New Orleans Pelicans
|New Orleans Pelicans|
|History||New Orleans Hornets
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
New Orleans Pelicans
|Arena||Smoothie King Center|
|City||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Team colors||Navy Blue, Gold, Red, White
|General manager||Dell Demps|
|Head coach||Monty Williams|
|Division titles||1 (2008)|
|Retired numbers||1 (7)|
The New Orleans Pelicans are an American professional basketball team based in New Orleans, Louisiana, that competes in the National Basketball Association (NBA). They play in the Southwest Division of the league's Western Conference. The franchise was established as the New Orleans Hornets in the 2002–03 season due to the relocation of the Charlotte Hornets after spending 1988–2002 based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the franchise temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City, where they spent two seasons officially known as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. The team returned to New Orleans full-time for the 2007–08 season. On January 24, 2013, the franchise announced it would rename itself as the New Orleans Pelicans. The name change to the Pelicans took effect after the conclusion of the 2012–13 season. The Charlotte Hornets name, history and records from 1988–2002 were returned to its original city to be used by the then-Charlotte Bobcats franchise, starting May 20, 2014.
In 11 seasons of play since the original franchise relocated from North Carolina, the New Orleans franchise has achieved an overall regular season record of 453–515, and has qualified for the postseason five times. Their achievements include one playoff series victory and one division title.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Logo and uniforms
- 3 Players
- 4 Franchise awards and honors
- 5 Seasons
- 6 Home arenas
- 7 Mascot
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
1985–2002: The Charlotte Hornets
In 1985 the NBA was planning to expand by four teams. George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, North Carolina, wanted to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area, and he assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise. Some critics doubted that Charlotte could support an NBA team or fill the Charlotte Coliseum, a state-of-the-art arena under construction that would seat almost 24,000 spectators – the largest basketball-specific arena ever to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. Charlotte was awarded a franchise on April 5, 1987, the 24th franchise of the NBA, to begin play in 1988. Franchises were also granted to Miami, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and Orlando.
Originally, the new team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but a name-the-team contest yielded "Hornets" as the winning choice. The name was derived from the city's fierce resistance to British occupation during the Revolutionary War, which prompted the British commander, Lord Cornwallis, to refer to it as "a veritable nest of hornets." The name had been used for Charlotte sports teams before, including a minor league baseball team that was located in the city from 1901 to 1972, as well as a World Football League team that played there from 1974 to 1975. The team chose teal as its primary color.
Despite initial concerns that the Coliseum was too big, the Hornets were a runaway hit in their first season, leading the NBA in attendance, a feat they would achieve seven more times in Charlotte. Eventually, the Hornets would sell out 364 consecutive games—almost nine consecutive seasons.
By 1998, however, the team's popularity had begun to sag due to fan discontent with Shinn's personnel moves. Michael Jordan, a North Carolina native, began negotiations to become part-owner of the team, but talks collapsed when Shinn refused to grant Jordan total control over the basketball side of the operation. The team's attendance dropped to eleventh in the league for the season. In the 2000–01 season they made it to the conference semifinals, but their popularity continued to fall, with the team finishing twenty-first in the league in attendance for the season. In the following season, they finished the season twenty-ninth (last) in the league in attendance, a stark contrast to their earlier years in Charlotte.
Relocation to New Orleans
While the Hornets continued to put a competitive team on the court, the team's attendance fell dramatically. Many attributed this lapse in popularity to the owner George Shinn, who was slowly becoming despised by the people of the city. In 1997, a Charlotte woman claimed that Shinn had raped her, and the resulting trial severely tarnished his reputation in the city. The consensus was that while Charlotte was as basketball-crazy as ever, fans took out their anger at Shinn on the team. Shinn had also become discontented with the Coliseum. Although it had been considered state-of-the-art when it opened, it was now considered obsolete due to a limited number of luxury boxes. On March 26, 2001, both the Hornets and the Vancouver Grizzlies applied for relocation to Memphis, Tennessee. Ultimately, it was the Grizzlies who made the move. Shinn issued an ultimatum: unless the city built a new arena at no cost to him, the Hornets would leave town. The city initially refused, leading Shinn to consider moving the team to either Norfolk, Louisville, St. Louis, or Memphis. Of the cities in the running, only St. Louis was a larger media market than Charlotte at the time; also, it was the only one of the four to have previously had an NBA franchise — the St. Louis Hawks, who moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1968.
Finally, a new arena in Uptown, which would eventually become the Charlotte Bobcats Arena (now known as Time Warner Cable Arena), was included in a non-binding referendum for a larger arts-related package, and Shinn withdrew his application to move the team. Polls showed the referendum on its way to passage. However, just days before the referendum, Mayor Pat McCrory vetoed a living wage ordinance. The veto prompted many of the city's black ministers to oppose the referendum; they felt it was immoral for the city to build a new arena when city employees weren't paid enough to make a living. After the failed referendum, city leaders devised a plan to build a new arena in a way that did not require voter support, but made it known that they would not even consider building it unless Shinn sold the team. While even the NBA acknowledged that Shinn had alienated fans, league officials felt such a demand would anger other owners. The city council refused to remove the statement, leading the Hornets to request a move to New Orleans. Although New Orleans was a smaller television market, a deal was quickly made to play at the New Orleans Arena, next door to the Louisiana Superdome. Before the Hornets were eliminated from the playoffs, the NBA approved the deal. As part of a deal, the NBA promised that Charlotte would get a new team, which took the court two years later as the Charlotte Bobcats.
In a 2008 interview with the Charlotte Observer, Shinn, who has not returned to Charlotte since the Hornets moved, admitted that the "bad judgment I made in my life" played a role in the Hornets' departure. He also said that if he had it to do all over again, he would not have withdrawn from the public after the sexual assault trial. Shinn emphasized how he was making amends by committing to New Orleans saying, "I've made enough mistakes in my life. I'm not going to make one here. This city needs us here. We're going to make this (New Orleans) thing work."
2002–2005: Early years in New Orleans
The Hornets opened their inaugural season in New Orleans on October 30, 2002, against New Orleans' previous NBA franchise, the Utah Jazz. In the first regular season NBA game played in New Orleans in over 17 years, the Hornets defeated the Jazz 100–75, and posthumously retired #7 of "Pistol" Pete Maravich during halftime. The Hornets finished the season with a 47–35 record but were defeated by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. Following the season, the team unexpectedly fired head coach Paul Silas and replaced him with Tim Floyd. The Hornets began the 2003–04 season strong with a 17–7 start but sputtered at the end and finished 41–41. They lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2004 playoffs. After the season, Floyd was fired and the team hired Byron Scott as its new head coach.
During the previous two seasons the Hornets competed in the NBA's Eastern Conference. The 2004–05 season saw the team moved to the Western Conference's Southwest Division. In a season marred by injury to the team's three all-stars, the team finished the year with a franchise-worst record of 18–64.
2005–2011: Chris Paul era
Because of the catastrophic devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina upon the communities of southeastern Louisiana, the Hornets franchise temporarily relocated its base of operations to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 2005–06 and 2006–07, posting records of 38–44 and 39–43 respectively. During this time, the franchise was known as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. In these two seasons, most home games were played at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, while a few remained at New Orleans Arena. One year after the Hornets moved back to New Orleans permanently, the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City, becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Hornets franchise returned to New Orleans full-time for the 2007–2008 season, with all 41 home games in the New Orleans Arena. The 2008 NBA All-Star Game and its accompanying festivities were awarded to New Orleans and a serious marketing campaign was commenced in February 2007. Healthier than previous seasons, the Hornets raced to a 29–12 record at the halfway mark, completing the regular season with a record of 56–26, making the season their most successful ever. The Hornets also won their first-ever division title, winning the Southwest Division. Having clinched the 2nd overall seed for the Western Conference in the 2008 playoffs, the Hornets beat the Dallas Mavericks in the first round but eventually lost to the defending-champion San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the conference semifinals.
In August 2008 the Hornets unveiled a modified logo and new uniforms with the colors of Creole blue, purple, and Mardi Gras gold, and after six seasons, the pinstripes were reinstated on the uniforms. The Hornets also introduced a yellow uniform in 2010 which is used mostly in games played on Saturday at home and on the road. The Hornets finished the 2008–09 season with a 49–33 record. Paired up with the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs, the Hornets were eliminated in five games. The Hornets started the 2009–10 season in a disappointing fashion, and head coach Byron Scott was fired after a 3–6 start to the season. General manager Jeff Bower took over the head coaching duties for the remainder of the season. The Hornets finished the season with a 37–45 record, finishing last in the Southwest division they had won only two seasons before. Jeff Bower later resigned as head coach, and Monty Williams was brought in as new head coach. The team finished the 2010–11 season with a 46–36 record and qualified for the 2011 NBA Playoffs, where they lost to the Lakers 4–2.
2011–2013: Last years as the Hornets
Before the 2011–12 NBA season the Hornets were considering trade offers for Chris Paul. Paul eventually requested a trade to the New York Knicks. The Hornets looked at many teams including the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors as trade partners, but Paul had made it clear he would only re-sign with the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers, or the Los Angeles Clippers.
On December 14, 2011, the Hornets agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers that would send Paul to Los Angeles in exchange for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and a first-round draft pick acquired by the Clippers from a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2004. At the end of the 2011–12 NBA season, the Hornets had the worst record in the West, 21–45.
On April 13, 2012, it was announced that Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, had purchased the franchise from the NBA for $338 million. In addition, Benson has announced that he will change the team name to something that would better suit the region, fueling rumors that the Hornets name could one day return to Charlotte, where the Bobcats play. In June 2012, Benson appointed two senior Saints executives to supervise the Hornets as well: Saints general manager Mickey Loomis became head of basketball operations, overseeing general manager Dell Demps, and Saints business operations head Dennis Lauscha took on the same role with the Hornets.
On May 30, 2012, the Hornets were awarded the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and subsequently drafted Anthony Davis. They also drafted Austin Rivers with the 10th pick (acquired from the Clippers as part of the Chris Paul trade).
2013–present: Reborn as the Pelicans
New owner Tom Benson had indicated early in his ownership that he wished to change the team's name to something more local. He preferred that the Utah Jazz, who had been founded in New Orleans in 1974 and played there until 1979, give up the "Jazz" nickname. However, the Jazz indicated they had no interest in returning the name due to over 30 years of history associated with it. Benson had also heavily favored the names "Brass" and "Krewe."
However, on December 4, 2012, it was reported that the Hornets would change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans beginning with the 2013-2014 season. The team name is inspired by Louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican.
The name "Pelicans" previously had been used by a minor-league baseball team that played in New Orleans from 1901 to 1957. The Hornets organization officially confirmed the name change in a press meeting held on January 24, 2013, where officials unveiled the team's new logos and blue-gold-red color scheme. On April 18, 2013, after the end of the team's 2012–2013 season, the team's name was officially changed to the Pelicans.
Following the New Orleans franchise's 2013 disestablishment of the "Hornets" name, on May 21, 2013, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan officially announced the organization had submitted an application to change the name of his franchise to the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014–2015 NBA season pending a majority vote for approval by the NBA Board of Governors at a meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 18, 2013. Then-NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Adam Silver had previously pointed out the fact that the league owns the rights to the name Hornets and that could speed up the process. The NBA unanimously approved the name change starting with 2014-15.
On June 27, 2013, during the 2013 NBA Draft, the Pelicans selected Nerlens Noel 6th overall, and traded him along with a 2014 protected first-round pick for All-Star Point Guard Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers and the 42nd pick, Pierre Jackson. At a May 20, 2014 press conference making the Charlotte Bobcats' renaming to Hornets official, it was announced that the Pelicans agreed to transfer the records and statistics of the Charlotte Hornets from the 1988 through 2002 seasons to the current Charlotte franchise, thus unifying Charlotte NBA basketball history under one franchise; the team records and statistics since the 2002 move to New Orleans would be retained by the Pelicans.
Logo and uniforms
On August 1, 2013, the Pelicans released their new uniforms. NBA teams are not allowed to have alternate uniforms during their first season of operation. They have added a red alternate for the 2014-15 season that will be worn 4 times in the year.
New Orleans Pelicans roster
|New Orleans Pelicans retired numbers|
|7||"Pistol" Pete Maravich||G||1974–1979 1|
- 1 The New Orleans Hornets retired Maravich's number during their first game in New Orleans in honor of his basketball contributions to the state of Louisiana, both during his college career at LSU and his professional career with the city's former NBA team, the New Orleans Jazz.
Franchise awards and honors
- Chris Paul – 2006
- Byron Scott – 2008
- Byron Scott – 2008
- Chris Paul – 2008
- Chris Paul – 2009
- Smoothie King Center (2002–present), formerly known as New Orleans Arena (2002–2014)
- Other temporary facilities due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina:
Pierre the Pelican is the official mascot for the Pelicans. He was introduced on October 30, 2013, the opening night of regular season for the team at home against the Indiana Pacers. The name for the mascot was selected by the fans through an online poll on the team's website. However, Pierre's unconventional design frightened some fans. The mascot's redesigned head was released on February 11. The Pelicans' former mascot when the organization was formerly the Hornets was Hugo the Hornet who was part of the organization from 1988-2013. Hugo will return as the mascot for the returning Charlotte Hornets starting the 2014-2015 season.
- George Shinn, team owner, 2002–2010
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- World Class City, Third World Paycheck. Creative Loafing, 2001-12-29
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- We Beelive: Charlotte...take back your Hornets! Facebook Page
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- "List of Louisiana State symbols". Louisiana Division of Administration. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
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- Keith Pompey, The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Holiday-Noel trade becomes official". Philly.com. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
- UniformCritics.com, Photos of New Orleans Pelicans Blue Uniform. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- UniformCritics.com, Photos of New Orleans Pelicans White Uniform. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
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- Ben Golliver (October 31, 2013). "New Orleans Pelicans introduce new mascot ‘Pierre’ as part of rebranding effort". SportsIllustrated.CNN.com. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
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