The New Orleans Hornets officially adopted the "Pelicans" moniker on Thursday, launching a new website and new social media accounts.
“We have been looking forward to this day since we announced the Pelicans as the new name,” Pelicans owner Tom Benson said in a statement. “The Pelican is a symbol for our city and region and we’re excited to start a new era in Louisiana basketball history. This offseason is going to be a special time for the Pelicans.”
Hornets.com now redirects to Pelicans.com and the site features the team's new blue, gold and red color scheme.
The Hornets officially announced the new moniker and color scheme back in January.
“It was very important to me and our staff that we change the name of this club to something that represented New Orleans, Louisiana,” owner Tom Benson said in a promotional video for the launch. “We worked on it. It wasn’t something that just came out of the blue, overnight. We worked on it for a long period of time. You just can’t have a better name for Louisiana and New Orleans than the Pelican. It’s the perfect representative.”
Louisiana is known as the “Pelican State.” The brown pelican is the state bird and it adorns both the state flag and state seal. New Orleans also had a Double-A minor league baseball known as the Pelicans for more than 70 years.
The Pelicans name beat out more than 100 other possible nicknames during a lengthy brainstorming process.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu was pleased with the selection.
“I’m pumped up about the Pelicans,” he said during a news conference in January.
Team broadcaster Joel Meyers suggested that fans will chant “Let’s go Pels!” to root on the squad next season.
The Hornets name came with the franchise when former owner George Shinn relocated the team to New Orleans in 2002 after 14 years in Charlotte. Shinn then sold the Hornets to the NBA in 2010.When Benson purchased the team from the NBA in April 2012, he expressed a desire to find a name that better reflected the city of New Orleans. The Bobcats franchise reportedly has interest in returning the Hornets' nickname to Charlotte, but no formal plans have been announced yet.