- Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
- Home court: Smoothie King Center
- G.M: Trajan Langdon
- Coach: Willie Green
- Star: F Zion Williamson
- 2021 Season: 36-46, lost in a Western Conference first-round series to the Phoenix Suns in six games.
- NBA Titles: None.
- Greatest Player: F/C Anthony Davis.
- Factoid: The team mascot, Pierre the Pelican, was unveiled on Oct. 30. 2103 but was considered to scary looking for young fans. Like many celebrities, he underwent some work, and a new version of Pierre was released on Feb. 11, 2014.
No city and its residents have learned to roll with the punches like New Orleans.
Located in prime hurricane tracks, and now set below sea level, the Big Easy is a place of great celebration, amazing food, and unfortunately, pulverizing natural disasters. That yin yang has given residents a remarkable resiliency.
The city’s NBA franchise has known two homes and two nicknames. But no matter what obstacles are thrown at the New Orleans Pelicans, one gets the sense that the spirit of the city will prevail. Embrace the Pelicans migration, if you will:
The franchise was established in 2002-03 when Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn moved the franchise to the Big Easy and the New Orleans Hornets debuted. It didn’t take long for the team to understand just what life in the New Orleans meant. Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city to badly that the Hornets relocated to Oklahoma City and spent two seasons as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
The team returned to New Orleans for the 2007-08 season. Since one doesn’t identify hornets with New Orleans, the franchise changed their name to the Pelicans after the 2012-13 season. For the first time since coming to the Big Easy, the franchise could feel a sense of stability, an uncommon state of mind in New Orleans.
Now should come the fun part – building a champion.
Charlotte/New Orleans/Oklahoma City/New Orleans thought it had a franchise centerpiece when it used the No.1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft on former Duke star Zion Williamson. Williamson, who is blessed with a Greek-God-like combination of power and explosion, has spent a good portion of his first two seasons either injured or out of shape.
The 6-foot-6, 284-pound forward showed up for camp having clearly lost a significant amount of weight and having spent a lot of time in the gym. He said he’s ready to be his best. For a city accustomed to the highs of Mardi Gras and the lows of hurricanes, celebrating the Pelicans would be quite a party.
Because until you’ve partied in New Orleans, you don’t know what it means to truly party.