NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Saints and Hornets Owner Tom Benson announced today that at the conclusion of the 2012-13 NBA season, the name of the Hornets will become the New Orleans Pelicans. A name that will represent the culture and resolve of the Gulf Coast region while also symbolizing Louisiana's most pressing initiative of coastal restoration and wildlife conservation. Benson introduced the team's new logos, as well as color scheme, during the announcement.
The team will use and remain under the name New Orleans Hornets until the end of the 2012-13 season.
The team's cornerstone community platforms will focus on two initiatives critical to the future success and prosperity of the Gulf South Region; the health and sustainability of our coastal wetlands and the health and fitness of our region's children. The message of a healthy habitat, in which the Pelican thrives, will provide the centerpiece for a program of healthy living, exercise and education to that of protecting, saving and restoring our coastal wetlands and wildlife. The Pelican will serve as that symbol.
Perseverance and renewal have been hallmarks of our community's resurgence and the Pelican's remarkable recovery closely matches that of the Gulf South Region. The Pelicans will be more than a namesake for the franchise, as New Orleans, the State of Louisiana and the Gulf South have a rich history connected to the name. Represented on Louisiana's state flag and seal, the Pelican has been the state bird for over a century. The Pelican symbolizes the determination to not only survive, but thrive even when the odds are stacked against them as our region has demonstrated over and over.
"When we purchased the basketball team, it was a priority to change the name to reflect our culture, our community and our resolve. The Pelican does that," said Owner Tom Benson. "Our region has been hard hit in recent years and the one thing that stands out is the resiliency and determination to comeback, to fight and overcome. The Pelican symbolizes that. The synergy of this name, this bird and the future of our state and region are intertwined and in three, five, ten years from now, it will be not only be a name of a sports franchise but it will also be the face of the continued recovery of our region. We will promote healthy habitats, not only for our youth but for our community, our coast and our wildlife. The Pelican name will do that. It is more than a name. It represents our way of life."
The Pelicans' colors will be blue, gold and red. The team's primary color, blue, is taken from Louisiana's state flag. The Pelicans and Saints will share the color gold, uniting the organizations, while celebrating the spirited life of New Orleans and its many celebrations (gold is also a commonly found color on the "crown" of the pelican). Red represents fraternity and is indicative of the blood provision of the mother pelican and the vibrant color underneath the pelican's throat. All three colors are found on the City of New Orleans flag.
"Establishing the New Orleans Pelicans is a process of building a basketball legacy for our community that entwines our team image with the best qualities of our community," said Hornets Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc. "The Pelican is not only the state bird of Louisiana, but it is also representative of teamwork, the positive synergy of group dynamics and, as we've experienced recently here on the Gulf Coast region, regeneration. The strength, resiliency and loyalty of a Pelican are the core values our fans and team can be proud of. This identity change was an investment we had to commit to, in order to provide a fresh beginning for our fans. Forging a new and bright future for the Pelicans will bring awareness to the best of New Orleans, the Gulf South, and provide our fans with a team that they can identify as their own."
Details regarding the uniform will be relayed in the coming months. A limited supply of Pelican merchandise will be available exclusively in the team store at the New Orleans Arena beginning on Thursday, Jan. 24 and online at the Hornets team store (www.hornetsnestonline.com).