Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Prehistoric Bird Brings New Hope

     Yes, New Orleans, Louisiana has had an NBA franchise to call its own for the last ten plus seasons, but it never felt quite right. An old team name, old team colors, and a temporary, yet neccessary, relocation to Oklahoma City for 2 seasons, left a feeling of wanting "more" for the franchise and fanbase; well, "more" just knocked on the door of "The Big Easy".

     "The New Orleans Pelicans" was officially revealed as the re-brand name for the Louisiana-based NBA franchise, on January 24th of this year. Albeit a wordy and lackluster name for a professional sports team, it does at least carry a sense of tradition with its direct link to local culture. The pelican, more specifically the Brown Pelican, is the official state bird of Louisiana. The bird is included on the state seal and state flag of the state officially known as "The Pelican State". So yeah, the bird is kind of a big deal; We get it.

     Although naming them the "Louisiana Pelicans" would have been more suitable, may have looked "cleaner", and would have had a better ring to it, we should be grateful for what we ended up with. After all, it could have been one of the other proposed nicknames; those of course being: he "Mosquitoes", the "Rougarou", the "Swamp Dogs", and the "Bull Dogs". Yeah, you read those correctly; no need to adjust your monitors. 

     Along with the name change, new colors (red, white, navy blue, and gold), new logos, and new wordmarks are here. Sure, the America colorway always works and looks pretty, but why not keep with the state-homage motif? Just one mans opinion, here, but I feel these colors would have worked just fine (maybe even better).

     The logos in their entirety, I have no problems with whatsoever; they're all very professional, timeless, and fitting of the teams location. Those can all be seen HERE. The fleur-de-lis and the "Crecent-City" alternate logos are really nice. Hopefully they use them either on the jersey or home court design when the time comes for all of that. 

     The Hornets will finish in New Orleans with what most would call mild success. In their ten-plus years in Louisiana, the franchise has only made 5 playoff appearances, at best losing in the Western Conference Semifinals in the 07-08 season. The one bright spot in the franchises history was the drafting and development of star point guard Chris Paul. In his Hornets career, Paul won the rookie of the year for the bugs in 2006, captured multiple steal and assist titles, was named to 3 all-star teams, and was even named all NBA first team once. He was truly a reason to go to the games, tune in on T.V., and likely even claim the Hornets. Once Paul decided to move on to bigger and better opportunities, it was clear a re-building was on the then current ownerships hands. In April of 2012, the team was sold to car dealership mogul, and New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. This would be the beginning of what is now a recurring theme of "out with the old, and in with the new". 

     The new hope for success came in the form of the number one overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Hornets selected Collegiate National Player of the Year Anthony Davis, out of Kentucky. Davis certainly provides a foundation for success. The talented big man, along with multiple trade pieces for the now Los Angeles Clipper, Chris Paul, and key free agent signings certainly puts the club in a decent position to grow quickly. Being in the Western Conference, let alone a division with Dallas, Houston, Memphis, and San Antonio, is no easy feat, but the way things look this year, 10-15 games over .500 should get you into the playoffs. Is it impossible to picture the team in the eighth spot in the West next year? No, but for a franchise that's currently owners of a 19-35 record through the all-star break, the road seems to be uphill. 

     The cap shown in today's post was purchased at Cap City, in West New York, New Jersey. The cap, along with other Pelicans 59/50's can be found HERE. It features a navy crown and bull, with the primary pelicans logo across the front. On the left side, the New Era logo is located in white. On the back, the alternate Pelicans logo is located low and center. A great cap for a budding franchise in the ashes of the old.  

     Maybe with the vacating of the Hornets name, the rights can be sold back to the Charlotte franchise. C'mon, M.J.! Call it a belated 50th birthday present! Bobcats sounds like a minor league team name, anyway. 



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