At the conclusion of the 2012-13 NBA season, the New Orleans Hornets will become the New Orleans Pelicans, the team announced in a press release Thursday.
“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,” according to the release.
The team will focus on two community initiatives, according to the release: the health and sustainability of our coastal wetlands and the health and fitness of our region’s children.
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.