28 Better Nicknames Than the Pelicans for New Orleans' NBA Team

The Hornets are changing their name to the Pelicans, so read our definitive list of better nicknames for a pro sports team than the Pelicans.

Tom Benson

New Orleans Hornets owner Tom Benson has reportedly decided to change the team's nickname—to the Pelicans. Love it or hate it, the Pelicans will certainly get some attention. And if this leads to the rumored reunion between the City of Charlotte and its beloved Hornets, we're totally on board.

But, the Pelicans? Really? Sure, the pelican is Louisiana's state bird, but it shouldn't take long to come up with a giant list of better nicknames for the New Orleans NBA franchise. Here's our list:

The Captains

An ode to the seafood industry that has thrived in the Gulf Coast.

The Cajuns


Look, if we can have the Philadelphia Phillies, we can have the New Orleans Cajuns.

The Choppers

This works for a helicopter or a meat cleaver. Either way, it's stronger than a big bird.

The Rebels

Borrowing the UNLV nickname would work fine in a city where rebels helped fight British control.

The Millionaires

We'd need video packages of a young Lil Wayne for the Jumbotron, but this should be doable.

The Soldiers

How else could we honor the birthplace of No Limit Records? Make 'em say ughh. Obviously.

The 18'ers

You started this, San Francisco 49ers. New Orleans was founded in 1718. So there you go.


Again, if the Philadelphia Phillies exist, The New Orleans NOLAs should, too.

The Crawfish


The Cajun classic is synonymous with New Orleans. And it's WAY more intimidating than a pelican.

The Gulf

Let's go back to the 90s era when teams were given singular nicknames, like the Magic and Heat. The New Orleans Gulf? So crazy it just might work.

The New Orleans Basketball Club

There's something so sophisticated about how European soccer clubs name their teams. Also, forgoing a nickname altogether would increase the buzz around the team.

The Frenchmen 

The French influence is everywhere in New Orleans, so why not go all in by calling the team "The Frenchmen?" It's also the name of a well-known street in The Big Easy.

The Big Easy

See how that works? It's singular and echoes the city's history. Think of the endless mascot possibilities.

The Bayou


Yeah, the city would probably get behind a team called The Bayou, don't you think? Bayou at Heat tonight. Just rolls off the tongue.

The Sailors

Sort of self-explanatory. The team could do a whole nautical theme.

The Wetlands

Swamp and marsh are probably a few things worth mentioning. It's worked okay for LSU.

Sector New Orleans

Another attempt to capture the elegance of a soccer team's naming style. Again, this would get the team tons of attention.

The Horses

This has less to do with the city itself, but shouldn't there be a team be called "The Horses" by now?

The Revelers

No city parties like New Orleans. With this nickname, every home game could be Mardi Gras.

The Brass


Since the Jazz will be keeping their nickname, despite the facts that it's a disconnect in Utah and that New Orleans is a jazz hotbed, at least use the new nickname to pay tribute to the brass bands that parade the streets. Also, the Brass is a minor league hockey team name.

The Blues

This one works in multiple ways, both as a color and a mindset.

The Bounce

New Orleans called its style of hip hop "bounce," and that's reason enough to use it as the team name.

The Ships

This nickname makes sense, because New Orleans is the fifth-largest port in the country.

The Spice


Think Zatarin's, gumbo, or any delicious food memory you have of New Orleans. Zatarin's has been based out of NOLA since 1889.

The Zephyrs

It's the nickname of a minor league team, but that never stopped anyone in the past.

The Aces

Another minor-league team name that's ready for prime time.

The Crescents

New Orleans is already nicknamed "The Crescent City."

The Skulls

The local AFL team is called the Voodoo, and the Skulls would evoke more of the spooky background behind the city.

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