Earlier this year, the New Orleans Hornets made a major decision that had nothing to do with their play on the basketball court—they announced the team would change their name to the Pelicans, effective next season.
Team owner Tom Benson said that when he purchased the team, it was a “priority to change the name to reflect our culture, our community and our resolve.”
The new team name certainly fits that description, as the pelican is the state bird of Louisiana and appears on the state flag and seal.
Benson made the right move, as the Pelicans name fits the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region.
More importantly, the Hornets name was never fitting for New Orleans after they made the move from Charlotte in 2002. The moniker has regional ties to Charlotte and the city’s history.
But the Pelicans are the exception, not the norm. Many professional sports teams who have relocated haven’t changed regional names, leading to out-of-place monikers.
Here’s a list of professional teams who need to change their mascots.