WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- NBA franchise New Orleans Hornets pronounced the name change at a new release on Thursday, replacing the former nickname "Hornets" with "Pelicans".
"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 Tom Benson, owner of the team.
"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."
Benson also unveiled the team's new logo at the news conference. The team decided to change the color scheme to blue, gold and red. The new name and the new color scheme were to be used after this season.
The current Hornets team inherited the nickname of "Charlotte Hornets" after the relocation from Charlotte to New Orleans in 2002. Tom Benson, who came into charge last April, had been thinking about the name change for a long time. He picked " Pelicans" because the bird, state bird for Louisiana and the symbolic brand for the region, was best to represent the state and the New Orleans city.
The Hornets was a young team in NBA, and it was the first name change for the franchise since their entrance into NBA in 1988.
The name change was still in want of an approval from the league, but NBA Commissioner David Stern would support any name the franchise picked.
New Orleans Hornets were currently ranked the last place in NBA Western Conference. The young team was expected to move to a higher step next season, and the name change probably would be a good start.