Report: NBA May Change New Orleans Hornets' Branding Following Sale

By Kris Hughes

If you think about it, the New Orleans Hornets have a nonsensical nickname.

When is the last time you were stung walking down Bourbon Street?

Or, when was the last time you did a double-take when taking a stroll down the gritty streets of Salt Lake City to get a better look at that Charlie Parker-clone?

I digress.

Reports suggest the NBA might entertain the possibility of changing the New Orleans franchise’s nickname once the pending sale of the team is finalized, and a new ownership group emerges.

There are plenty of branding and merchandise implications if the team were to be re-branded, the least of which is the battle which would surely take place about who “owns” the rights to the Hornets brand and brand marks going forward if the New Orleans franchise chooses to no longer use it.

Would the brand fall back to current Charlotte Bobcats owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan since the team originated in Charlotte? Or, would the rights fall to a different party all-together depending on the succession of past ownership groups?

It’s not clear on the surface and would no doubt be the focus of litigation by god-knows-who-all.

On a lighter note, what are some potential nicknames for a New Orleans franchise which once had a perfect moniker- the Jazz– which was the subject of my earlier Utah joke?

Team executives could turn back the clock, tip the cap to the city’s history, and rename the Hornets the Buccaneers after New Orleans’ first professional basketball team which slogged through three seasons in the early days of the old American Basketball Association in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Since the Tampa Bay NFL franchise already has these rights, it would probably be a pointless and protracted battle.

The Jazz nickname makes the most sense, but because of the marketing geniuses who believed it was appropriate for Utah (still haven’t wrapped my head around this one), it won’t happen.

Do you have any suggestions?

They’ll be better than any I can come up with, and we all know, better than any David Stern could possibly brainstorm.

New Orleans Swamp?

Nah. Too literal.

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