The New Orleans Hornets are expected to change their nickname to the Pelicans as early as the 2013-14 season, numerous sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Hornets planned to change their nickname since Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, purchased the team on April 14. Benson also owns the rights to the nickname Pelicans.
The Hornets also considered the nicknames Krewe (groups of costumed paraders in the annual Mardi Gras carnival in New Orleans) and Brass.
Louisiana is the Pelican State. The brown pelican is the state bird and appears on the state flag and seal, and official state painting. Moreover, the Pelicans played minor league baseball in New Orleans in all but nine seasons from 1887-1959 and in 1977.
Gayle Benson, Benson’s wife, told Fox Sports New Orleans recently her preference for new team colors was navy blue, red and gold.
The Hornets came to New Orleans in 2002 from Charlotte. New Orleans has also had an NBA team called the Jazz, which moved to Salt Lake City in 1979.
Some fans of the Charlotte Bobcats are hoping to get their old Hornets nickname back. The Hornets began playing in Charlotte in 1988. Bobcats owner Michael Jordan told The Charlotte Observer he would consider changing it back to Hornets if the name was available.