Friday was both a great day for the NBA and a sad one. First Commissioner David Stern announced that New Orleans Saints’ owner Tom Benson had purchased the New Orleans Hornets. Then Stern announced that the Maloof Brothers had more or less taken a dump on the city of Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson and most importantly thousands of loyal Kings fans by backing out of arena agreement all sides celebrated at All-Star Weekend. The day and weekend should’ve gone to New Orleans. The team and its fan base couldn’t have found a better owner. Benson is a Louisiana native and as Jimmy Smith with the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes, the new owner is already looking at ways to give the team more of a New Orleans feel to it. The first step: giving them a new nickname.
“We need to find a name like (Jazz),” Benson said, referring to New Orleans first NBA team that relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979. “Whether we can get that or let us use that, you’ve got to know we’re working on it. We’d like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved, but we’re not letting up on it, either. Because we’ve got a good relationship with the commissioner and his people and we’re going to be on them daily to do something.”
Look it would really make sense for the Utah Jazz to release the team name and give it back to New Orleans. And while you’re at it, give the new jerseys back too. Those are pretty nice looking. But let’s assume that doesn’t happen. What should New Orleans rename the team? Kelly Dwyer with Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie gave a couple of recommendations. The coolest one is the New Orleans Creole Kings and since Maloofs are seemingly gone from Sacramento, the name “Kings” may open up soon. Here’s what some friends and I came up with.
The New Orleans Hand Grenades: This will never happen since we’re naming the team after as my girlfriend Melissa put it “best green alcoholic drink in the city”. Still it’s a fun name and it would be even more drinking said alcoholic beverage at a game. We can still make that happen, right?
The New Orleans Beignets: A delicious pastry doesn’t strike fear in the heart of anyone, but it’s a nice way to honor delicious New Orleans pastries.
The New Orleans Jesters: Jokers, Jesters, Revelers. I wouldn’t hate these.
The New Orleans Hurricanes: You can’t. It’s too soon. It may always be too soon. Plus Carolina in the NHL and the University of Miami already also use that nickname.
The New Orleans Heritage: Not the coolest nickname, but it would honor one of the cities most cherished festivals, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Still, not very sexy.
The New Orleans Zulus: In honor of one the city’s most popular Mardi Gras parades. The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is one of the oldest carnival krewes. You can imagine some nice looking logos and the name “Zulu” just sounds cool.
The New Orleans Funk: We may have a winner. Credit again goes to the girlfriend on this one. If you can’t bring the Jazz back, you might as well bring the Funk. The puns are endless. “Funk of the Night” instead of “Dunk of the Night”. “That’s a nasty funk” can be used for really poor play AND really good play. Imagine a shirt that reads “What The Funk” or simply “WTF”. If we’re looking for some Saints synergy, how about some “Funk Dat” chants to go along with the “Who Dat” chant? I hope Mr. Benson hires me to help market this team name.
One last thing about the New Orleans franchise. I hope they keep the color scheme they’ve got going. Maybe a little less teal and more purple, green and yellow. You know, Mardi Gras colors. Also, keep Dell Demps and future coach of the year Monty Williams. They’ve been great in not so great circumstances.