state bird thing is just a big cover up:

The New Orleans' new logo has Anthony Davis' Angry Birds style unibrow

Heat vs Haters (@HeatvsHaters) December 5, 2012


Are we all making too much of this? In terms of professional sports teams, is this really the worst name we've ever heard? Probably not:


The Lakers have proven that having a serious, sensible, or intimidating name is completely unnecessary.

— Eric Freeman (@freemaneric) December 5, 2012


It's certainly going to take some getting used to. Regardless of how special Anthony Davis proves to be, I can't imagine the Pelicans to suddenly be the driving force in merchandise sales.

I'll give Benson credit for this: Pelicans was probably the better choice over Krewe or Brass.

I'll let you all decide just how much of a compliment that really is.