5 NBA Teams in Need of a New Nickname

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2012

5 NBA Teams in Need of a New Nickname

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    The New Orleans Hornets will reportedly become the New Orleans Pelicans next season, further illustrating just how committed new owner Tom Benson is to giving the team a new identity.

    While not the best choice of nickname, other teams should take note. After all, the Hornets are not the only team in need of a name change.

    Look at it this way: A team's nickname should not only be somewhat intimidating, but also have something to do with the local culture, if at all possible.

    For example, Detroit is the Motor City, and thus, their basketball team has been given the Pistons moniker. The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia in 1776, giving us the 76ers.

    Pelican technically makes sense for New Orleans since Louisiana is "The Pelican State," but isn't a pelican a little too goofy to be a mascot?

    The Hornets and several other NBA teams are due for a name change—the sooner the better.

No. 5: Washington Wizards

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    The Wizards got their name in 1997 by means of a fan contest after then-owner Abe Pollin decided that the nickname "Bullets" was too closely associated with the gun violence that plagued Washington D.C in the '90s.

    The team had its fair share of success under the moniker, but the way they have played the past few years is anything but on-court wizardry.

    The fact is, the team has lost its bite, which means that a change needs to be made. Instead of another naming contest, new owner Ted Leonsis should just change the name back to the Bullets. He has already considered such a move, and now is the time to act on it.

    Before we go any further, let me just say that I do not endorse nor support gun violence in any way, shape or form. I understand the late Mr. Pollin's decision behind the name change and do not fault him at all. 

    However, as was previously mentioned, the team isn't performing any on-court magic at the moment, save for their upset win over the Miami Heat. If the Wizards name is to stick, why not just go all-out and have them play Quidditch instead of basketball?

    The Wizards already wear colors similar to those of the former Bullets, so changing the name back is the next step. It would give the team a much-needed makeover. 

    Proposed Nickname: Bullets

No. 4: Charlotte Bobcats

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    The Charlotte Bobcats came to their city shortly after the Hornets moved to New Orleans, and their nickname is just as bad as the team's overall history.

    Nothing against team management, but "Bobcats" is a nickname better associated with a high school or college team. Given how the Bobcats have played since debuting in 2004, the moniker is actually quite fitting.

    The team needs a makeover, though, and owner and North Carolina legend Michael Jordan should continue to consider bringing back the Hornets name in the near future.

    The Hornets were a much-loved team in Charlotte, and their departure to New Orleans was more about then-owner George Shinn's declining reputation in the city than it was about fans not loving the team.

    There is simply no reason that the Hornets name should not be brought back. It would be appreciated by fans of the original Charlotte franchise and would usher in a new era of prominence under new coach Mike Dunlap.

    With an energized fanbase comes energized players, which will finally spell out good things for Charlotte under the direction of Jordan.

    Proposed Nickname: Hornets

No. 3: Brooklyn Nets

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    I'm sorry, but the "Nets" nickname is one of the worst in basketball history. Yes, nets do play a role in the game of basketball, but they do not warrant having a team named after them.

    The Brooklyn Nets need to change their name, and fast.

    This leads us to the team's new mascot, the BrooklyKnight. It is a play on the term "Brooklynite," used for residents of Brooklyn.

    By going all out and just renaming the team the Brooklyn Knights, team owner Mikhail Prokhorov will create a PR goldmine for the franchise. It will show the fans that the Nets do care about playing in Brooklyn and that it wasn't just a way for team ownership to make money and further exploit a budding rivalry with the New York Knicks. 

    The name change will not only make the team sound more intimidating, but it will help increase the number of local fans.

    If moving to Brooklyn is truly a new beginning, then this name change needs to happen in the very near future.

    Proposed Nickname: Knights

No. 2: New Orleans Hornets

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    The reason behind the Hornets' upcoming name change is owner Tom Benson wanting the team name to represent something that is truly New Orleans. It is admirable that he wants to do that, but there were plenty of better choices than Pelicans, even though Louisiana is the Pelican State.

    When I think of New Orleans, the last thing on my mind is some awkward bird that looks like it stepped out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Rather, I think of Cajun food, voodoo, Mardi Gras and the like. 

    If Benson really wants to reach out to the New Orleans community and give them a team whose name represents them, some silly bird should not adorn the team's uniforms. Rather, the team should honor New Orleans' Cajun history.

    Besides a history that dates back centuries, the word "Cajun" can be associated with many things including catchy Zydeco tunes and great food.

    Cajuns have flavor, and so should any team down in the Bayou. 

    Proposed Nickname: Cajuns

No. 1: Indiana Pacers

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    Back when the Pacers were formed in 1967, their name was chosen based on the history Indianapolis has with harness racing, plus the pace car for the Indianapolis 500. That is all well and good, but it's time for an upgrade.

    Pacers has a cool old-school ring to it, but it still sounds dated.

    Fortunately, their proposed nickname also has a tie to Indianapolis. Rather than the Pacers, the team should change its name to the Indiana Speed. This is a direct homage to the Indy 500, which features fast and skilled driving.

    It would certainly come as a shock to the team's longtime fans but it would ultimately be for the best. The Pacers are a young team that likes to play a fast-paced game, and the name on their uniform should exemplify that. 

    Proposed Nickname: Speed