For Tom Benson and the New Orleans Pelicans, it seems the second time’s the charm. On January 24, 2013, The New Orleans Pelicans unveiled their new logo and uniforms, changing both the team’s name and mascot from “Hornets” to “Pelicans.” There is actually a rich history in the "Pelican" name as well as Charlotte’s tie-in with current New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson. Fanatics brings you all the best in New Orleans Pelicans Gear, so you can cheer on your favorite team from The Big Easy.
The First Pelicans Attempt
In 1993, automobile and banking magnate Tom Benson bought the Charlotte Knights AAA baseball team and acquired the rights to use the “Pelicans” name for them. His intention was to relocate the minor league franchise – a move that would bring back a "New Orleans Pelicans" baseball team to the city – a team that hadn’t been in New Orleans since 1977. Unfortunately, with the city of Denver being awarded the Colorado Rockies that same year, legal issues prevented Benson from moving the Knights to New Orleans. Since Benson’s sole purpose was to move a baseball team to New Orleans and name them "Pelicans," he quickly sold off the team, but retained rights to the name.
In Come the Hornets
When Benson purchased the New Orleans Hornets in April 2012 for $338 million, he made no secret that he wished to change the NBA team’s name. Benson, who also owns the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, had originally wished to return the “Jazz” name to the city. Unfortunately, Utah’s owners showed no interest in relinquishing a name they felt held too much history. So, since Benson still owned the rights to the “Pelicans” name, he announced on December 4, 2012 that the New Orleans Hornets would change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans at the beginning of the 2013-14 NBA season.
Celebrate New Orleans history as well as the future with Fanatics and our New Orleans Pelicans Apparel. We have all the New Orleans Pelicans T-Shirts and Hats, so you can show the world you’ve been a NOLA fan forever.