So it appears an NBA mascot shift is in the offing. New Orleans owner Tom Benson, who has been itching to change the name of his team since buying the struggling franchise, wants to rename the ill-titled Hornets – and call his team the New Orleans Pelicans.
Yes, they do a lot of drink down there on Bourbon Street. And if you’ve ever seen Mr. Benson boogie after a Saints game, you know he rarely misses a party.
But here’s the good part. Michael Jordan, who is willing to do anything to appease his suffering Charlotte Bobcats fans – anything short of building a solid organization and winning, apparently – wants to bury the Bobcats name and bring back the Hornets. Ah the days of Mugsy Bogues, Larry “Grandmamma” Johnson and Alonzo Mourning … and actually winning more than 25 games in a season.
But why stop there? If the Hornets are going home to Charlotte, can’t the Jazz come home to New Orleans? Ah, the days of Pete Maravich and Truck Robinson come racing home. The Jazz belong in Utah about as much as Tabernacle choir music belongs in the French Quarter.
So Jazz goes back to New Orleans and now Utah needs a name. What is the most famous thing about Utah? The Great Salt Lake! Perfect. Now add in the fact that the Lakers never made sense as a name for Los Angeles, since they are close to an ocean but there isn’t a lake in sight. Plus it will really tick off all the Laker fans that will have to buy new gear.
So the Lakers go to Utah and Los Angeles need a name. Los Angeles hardly ever gets to name a sports team, because they usually come from somewhere else (the Dodgers from Brooklyn, the Rams from Cleveland, etc.) and this would be a great opportunity. But L.A. will do what comes naturally and steal a name from somewhere else. Somewhere cool … magical … I got it!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Los Angeles Magic. It’s perfect for Tinseltown: Magic Johnson is not only one of the team’s iconic players, but one who believes the team should never make a move without consulting him. How about just using one of Magic’s big smiles as a logo?
Wait, should Charlotte become the Jordans? Forget it, I’m on a roll.
So the Magic goes to Los Angeles and Orlando needs a name. We could be cute and go with something the area is full of, like cougars, but Magic was cool because of Disneyworld and we’ll stay with that theme.
What about Wizards? Same general idea as Magic. And let’s face it, there’s nothing magical about letting both Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard leave in their prime. Wizards are more unpredictable – and cranky.
So the Wizards go to Orlando and Washington D.C. needs a name. I know, I can hear all the suggestions now. The Gridlocks? The Deficits?
But with the Fiscal Cliff looming on the horizon, I think it’s the perfect time to send Capitol Hill some Bucks! This wouldn’t require bipartisan agreement or a tax hike. And if you don’t think there are any deer in Virginia … there are. I Googled it.
So the Bucks go to D.C. and Milwaukee needs a nickname. But since this column can’t go on forever and Milwaukee hasn’t been NBA relevant since the days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, this is as good a place as any to halt all this relocation and award the franchise a brand new mascot.
Hey, how about Pelicans?
Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.