NEW ORLEANS – Hornets owner Tom Benson is changing his teams nickname to the Pelicans and said the switch will create a bond with New Orleans that could lead to a championship.
The Hornets announced Thursday they are going ahead with the name change. The NBA still has to approve it, but Commissioner David Stern has said he wouldnt object to any name Benson chose. The league is expected to expedite the change at the start of next season.
The new color scheme is blue, gold and red, a departure from the Hornets teal, purple, gold and white.
The Hornets have been in New Orleans since moving from Charlotte for the 2002-03 season, although they were relocated temporarily to Oklahoma City from 2005 to 07 because of Hurricane Katrina. Benson, who also owns the Saints, bought the team last spring.
The nickname Hornets didnt mean anything to this community, Benson said. The pelican represents New Orleans, just like the Saints. They have incredible resolve. If they can do that, the team can do the same.
The brown pelican is Louisianas state bird and has become identified with efforts to restore Louisianas coast, which has been damaged extensively by the 2010 BP oil spill and erosion from Katrina and other storms.
Kyle Busch to stay with Gibbs Racing
Kyle Busch signed a long-term extension with Joe Gibbs Racing to keep driving the No. 18 Toyota Camry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by JGR.
Pacers’ George on All-Star roster
Indianas Paul George and the Bulls Joakim Noah and Luol Deng were picked as reserves for next months NBA All-Star game in Houston. San Antonios Tim Duncan was picked for his 14th game.
Coach, Duncan to miss game
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and forward Tim Duncan will miss a second straight game after the ailing pair didnt make the trip for tonights game at Dallas. Popovich stayed home sick and Duncan has a sore left knee. Longtime assistant coach Mike Budenholzer will take the helm against the Mavericks.
Raptors top Magic on last-second shot
In Orlando, Fla., DeMar DeRozan swished a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer as the Toronto Raptors fought off a late-game charge by the Orlando Magic to earn a 97-95 victory. DeRozan led Toronto with 22 points, followed by Amir Johnson with 21 points and 10 rebounds. It was Johnsons sixth double-double of the season
Hurt Butler player back at practice
Butler shooting guard Rotnei Clarke returned to practice and could play Saturday against Temple. The ninth-ranked Bulldogs have been without their leading scorer since he suffered a severely sprained neck after crashing head-first into a padded basket support Jan. 12 at Dayton. Clarke is fifth in the Atlantic 10 in scoring (16.3 points).
Marian hires coach
NAIA national champion Marian has hired Mark Henninger as its coach. Henninger is leaving North Carolina Wesleyan of NCAA Division III. He succeeds Ted Karras Jr., who had been the only coach in Marians seven-year football history. Karras took the coaching job at Walsh one week after winning the NAIA title.
Feds charge former NFL kicker
Federal authorities in Texas said former NFL kicker Russell Erxleben was charged with running an illegal investment scheme that raised more than $2 million. Erxleben, 56, faces counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering from 2005 to 2009.
LPGA announces world team event
Two years before golf returns to the Olympics, the LPGA Tour is creating a tournament to determine the best in the world. The International Crown will start in 2014 and be played every other year. It will feature four days of team matches among eight countries that can field the strongest four-player teams based on the world rankings. The inaugural event will be in late July at Caves Valley Golf Club outside Baltimore.