The New Orleans NBA franchise officially announced its change from the Hornets to the Pelicans and revealed new colors and logos on Thursday.
The team will finish the season as the Hornets before transitioning to the Pelicans for the 2013-14 season. New owner Tom Benson sought the name change after the team brought its Hornets nickname after relocating from Charlotte in 2002.
The pelican was selected primarily for its ties to the city and its status as the state bird of Louisiana, but also for its traits as a speedy, loyal protector.
“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 team released its new logo and markings on NBA.com.