With the news that Tom Benson is buying the NBA franchise New Orleans Hornets, it seems like a good time to review piss-poor unoriginal nicknames, like the Hornets, or inappropriate nicknames that don't fit well, like the Jazz in Utah.
Benson may consider re-naming the team to start a new era and try to benefit from the brand marketing of a different nickname. If a new nickname can galvanize the area, interest in the team may go up, too.
Can Benson try to bargain to get the Jazz back for his team in New Orleans and put things like they should be. The world can seem upside-down when some of these team names travel to foreign lands.
Nicknames should try to represent an area's uniqueness or attempt to instill pride for how a team plays. Many times, nicknames are carried forth from past franchises only as a source of nostalgia.
#7 Lakers have plenty of titles and history in Los Angeles now, brought over from Minneapolis a few decades back, but for the glitzy Hollywood area, the nickname is boring. There are lakes in the area and there is some rhythm to the name (L and A as first two letters), but considering what could have been, Lakers seems like it was a decision made out of convenience. It doesn't seem like it was thought out too much and the people who moved the franchise just settled on it.
Michael Jordan might as well find a corporate sponsor and loan out the nickname for a pretty penny. How about the Charlotte Energizers, after the battery? The bunny can be the mascot.
#5 Memphis Grizzlies is another lazy nickname. The franchise came from Vancouver, an area with Grizzly Bears somewhere near the area. Couldn't Memphis have been just slightly original and bold to find something that fits their city better?
Memphis doesn't have Grizzlies, unless their counting the way the players can act when they play 'Bad Boy' basketball, like the old Detroit Pistons. (Seems like a stretch. Stretch is a cool nickname, but usually for one guy, not a team.)
Surely, NYC deserves something more electric, entertaining and interesting.
Wizards has been criticized because of the possible link to the KKK, who used the title of Wizard to name its higher ranking members. Most of the NBA players are African-American, so for obvious reasons, another name would have been more classy.
There may be no relation at all between the current nickname and the KKK, but that's not the point. It's hard to ask African-American fans to chant the name Wizards.
#2 Utah Jazz and #1 New Orleans Hornets for reasons described above.
Also, Jazz music has no origin in Utah, in fact, music and dancing for a long time, were frowned upon by the Mormon dominated region of Utah. Jazz music got most of its upbringing in New Orleans and the French Quarter.
This article was originally published April 14th. Since its publishing, Benson has reiterated much of what was written here. Hopefully, it all comes together to make the franchise work. If they can't get Jazz back, then some suggestions for nicknames could include Craws, Creoles, Captains, Fats, Favors or Crescent City Nolas.
Now, of course, everyone has heard the news of the 'Pelicans' possibly becoming the new nickname. So will this nickname be shortened to the 'Pels' or the 'Cans'?