Intimidating. Regal. Historic. Relevant. Awesome. Can you guess what I am doing? If you guessed listing adjectives not associated with pelicans, you would be right. Unfortunately, the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA disagrees with you and are reportedly renaming their team after the awkward, obnoxious seabird.
You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate a team name. I assume any layman of spectator athletics would know a good team name when they see it, or at the very least spot an incredibly insipid one. Now, some of you might say this is all very subjective and simply a matter of opinion. Well, you would be wrong, dang it!
It falls in line with aesthetics. There’s a science to the art. There are dos and don’ts that fall within the folkways of society. It’s the same reason interior designers exist. Sometimes people just suck at decorating and, if left to their own devices, would ruin their otherwise lovely homes. Sure, people can have vastly different yet equally stylish tastes, but even then there’s a certain threshold where bad is just bad. A threshold where the majority of mentally capacious people agree, “Gee, perhaps a giant mural of a pastel hippopotamus chewing on a box of tampons isn’t the best use of dining room wall space.” Not because it totally clashes with the drapes, but because it’s stupid.
The Pelicans is beyond that threshold. The New Orleans Tampax Hippos would still be a better moniker for a basketball franchise than the Pelicans. New Orleans could have done a better job naming the team if they force-fed an actual pelican a handful of scrabble tiles with a vile of ipecac, kicked the bird in its huge gullet, and waited to see what letters it puked up.
Why do I care so much? I’m not even a Hornets fan, after all. Well, it’s Because I find it offensive. It’s offensive to anyone who appreciates creativity. You’re marking a new era in your franchise; the name will be your first impression. Creativity counts. What drunk, ornithophilic muse guided the owner’s hand? Because, frankly, he/she/it should lay off the sauce.
“Hey! To heck with actually giving this some real thought, let’s just name our team after something we have a lot of ’round these parts. Pelicans, eh? Sure! Those bastards are everywhere. Genius! Send the memo out to the rest of the league, all teams should utilize this foolproof method of rechristening. I can see it now:”
The Utah White People
The Boston Bad Drivers
The New York Confused Tourists
The Washington Liars
The Detroit Unsolved Homicides (WNBA: Detroit Despair)
The Los Angeles Plastic People
The Orlando Meth Heads
The Miami Non-Sports Fans
The Portland Hipsters
The Brooklyn Super Hipsters
The Cleveland Nothing
Don’t worry, the creativity will eventually flock to the Pelicans (pun absolutely intended), but it will be in the form of headlines with malevolent nicknames:
That’s just off the top of my head; imagine the asinine headlines that could flow from the brain trust of idiot editors from the NY Post back pages.
Okay, I know I’ve been extremely hyperbolic throughout this prolonged rant, but there are real reasons to not like this name. The Hornets are a small market franchise who already have trouble attracting players and fans alike. Do they really think free agents are going to be proud to call themselves “Pelicans”? Do they really think people will be bragging (sans irony) about their “sweet Pelican hoodie”? Sure, in a vacuum, names like the Lakers, Canadiens, Packers and Yankees aren’t exactly cool. Outside that vacuum, though, there is a provenance and patina associated with that name which is baked in by a rich history. That makes the aforementioned names cool, or at least respectable. The Pelicans don’t have the built-in history and fan base. To people everywhere, they’re just a bunch of goofy birds with big mouths that poo everywhere. Not the lasting image players want to be remembered by, now is it?