NEW ORLEANS - Sunday night, the New Orleans basketball team played its last home game as the Hornets. It will begin next season as the Pelicans.
It was a momentous occasion for thousands of fans who lined up to watch the team usher in a new era.
“I think everybody's really excited about the future. We have a new owner. We have new colors. We have new logos,” said Lindsey Mitchell, Hornets corporate communications manager.
The move prompted some fans to watch the game in the Hive.
“I just wanted to see them as the Hornets, the former Hornets, then it's going to be the Pelicans. Pelicans going to fly, baby, they going to fly. They're going to do well,” said New Orleans fan Sidney Bowman.
The team store is providing deep discounts on Hornets gear as fans get ready to hang up the blue, purple and gold for something with a Pelicans logo on it.
The Hornets store was abuzz with fans buying Pelicans gear.
“We'll be ready for the first game of next season wearing our Pelicans gear,” said Lorey Autin, who bought half a dozen Pelicans shirts for her family.
But what will fans do with their old Hornets merchandise?
“I might still wear it” said New Orleans fan Andrea Brown. “I like my gear! I'm not too keen on [the new name], I'm going to see if it grows on me. I'm not there yet.”
“I'm going to keep my gear. I'm going to save it for special occasion. When they play in the playoffs, this [will] come out, old school. Throw back,” said Bowman
The Hornets franchise relocated to New Orleans from North Carolina in 2002. Officials said the name change is meant to bolster local support.
“The most important thing about becoming the Pelicans is the city of New Orleans and the Gulf South will feel like this is their team,” said Mitchell.
Team officials say you can look forward to a lot of big announcements in the off season. The team will choose a new on-the-court mascot, and new names for the dance team and arena.