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Hornets announce name change to Pelicans

01.25.13 at 9:30 am ET

The New Orleans Hornets are officially planning to go forward with changing their name to the Pelicans, the team announced Thursday. The NBA would still have to approve the name change, but commissioner David Stern has said he would approve whatever name Hornets owner Tom Benson chose.

The Pelicans name is associated with Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican, which was taken off the endangered species list in 2009. Brown pelicans are plentiful along Louisiana’s coast, which has been damaged significantly in recent years by storms, including Hurricane Katrina, and the 2010 BP oil spill.

“The pelican represents New Orleans, just like the Saints,” Benson said. “They have incredible resolve. If they can do that, the team can do the same.”

Rita Benson LeBlanc, Benson’s granddaughter and vice chairman of the board for the Hornets and Saints, was an advocate for the name change.

“We’re raising an entire generation to be very mindful to what happened to our coastal restoration,” Benson LeBlanc said. “Give it time, and I think everyone will be inspired [by the name change]. It’s for a greater purpose.”

The Hornets also released five new logos, changing their color scheme from teal, purple, gold and white to blue, gold and red.

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