Benson owns the rights to the name Pelicans, which was the nickname for a former minor league baseball team that played in New Orleans for more than 70 years.
"When kids grow up, they're going to identify with New Orleans Pelicans here," said New Orleans head of basketball operations Mickey Loomis, who also is the Saints general manager. "It's really New Orleans' team. I think from the very beginning for Mr. B when he bought the team, he just wanted to make sure that I'm a local owner and this is a local team."
The Hornets are New Orleans' second NBA team. The Jazz played here from 1974-79 before leaving for Utah, and current Jazz owners have said they had no interest in giving up the name so New Orleans could have it back.
There is a small campaign in Charlotte to "bring back the buzz" to North Carolina.
Before they were the New Orleans Hornets, the franchise was located in Charlotte from 1988-2002 — then George Shinn moved the Hornets to the Big Easy. The Bobcats are doing market research to find out if the name change is worth it. Charlotte has hired Harris Interactive, a nationally prominent polling company, to survey current Bobcats customers and the Charlotte sports market to get their input on possibly changing the name.
"We are aware of the impending change regarding the team nickname in New Orleans," said Bobcats president and COO Fred Whitfield. "We are currently in contact with the NBA and conducting our own due diligence relative to this matter."