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Color me a little disappointed, and this is from someone that truly likes the new "Pelicans" name. We'll get to that batch of disappointment later, though, because firstly we should let the soon-to-be former New Orleans Hornets describe why they did what they did with the new Pelicans logo.
The team's website points out that the lettering in the logo was inspired by street signs that dot the city's French Quarter. The team will retain the very NOLA-ish Fleur de Lys symbol both in the main logo (up top) and in an alternate logo that replaces the head and beak of the bird inside the flower. The blue in the logo stands for the state of Louisiana, the gold represents the glittery nature of the city of New Orleans, and the team's summation for choosing the color red bled down to, basically, calling the color very scary.
Pelicans, as Deadspin put it a few weeks ago in their inimitable way, are scary. These are birds of prey that are to be feared, and not mocked. Better yet, the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana has long made the pelican a symbol of their city and state. It was the name of the city's heralded minor league baseball team for decades, and the bird's resiliency in popping back from the endangered species list (pelican population dwindled in the latter half of the 20th century due to poisoning from pesticides such as DDT) and the Gulf Coast oil spill of 2010 makes the bird a perfect symbol for a team that is attempting to overcome quite a bit.
We applaud the change in team name. Even if the origin of the Hornets nickname, derived from the words of a frustrated English general fighting the colonists in the Revolutionary War, is just as cool.
What is less impressive is the actual bird in the logo. It's pretty peeved, as you can tell; and while we weren't expecting a cartoonish logo to have fun with (probably in response to what was a less than enthusiastic response to news of the name change from late in 2012, by those who were unaware of the bird's instincts and relationship to the area), this new logo feels like something the Golden State Warriors would have come out with in 1997.
Nobody in Wild Tchoupitoulas garb had to be dunking a basketball into a pelican gullet in our hopes for the new logo, nothing silly like that, but we were hoping for something that at once represented both New Orleans' resiliency, and insistence on pulling a tuba out to play at someone's funeral.
Basically, the designers didn't need to make the pelican in its New Orleans Pelican logo look angry. The team will take care of all the aggressive parts itself, as will the real life pelicans that will freaking dive out of the air to stab their prey. You don't need to make it cool, or streamlined, or impressive.
Because both the city of New Orleans, and the pelican itself, are impressive enough. They are at once tough enough, potent enough, and triumphant enough. And if you think I'm diving too far down in order to talk about a new basketball team's logo, well, forget you man -pelicans are cool.
We had our own lighthearted fun last spring when it was announced that the team was considering a name change, we hoped the pelican in this Pelican logo would represent as much. Oh well. The name is cool enough, the team is young and fun and best of all staying in New Orleans for the long haul. That's more than enough good news for now.
And we'll always have this screenshot of the former New Orleans Hornets' official website, when their countdown to Pelican launch went hilariously away;