By Rob Mahoney
A name change and logo overhaul have been in the works for the New Orleans Hornets for some time, but months of speculation and mock designing will come to a halt this week.
According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Hornets are set to officially announce their name change to the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, and they'll also unveil a new logo and color scheme (blue, red and gold) that will be used as soon as next season. In December, the NBA's attorney filed trademarks on five potential team names (Pelicans, Rougarou, Mosquitos, Swamp Dogs and Bullsharks), though Pelicans was rumored to be the preferred choice all along.
All of the proposed names come in an obvious effort to align the franchise with New Orleans via locally significant branding, and the Pelicans moniker certainly accomplishes that goal. The pelican may not fit perfectly with the spirit of New Orleans itself, but the bird adorns Louisiana's state flag and state seal as the official state bird. The name "New Orleans Pelicans" may seem odd at first, but is no stranger than "Hornets" or the handful of other strange team names (Wizards, Magic, etc.) around the league. At least it has the benefit of drawing real significance from the city that the team calls home. The logo, though, is the big reveal of Thursday's reported news conference. If done right, the Pelicans' rebranding could go off without a hitch and noticeably improve on the Hornets' visual aesthetic. But the name also opens itself up to some ridiculous design possibilities that could make the new moniker seem that much more ridiculous. For now, only Hornets staffers know -- though an open design call from 99designs.com yielded some interesting possibilities and could give an idea of what to expect.