Statement from Pelicans owner Gayle Benson

May 9, 2018

I would like to thank so many people for a memorable and exciting 2017-2018 New Orleans Pelicans season. First and foremost, our amazing fans who passionately backed our team. All of our players, coaches and staff were genuinely moved and inspired by their support. It is truly exciting to think about next season and we are anxious to build on the momentum and enthusiasm that gripped our entire region. We look forward to making our home, the Smoothie King Center, one of the most difficult venues for opposing teams to play in and we took a major step forward in creating that home court advantage this season.

I am confident that we are heading in the right direction as an organization and believe we have secured a solid foundation of players, coaches and staff on which to build a championship caliber team. Our season was marked by overcoming adversity both on and off the court and, as is often the case, the adversity strengthened us, brought our organization closer together, and fueled the good fortunes we experienced. I would like to thank all our team, from the bottom of my heart, for the professionalism, passion, grit and determination they displayed. We will now quickly turn our attention to building off of the successes we enjoyed this season, highlighted, of course, by our thrilling playoff sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs. While we did not reach our ultimate goal of winning an NBA title, we embrace the goals in front of us and will continue to provide the resources necessary to, hopefully one day soon, raise a championship banner into the rafters.

In closing, I know that my late husband, Tom, would have thoroughly enjoyed the team’s inspired efforts late in the season and throughout the playoffs. He was adamant that we continue to invest in building a team that could compete for championships while serving the city he loved so much. That expectation will not waver under my stewardship. Once again, I wish to thank the players, coaches and staff, as well as our amazing fans for making this a memorable and heartwarming Pelicans season. We look forward to even greater success in the future!