New Orleans officially becomes the Pelicans

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Updated: 4/18/2013 3:04 pm

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - New Orleans has officially become the Pelicans.

The name change from Hornets, announced back in January, became effective after the conclusion of the 2012-13 regular season.

"We have been looking forward to this day since we announced the Pelicans as the new name," said owner Tom Benson in a statement Thursday. "The Pelican is a symbol for our city and region and we're excited to start a new era in Louisiana basketball history. This offseason is going to be a special time for the Pelicans."

The first official business as the Pelicans will come on May 21 when the team participates in the draft lottery after completing a 27-55 season.

After relocating from Charlotte for the start of the 2002-03 season, the team kept the Hornets nickname. New Orleans had previously been the home to the Jazz from 1974-79 until the franchise left for Salt Lake City and kept the moniker.

The colors for the Pelicans are blue, gold and red. The primary color of blue is taken from Louisiana's state flag. The Pelicans and NFL's Saints, also owned by Benson, share the color gold, uniting the organizations. Red represents fraternity and is indicative of the blood provision of the mother pelican and the vibrant color underneath the pelican's throat. All three colors are found on the flag of the City of New Orleans.

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