Sports Opinion & Analysis

Something Fierce, Like A Pelican

In NBA on December 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

By Jonathan Danielson

For a while now, I’ve been hoping Michael Jordan would consider changing the name of the Charlotte Bobcats. Why? Because the Bobcats’ is the ugliest logo, with the worst color combination and uniform design in perhaps all of sports.

"The mother of the thirteen-year-old who designed this thought her son did a good job."

The mother of the eight-year-old who designed this thought her son did a good job.

Charlotte used to have a palatable scheme, back in the days when Muggsy Bogues, Alonzo Mourning, and Larry “Grandmama” Johnson used to play for a little team called the Charlotte Hornets. Unfortunately, when former owner George Shinn moved the team to New Orleans in 2002 (has it really been that long?) he took the team, and by evidence of what replaced the Hornets, the ability of sight with him.

Like Seattle a few years later, Charlotte was robbed of their professional basketball team. Unlike Seattle so far, Charlotte was quickly given an expansion franchise to make up for the theft.  So entered the Bobcats in 2004.

Perhaps because what the Bobcats have produced on the court eerily resembles the horrendous logo that represents them, the team has never really caught on in the community. It also probably doesn’t help that throwback Charlotte Hornets (and not New Orleans) apparel is still the hottest seller in the city’s local mall’s sports stores.

Down in New Orleans, bring in Tom Benson, the owner of the bounty-gate plagued New Orleans Saints, who recently purchased the Hornets for reportedly $338 million dollars. Benson apparently doesn’t like the name the Hornets for his New Orleans franchise, and has floated around the possibility of rebranding the team, which also hasn’t caught on in its respective community either.

"Hey Utah, could we pleeeeeeeeease have the Jazz name back, what with you guys not even liking music anyway?"

“Hey Utah, could we pleeeeeeeeease have the Jazz back, what with your state not even liking music anyway?”

This is good news for the people of Charlotte, and NBA fans everywhere, because if this happens, rumor has it Jordan will drop the Bobcats brand and bring back the fan favorite Hornet’s (although, word is still out on whether this will improve the horrible play the team has been known for). In New Orleans, the bad part is that instead of going to a Saints-inspired black and gold combo, or a name like “Voodoo,” or “Crewe” (the famous dancers of Mardi Gras), Benson will reportedly request that the team be allowed to change their franchise to the “Pelicans.”

I’m all for representing state pride in your sports teams, and think that it should be a requirement of all team names to be a reflection of their location (the Lakers in Los Angeles makes no sense). Unlike many, I love the hard-to-look-at, state flag-inspired University of Maryland football uniforms, but I also know there is a fine line between state pride, and stupidity.

Artists rendition of New Orleans fans commuting to future Pelicans game.

Artists rendition of New Orleans fans commuting to future Pelicans game.

The Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana, and it’s on their state flag. I get that. But just because something is a representation of your state though, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to let it be the representation of your business. In sports, you’re not just trying to sell jerseys to the locals who come to the games (although that should be your primary concern), but if you get a star player, you hope the jersey will sell nation wide too. Who does Benson honestly think will by a “Pelicans” jersey if Anthony Davis becomes a phenom, and not just wait for him to move on to a bigger market with a better logo, then buy his jersey then? I know I talk a lot about how owners seem to have lost touch with fans in their decisions, but when did owners completely lose all sense of reality as well, and think this is a good marketing decision?

All hail the Pelicans? Hawak, hawak?

At least, as NBA fans, we’ll lose one horrible NBA franchise. Unfortunately, it seems, we’re just gaining another.


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