Renaming the New Orleans Hornets would be, in theory, a wise move on new owner Tom Benson’s part. The name, a holdover from the team’s days in Charlotte, had no ties to New Orleans, and made the franchise seem distant to NBA fans in south Louisiana.
The only reason I prefaced my above statement with the phrase “in theory” is because the franchise could conceivably pick a name that would make it even harder for local fans to support the team. For instance, an ESPN affiliated web site reported the New Orleans Spirit and New Orleans Angels were the clubhouse leaders to become the team’s new nickname.
I hope the report is wrong. New Orleans Angels would immediately become one of the worst nicknames in professional sports history. New Orleans Spirit is slightly better, but is still ambiguous and fails to call to mind New Orleans.
So what should the team’s new nickname be?
Well, in an ideal world, Utah would hand over its Jazz moniker back to New Orleans, which initially held the team and nickname.
I don’t see that happening.
With that in mind, I submit that New Orleans’ NBA team should be called the New Orleans Rebirth.
I picked the nickname for three reasons.
A) It signifies the return to prominence of a great American city decimated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
B) It ties into the religious/mystical theme of the city. The city’s NFL franchise is the Saints, for instance. You could argue Angels does this too. But I hate the bush league way New Orleans Angels sounds.
C) One of New Orleans’ best jazz bands — Rebirth Brass Band — has the word in its name. So, if the team cannot just go ahead and call itself Jazz, it could tie itself to a great jazz band.
Say what you want about Rebirth, but it’s better than Angels or Spirit. Almost anything would be.