Posted December 19, 2012

NBA files trademarks for five names to replace Hornets, including ‘Pelicans’

Ben Golliver, David Stern, New Orleans Hornets, New Orleans Pelicans, Tom Benson
(dinoDesigns/99designs.com)

A user-designed logo for the New Orleans Pelicans. (dinoDesigns/99designs.com)

By Ben Golliver

The New Orleans Hornets have taken an important step toward changing their moniker to the “Pelicans” for upcoming seasons.

Earlier this month, Yahoo! Sports reported that the Hornets could be re-branded as the Pelicans, the state bird of Louisiana, as early as the 2013-14 season. NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters on Dec. 5 that Hornets owner Tom Benson, who purchased his franchise from the NBA, would have a “friend in the league office” to expedite a desired name change. Benson had made it clear, as far back as April, that he wanted a more regionally appropriate name.

On Tuesday, BehindTheBuckPass.com reported that NBA attorney Anil V. George had filed trademarks for five potential team names: Pelicans, Rougarou, Mosquitos, Swamp Dogs and Bullsharks. BehindTheBuckPass.com noted that Rougarou is a “beast from Louisiana folklore,” a Swamp Dog is slang for an alligator, and that Bullsharks can be found in the Gulf of Mexico. Mosquitos are notoriously prevalent in the region.

George, identified as Senior Intellectual Property Counsel for the NBA in an online profile, has indeed filed identical trademark paperwork for those five nicknames, according to a United States Patent Office records report available on Trademarkia.com. The applications were filed on Dec. 5, according to the site, and cover “entertainment and educational services” related to a professional basketball team as well as various merchandise. The applicant listed is “New Orleans Hornets NBA Limited Partnership.”

George’s Trademarkia record includes more than 100 entries for logos and slogans related to NBA, WNBA and D-League teams.

The Times-Picayune reported Tuesday that the NBA was not available for comment and that the Hornets declined comment. A Hornets spokesperson said earlier this month that the franchise was “not confirming [Pelicans] is the name” and that the name-change process was “ongoing and still in discussions.”

The lack of an official announcement hasn’t stopped 99designs.com from launching a massive “Help brand the Pelicans!” logo design contest. As of Wednesday, more than 600 possible Pelicans logos had been submitted to the site. Many of the logos submitted reflect a navy blue, red and gold color scheme. Gayle Benson, wife of Tom Benson, reportedly prefers that combination to the Hornets’ current teal, purple and blue design.

Below, check out SI.com’s five favorite Pelicans logos from the design contest.

No. 1: This one gets everything right. The color scheme is good, the font works, the Pelican is sufficiently fearsome (the scowl) and dignified (the hat), a basketball is incorporated nicely with the wings and there’s a Jazz instrument that plays off the bird’s beak perfectly and nods to the local music scene. Big time ideas; big time execution. Darken the green to navy blue and it’s good to go right now. Somebody alert Tom Benson.

(dinoDesigns/99designs.com)

(dinoDesigns/99designs.com)

No. 2: Like No. 1 above, this one nails all the details. The colors are bold and well-coordinated, the Pelicans name is clear, the peak is prominent, a basketball is involved and there’s a crescent moon, paying homage to New Orleans’ “Crescent City” nickname.

(Mark/99designs.com)

(Mark/99designs.com)

No. 3: This one can easily be pictured as the centerpiece on a million T-shirts at your local sporting goods store. Perhaps a bit simpler than the two designs above, the bird looks great, the font leaves little question as to the team’s identity and the basketball is placed centrally for immediate recognition. Swapping blue for green could make this work even better.

(kingsandy/99designs.com)

(kingsandy/99designs.com)

No. 4: Hey, we had to include something totally different. The name “Pelicans” is a throwback to an old New Orleans baseball team and it has an ABA vibe to it, too. This design captures the quirky nickname in a way that would certainly appeal to hipsters. Including a basketball wasn’t forgotten either, but it’s done subtly so that the viewer’s attention is on the bird first, as it should be.

(Giulio Rossi/99designs.com)

(Giulio Rossi/99designs.com)

No. 5: This one got the colors right, played the basketball and beak off of each other, had a great bird altogether and the “Pelicans” font looks very NBA. The wave motion in the center of the design might serve as an unnecessary distraction and the “New Orleans” font isn’t the greatest. The shield look is very cool.

(KiMLEY/99designs.com)

(KiMLEY/99designs.com)

All designs included here with permission from 99designs.com.

18 comments
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

Toss up between 1and 5.... On a more important note... Will the Hornets name please find its way back to Charlotte or will penny pinching MJ no be able or willing to make it happen?

get1involved
get1involved

no definetly not soldiers,the idiot that said that is your typical right wing dumb @#@,,,let name them the KINGS!! sacramento will be renamed to sonics,,,,come on man ,,not pelicans!    

Mark V.1
Mark V.1

Call me hipster, but No. 4 is my pick.  It just has that yellow that screams NOLA.  No. 1, while well executed, just reminds me too much of the hideously ugly (and far too busy) designs of Iverson's Sixers and Arenas's Wizards.

touseyd
touseyd

let the fans decide its their team.

CityShai
CityShai

A couple of those logos actually look okay But the nickname Pelicans?? C'mon MAN!! That sounds horrible! Tom Benson needs to be relieved of his duties immediately if this happens! I can't imagine a announcer screaming "THE PELICANS WIN!! THE PELICANS WIN!!' LOL!! 

kappabyday
kappabyday

Seems as though since they can't have the name JAZZ back, they should be called the New Orleans RHYTHM. Besides food, N.O is known for the music.

Nola-Man-Q
Nola-Man-Q

HHUUHH. ok. I'm born & raised in NOLA & idk what a Rougarou is. dependin on what that definiton is i could get used it. ignore the ridicule we'd get about that..but that definition is important so my opinion there is tba. whatever it is though it better be plural as a name. so, rougarous?? DO NOT use pelicans or mosquitos! i buy tickets & jerseys. don't play with us like that. i am NOT interested in putting up with that ridicule & the inevitable comments about swatting us whenever we loose a quater or a half or game or get a shot blocked. NO! Pelicans has NO ring to it at all & it sounds bad. the bird looks bad as a logo. at least the bird is a predator & is local to us & is our state bird but still..smh..NO. plus it's not the right kind of predator. i've thought of aligators myself before or really gators but there's a major college team that makes that an issue. However SWAMP Dog has A LITTLE potential. Almost anything with SWAMP has a good start. i could live with it. same thing for bullsharks but i gotta see 1 & learn about what it is & what it does. it needs to be a fierce animal. i'd suggest SOLDIERS or SURVIVORS for the same reasons really. don't pick Hurricanes or any storm name. it will remind us of the worng parts of the experience. Katrina was a trauma & still is so we focus on the survival. plus the city already idenifies with those 2 nicknames. especially if we picked soldiers. they can sell soldier rags (camo bandanas) in the arena & fans can wave them as we cheer. its good synergy & solidairity for everybody. use different color camo in the military B.D.U. pattern to make different jersey's work. pink 1s for the females & efeminant guys etc..it will work. its great. we can still use a gator camoflaged in the swamp & about to strike as a logo. SAINTS & SOLDIERS has a good ring to it. its strong. we can match the colors. saints are black & gold? so make the "soldiers" blue & gold & put it in the camo pattern.. the d.j. will have a wealth of PLENTY of great local music to support that theme with. just a thought. 2 more things whiile im on the music angle. OR we could do the right thing & get Utah to give us back the "Jazz" name. its too perfect..FOR US. dispite how they got it idk what they call themsleves doin with it. then we can go back to prasing pistol pete like we should be doin. also what about the N.O. BRASS? it too has a ring to it. unlike most of the names in the article its strong too & our city likes, loves, & needs strength in our names. thats why i suggested soldiers or survivors. its like Houston with the Texans..it's representation of their city & regional spirit. its fittin but with a better ring to it. ppl will understand. i would also suggets "bullets" since no one else is using it. i say that becasue of the way N.O. will go through any and everything to get where we wanna be & to get what we want but i know yall will call it violent and negetive and ill timed so ehh.

line57
line57

God please don't let this happen. I'm from New Orleans, and I've been a Hornets fan since they moved to New Orleans. Those names and logo designs are the absolute worst I've ever seen. Pelicans and the other names are great names for your local New Orleans softball league teams. Not for an NBA world league team. How about Monarchs. Or Brass. Or Halos. Or anything but Pelicans and the other just as idiotically stupid names. I'm for Benson making deals with Utah to get Jazz back. The Commish should help with that. I don't care how you dress up the Pelicans and it's many logos. They all look stupid.  

Ant
Ant

I personally don't like teams that have more than one word in their mascot (Banana Slugs, Red Storm, Blue Devils) unless the first word is a verb (Runnin' Rebels, Fighting Irish).  Consequently, I think Swamp Dogs is ridiculous and sounds more like a forgotten DIII NCAA team rather than a pro franchise.  If Swamp Dogs means Alligator in Bayou slang, why not simply call them the New Orleans Gators or Crocs?  When I first heard Pelicans I just shook my head but its actually starting to grow on me.  And the 1st design logo is simple and clean. 

NS81
NS81

"a more regionally appropriate name"?

 

How about the Jazz!?  Oh yeah, that's already taken by that mecca of music that is Utah.

 

I really don't understand why more teams don't, or historicaly haven't changed their names when moving, when the resulting move just doesn't match.

DBLETAP
DBLETAP

All those other names are just a smokescreen.  The New Orleans Pelicans....coming soon (enough) to an arena near you....

get1involved
get1involved

 @Nola-Man-Q no no no,,,NOT SOLDIERS,,@#@! war ,,,u @#@right wing idiot!,,,,,,,,,lets name em the KINGS!!!,,    it will be available sacramento is gonna be the sonics!

NOLAughinmatter
NOLAughinmatter

 @NS81

Considering Tom Benson owns the Saints, I propose a straight up mascot trade "Jazz" for "Saints" It's perfect. I guess that wouldn't work. Why would a team with such a great history and support from it's city want to sell their identity to another team.

stagger
stagger

 @JonathanWoyke

 Yeah, but the NBA is full of em. Knickerbockers? Fear the Pants! Pistons? Scary. Thunder? Gets all the credit, while lightning does all the work. Lakers? Ooooo...water. Nuggets? Spurs? Heat? Jazz?  Wizards? Bullets was great, but not PC for today's society.  

line57
line57

 @DBLETAP

 GOD lets hope not. The absolute worlds dumbest name ever, and I'm from New Orleans. The Commish needs to step in immediately. This is a crisis. We need Jazz back.