Sunday, November 13, 2011

NBA Switcheroo

The National Basketball Association is currently in a state of suspended animation. Not to be outdone by their NFL counterparts, the owners of NBA teams locked out their players back in July. The owners are looking to improve the financial status of their teams, but the players do not see any issues with the status quo. I will not attempt to resolve that particular issue, but I will attempt to correct another issue that is rampant in the NBA. Of course, I am referring to the issue of team names that do not match the cities which those teams call home. I promise my solution to this issue does not touch the Los Angeles Lakers.

My proposal starts in Canada with the Toronto Raptors. That team occasionally wears throwback uniforms bearing the name Huskies in reference to the professional basketball team that was based in the city back in the 1940s. Step one in this process, the Toronto team adopts to the Huskies moniker full time.

For the second step, the process moves to California. The Sacramento Kings may eventually become the Anaheim Royals or something similar. The team could be moving into Honda Center which is home to the NHL's Anaheim Ducks. Regardless of the move, I would suggest the team drop the monarchy theme and pick up the Raptors nickname. I would suggest the team avoid the dinosaur reference however and embrace predatory birds. Instead of the Raptors name, the team could even go with California Condors.

A royal nickname has now freed. To me, the obvious landing spot for the Kings name is Memphis where the Grizzlies would become the Memphis Kings. The name would have a lovely dual reference. The primary theme would be Egyptian pharaohs since the city of Memphis is a named after one of the capitals of ancient Egypt. (Similar to Cairo, Illinois, both the Egyptian city and its American namesake are tied to rivers, the Nile and Mississippi, respectively.) The Tennessee city has enthusiastically embraced the Egyptian reference already. For the team's third uniforms, a garish Elvis jumpsuit theme would be used in honor of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

While grizzly bears are not native to Tennessee, they have been known to inhabit the Rocky Mountains. Therefore, the Utah Jazz could become the Utah Grizzlies. This seems like a great idea except for a minor issue. There is already a professional hockey team that goes by the same name. That team plays in the minor-league ECHL. I will just assume that any conflicts between the two teams over the name can be resolved amicably.

The next step is completely obvious with the Jazz name returning to New Orleans. The team in NOLA changes its name from the Hornets to the New Orleans Jazz but keeps its Mardi Gras-themed colors. In the final step of the transition process, the Hornets name returns to Charlotte. Since the team in New Orleans would keep the current colors associated with the Hornets, the team in Charlotte would need a new design. I would suggest using black and gold like the old WFL football team with that name. The color combination would be unique in the NBA.

Changing the name of the Charlotte team to the Hornets would free up the Bobcats name. I have previously established my disdain for that nickname, and I doubt there would be any takers for that one.

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