Say hello to the New Orleans Pelicans.
That's the moniker that will replace the Hornets starting next season, team owner Tom Benson announced Thursday. The name change will take effect after the end of the NBA season.
The name symbolizes Louisiana's initiative of coastal restoration and wildlife conservation, according to a statement released by the team.
Former owner George Shinn originally moved the Hornets to New Orleans from Charlotte in 2002. Shinn sold the team to the league in 2010.
Benson, who also owns the NFL's New Orleans Saints, wanted to give his team a closer connection to the city after purchasing the franchise from the league last year. He eventually settled on "Pelicans," which is both the state bird of Louisiana and the name of a defunct minor league baseball team from New Orleans.
The color scheme also shifts to blue, gold and red. The Hornets' currently sport teal, purple and gold.
With the "Hornets" name no longer in use, the Charlotte Bobcats are exploring the possibility of reverting to the "Charlotte Hornets." The Bobcats, owned by Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, have hired polling company Harris Interactive to see how much a name change would benefit the team financially, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Odd pro sports team names
It's safe to say "Pelicans" doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of professional athletes, but it's not the only awkward major pro sports team name. Here are five strange monikers:
-- Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
-- Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
-- Houston Texans (NFL)
-- Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
-- Washington Wizards (NBA)