Rumor has it that the owner of the New Orleans Hornets is considering taking the sting out of their nickname by changing it to the Pelicans, after the state bird. (As if that city hasn’t suffered enough.) Many are crying that this will be the lamest name for a basketball franchise ever, but I submit that a kinder, gentler NBA is already upon us.

Here are five current NBA team names that you could safely fill a pillow with.

Washington Wizards

Despite the best efforts of former Wizards players to thug it out (yes, you Gilert Arenas), this name is just not gangsta. The reactionary alternative to the more aggressive “Bullets” of Baltimore, this name just conjures up images of Gandalf smoking that good Hobbit hemp and Borat’s wildly disrespectful description of his sister’s vag.

Phoenix Suns

Yes it’s hot as hell in Arizona and it works so well with the whole basketball graphic, but the only fear this name evokes is of Melanoma.

Charlotte, Bobcats

Established in 2004, the NBA’s youngest team fell victim to former owner Bob Johnson’s vanity. Insisting that his name be part of the team name, “Bobby Pins” was rejected and Bobcats won by default*. About twice as big as a house cat, these feral felines hold insects and small rodents amongst their natural prey. New team owner Michael Jordan is rumored to be lining the Jordan XXIXs with faux Bobcat fur**.

* not true **also not true

Los Angeles Clippers

The NBA team (currently) with the best record in Los Angles was originally the Buffalo Braves, which is slightly more aggressive but racist as hell. They then became the San Diego Clippers before moving to L.A. The Clipper name is reflective of the boating and sailing culture of San Diego and has nothing to do with which guard you use to get a proper fade or edge up. Clippers were considered some of the fastest ships of their time, which is apropos for the current squad of young guns, but again, can hardly be considered intimidating.

Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers is a nod to the auto racing culture of Indianapolis, but the pace car is the biggest punk on the track. Their sole purpose is to limit the speed of the cars actually trying to win something during the caution period. After everything is a go he gets the hell off the track to lets the real cars get it in. Pelican might be an upgrade from this.

New York Knickerbockers

Just to show that I’m not playing favorites, I had to throw my home team under the bus too. While NY fans have shortened it to a more t-shirt and hat friendly “Knicks” the elongated form of the name comes courtesy of our Dutch settlers and refers to some gaudy ass knee-length trousers they wore. Ironically, the shorts in the NBA are almost as long now.

Which NBA team do you think has the softest name? Let us know on Twitter @TheUrbanDaily


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