SBD/December 6, 2012/Franchises

The Pelican Brief: Stern Has No Objections To Name Changes For Hornets

Stern yesterday toured the construction site that will house the Hornets' practice facility
NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday spoke about the Hornets’ proposed name change to the Pelicans and said he did not have "any objections to what the Hornets want to do, name-wise," according to Darrell Williams of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE. Stern said, “I’m sure it will be sensible. If ‘Pelicans’ is what they want to change it to, that’s fine with me.” He added, “There is a lot that goes into changing the name. I do know that the Hornets filed to protect five names with trademark protection, and they have to apply to us, pay certain fees, and there is a timing schedule. But I do know that they have a friend in the front office that may get them a chance to expedite the process and make the change sooner than the NBA says that it will happen” (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 12/6). In New Orleans, John Reid noted Stern “raved about the progress the franchise has made under owner Tom Benson,” who also owns the Saints. Stern last night “toured the construction site that will house the Hornets’ new practice facility and business offices at the Saints' complex in Metairie.” He said, "We’re very pleased on the behalf of the NBA to see what they’re doing out there at the Saints’ practice facility.” He added, “They’re using both organizations to help the other. We couldn’t be happier and it’s good that we’re here” (NOLA.com, 12/5).

THE CHANGE UP: HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy noted Stern also addressed the Bobcats’ potential acquisition of the Hornets’ name. Stern: “I’m very deferential to teams, as you know. If Charlotte wanted to ultimately change their name back to the Hornets that would be okay with me” (HOOPSWORLD.com, 12/5). In Charlotte, Kirk Hawkins cited experts as saying that it “could cost up to $10 million dollars to change the logo, the uniform, and everything about the team” from Bobcats to Hornets (FOXCHARLOTTE.com, 12/5). Also in Charlotte, Rick Bonnell in a front-page piece writes the Bobcats “face a $3 million decision: Is it worth the investment to change the team’s name to ‘Hornets,’ hoping to capture the nostalgia for Charlotte’s original NBA team?” Bobcats management “can’t say much until New Orleans does something officially.” The team “has prepared, though,” commissioning in the summer of ’10 a marketing study of Charlotte. Bobcats Exec VP and Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Pete Guelli said that more than 60% of those polled “liked the name Bobcats." About 20% "advocated a name change” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/6).

THE NAME GAME: CBS Sports Network’s Allie LaForce said, “I hate the Pelicans nickname. They want the name to be more like New Orleans. When I think of New Orleans, the pelican is the last thing I think of." CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb said, “It’s not the worst nickname. The Nets are worse. From the Bullets to the Wizards, bad" ("Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 12/5). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, “It’s a horrendous name for mascot." Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, "Why not go to the Utah Jazz and say, ‘Give us our name back.’ It used to be the New Orleans Jazz. That’s where Jazz was founded in this country. Just make a deal” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 12/5). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "Whenever I hear Hornets, I still think Charlotte. As long as you’re swapping, somebody get the Jazz away from (Utah)" ("PTI," ESPN, 12/5). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, “We will get used to this. In the defense of this name, what’s a Knickerbocker?” Le Batard added, “I just can’t wait for the first guy who awkwardly goes up at the press conference and says, ‘I’m so happy to be a Pelican’" ("Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 12/5). 
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