It is, by now, established that if and when the New Orleans Hornets change their name to the Pelicans, they'll have one of the best mascots in the league. Feisty, local, unique—its got everything you'd want in a mascot, and the Pelicans will rocket to the top of the standings based on their team name alone. New Orleans management, however, doesn't appear to be entirely settled on the proposal. Whether precautionary or because the response to the Pelicans rollout didn't please them, they've trademarked a few other names to toss around before the change. From Behind the Buck Pass:
Anil V. George, the attorney who typically handles the trademarks involving NBA brand names, filed trademarks on five new potential franchise names on behalf of the New Orleans Hornets NBA Limited Partnership.
The five names included the favorite Pelicans, a mascot that ties into the state bird as well as a minor league baseball team that existed from 1887 to 1959, but the four others also have strong Louisiana ties.
- New Orleans Pelicans
- New Orleans Rougarou
- New Orleans Mosquitos
- New Orleans Swamp Dogs
- New Orleans Bullsharks
First of all, there are no compound names (such as "Swamp Dogs" or "Bull Sharks," which is misspelled here—and perhaps in the trademark—as one word) in the NBA right now, and there won't be any time soon. "Timberwolves" is not too far off from "Bullsharks," but you can shorten that to "T-Wolves." "B-Sharks" just sounds weird. Both names have the requisite local flair—"swamp dog" is a Louisiana term for alligator, bull sharks are native to the area—but they don't exactly roll off the tongue, and they make the team sound like it's playing Double-A baseball, not major league basketball. Not happening.
Mosquitos—where do we even start? We can hardly think of a worse nickname. The fact that mosquitos tend to be particularly endemic to the Gulf region of the United States is a bad thing, because nobody likes mosquitos. They are not threatening, they are only annoying. Changing your mascot from the Hornets to the Mosquitos is changing your mascot from the Thunder to the Fart. No way.
Then, there's the Rougarou. What's the Rougarou, you ask? Well, a quick Google search suggests it's some sort of mythical hell-beast. This is the first images result:
And now you know what your nightmare will be about tonight. According to Wikipedia:
The rougarou most often is described as a creature with a human body and the head of a wolf or dog, similar to the werewolf legend.
Often the story-telling has been used to inspire fear and obedience. One such example is stories that have been told by elders to persuade Cajun children to behave. According to another variation, the wolf-like beast will hunt down and kill Catholics who do not follow the rules of Lent.
Frankly, we like it. You can have a vague sort of a animal creature shooting t-shirts at you and dunking off a trampoline, or you can have the rougarou, a terrifying monster created when "the curse is transferred from person to person when the rougarou draws another human's blood," prowling around on the sidelines, finding heathen Catholics. It's better than "the Jazz."
NBA Files For Trademark Names On Behalf Of The Hornets [Behind The Buck Pass]