Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shuffling NBA Nicknames

I know I'm behind the curve on this, but, courtesy of Paul Lukas's always entertaining "Uni Watch," I just read that the New Orleans Hornets new owner, Tom Benson (also the owner of the New Orleans Saints) wants to change the team's name to reflect something more New Orleans-esque. So what should it be?

Well, the obvious answer is the Jazz. The "New Orleans Jazz" is pretty much perfect, but I can't see Utah giving that name up. (Although coming up with Utah-centric team nicknames is an exercise in hilarity. The Utah Ivory? Utah Pearls? Utah Alabaster? Salt Lake City Brighams? Latter Day Utes?  The Salt Lake Polygamists - which you could shorten to the "Mists"? The Caffeine Free Diet Dunks, or the "Decafs" for short? Oh, I could go on all day with this.)

Anyway, let's assume "Jazz" is off the table. Let's also assume that this means that the Charlotte Bobcats can go back to being the Charlotte Hornets, because 1. they were named in part because the original owner (who no longer even owns the team) was named Bob, and 2. because "Hornets" is actually a reference to the area during the Revolutionary War. Plus, every casual basketball fan I know still think the "Hornets" are located in Charlotte, so it just causes mass confusion when anyone says "Charlotte Bobcats." No one thinks that's a real team. (And they're partly right.)

So what are our options here? (And don't suggest Hurricanes. It's not going to happen.) New Orleans has a tremendously rich tradition, with tons of different areas you could pull ideas from: music (damn you, again, Utah!), architecture, art, war, trade, a confluence of French, English, and some Spanish cultures. Personally, I'd like to see something that everyone would get, but that still reflects New Orleans and is extremely cool. Because as cool as the New Orleans Tremé would be, no one would understand the reference.

And I don't think the commissioner would allow a team named the New Orleans Bourbon to grace arenas around the nation. The New Orleans Bayou could be cool, as could the New Orleans Creoles or the New Orleans Cajuns, although I don't really know enough about New Orleans to know how everyone there would feel about those names, and whether or not they could be seen as offensive. (I've only been there twice, and didn't get to experience much of that specific culture either time.)

I think a word in French would be kind of cool as well. The New Orleans Fleurs-de-lis would be epic. Even though that's the fleur de lis is the logo for the Saints. The New Orleans Sabres (swords) would be cool too, but the Buffalo hockey team already has that. Or the New Orleans Chevaux de Bataille (warhorses) could also be cool - but that's lengthy and I can already see people crying racism over it. Or anything else to do with heraldry could be cool. The New Orleans Chevrons. The New Orleans Croix. 

You could always go the lazy route and just go with New Orleans Gators, but that really does nothing for me.

So what do you guys think? What would you name a New Orleans based team if you can't name it the Jazz or Saints?


  1. Was going to recommend using Jazz en francais, but that's just le Jazz, which wouldn't work. I don't know too much about New Orleans to think of a name, but I like the idea of French (until we have to hear everyone struggle to pronounce it).

    Utah, on the other hand, has no nicknames I can think of that would be "unoffensive". The Utah Salt?

  2. Yeah, I wasn't really trying to be offensive. Just the thought of Utah and Jazz going together made me want to throw a few good-natured barbs their way. I actually think the "Cougars" would be a really good name for that team if they don't mind having the same mascot as BYU. Then you'd really have a great three way shuffle. Jazz to New Orleans, Hornets to Charlotte, Bobcats/Cougars to Utah. Hell, even the Utah Bobcats isn't terrible...

  3. It seems anything other than Jazz looks weird in Utah.....I dunno, there don't seem to be anything good for Utah.