JDefense with John DeShazier

January 24, 2013

Pelicans?

Pelicans.

And the belief here is that from the new logo, to the deep-rooted connection to the state, to environmental and educational connotations that can be drawn to the state bird, to the successful teams the NBA franchise expects to field in the coming seasons, you’ll learn to like, if not love, the new name of New Orleans’ basketball team.

Oh, the wisecracks have flown fast and furious. And, quiet as it’s kept, some have been fairly witty. And by the way, there’s no crime in being able to laugh at ourselves from time to time.

But research tells us that this name isn’t the result of purposeless randomness. It tells us that pelicans are nurturing, resilient, tough. It tells us that, despite disasters natural and man-made, the large water bird has survived and flourished in Louisiana.

So, quips or not, there seems to be every reason to like being linked to such a representation.

Now, I won’t pretend the name won’t take a little getting used to. Let’s face it: Change rarely is met with overwhelming approval. Often it’s greeted with minor, or major, pushback from the people it’s meant to benefit or impress.

But humor me, and let’s partake of a quick survey.

Heat. Thunder. Knicks/Knickerbockers. Lakers. Clippers.

Each is a name that might’ve been frowned upon when initially introduced in its current city, but has become beloved and/or synonymous with its franchise.

So, too, will Pelicans gain its connection with the NBA team.

True, it now might better be known in New Orleans for its affiliation to the city’s former baseball team, which counts among its alumni two guys named “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Earl Weaver. That tradition was a rich one in New Orleans, a 70-plus year association.

But that doesn’t preclude this association from becoming rich in its own right, or prevent these Pels from carving out their own niche and becoming beloved for their own traditions and achievements.

So today, Jan. 24, 2013, is significant for New Orleans’ NBA franchise. It moved toward shedding its label as a team from Charlotte, N.C., and becoming a team whose name is more New Orleans-centric.

Pelicans?

Pelicans.

Open your mind, dig under its surface, and give it a chance to grow on you.