Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's in a Name Change?

Recently, the new owner of the New Orleans Hornets had decided he wanted to change the name of his franchise to something more New Orleansy.  This, of course, makes sense.  A sports team ought to identify itself with the city it resides in, and the fans it wants to connect with.  I'm sure there are hornets and other wasp-like insects in the bayou, but they aren't what anyone would think of when trying to picture the city of New Orleans.

If I was going to change the name of the New Orleans franchise, and the Utah Jazz was too stingy to part with the name that ought to be in the Big Easy, I'd have a few good ideas.  The Brass was a name that was thrown around as a possibility.  Not only does it allude to the horn section of the jazz bands that make the city famous, but allows the team to take advantage of brass balls jokes.  Also on the short list are the Bull Sharks (not bad, but hybrid names like Mud Hens, Jethawks, Mighty Ducks, or River Monsters just make me think of minor league teams and their cartoon logos), Rougarou (it's a cajun word for werewolf...), Swamp Dogs (also a good name for a minor league baseball team... and also makes me think of body odor, for some reason).

The favorite name, and the one most likely to be chosen (nothing "official" has been submitted yet) is the Pelicans.  Speaking of minor league baseball, the Pelicans is also the name of a long defunct New Orleans minor league franchise.  Apparently the brown pelican is the Louisiana state bird.  I'm sure Louisianans all know this and are very proud.  I don't know the state bird of the state I live in, so...  I'm assuming people in Louisiana who like sports don't know or care either.

I was pretty doubtful that this name would be able to capture what the new ownership is hoping for, a new stronger connection to the community of New Orleans.  Like many other commentators and reporters in the sports community, my first thought was choosing the pelican as a mascot for a professional sports team in one of the biggest leagues in the world is a huge laughable mistake.

Then I saw these fan generated logos and designs and decided this may actually work out.  One can only hope the official design team takes some pointers from these, and also from Jay-Z 's successful redesign of the Nets franchise logo and colors.

This circular design makes me think of university.  It also makes the bird far less goofy.  The color scheme doesn't match up, however.  There are rumors that red/navy/gold are proposed instead of the blue/purple used now.  Also, mardi gras colors (yellow/green/purple) are used by the Hornets now as alternate colors.  

The XFL called.  They say this one is awesome.  It is a pretty badass design, but seems more suited for lacrosse or roller derby than the NBA.  Also, I'm not sure how well a jesters hat will go over if you're trying to be taken seriously.  

Simplicity.  This reminds me of the new Nets look.  Not overly complicated, but still clever, incorporating the mascot, and the importance of music to the city.  It does look like a logo for an automobile company though.  

This one also makes the pelican seem less goofy.  Incorporating the NOLA logo used as an alternate now is a good idea to bridge the new with the old identities.  The top hat is pretty cool too.  Once again, the color scheme would change...

This one seems more appropriate for the minor leagues.  The bird looks smushed.  However, I do like circular designs.  

Note how it incorporates the fleur di lis design seen in the old Hornets patch.  the color scheme is able to be changed easily.  It's simple, easily recognizable, and not silly.  

I've used the term minor league a lot in this post.  This one fits into that category too.  The floating bird head looks stupid.  I'm betting the real logo, when revealed, will look more like this than any of the others.  Because I'm a pessimist.  

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