If the Hornets can become the Pelicans, could the Raptors become the Terriers?


More songs about buildings and food “The Talking Heads”, 1978 [photomosaic album cover conceived by David Byrne and executed by artist Jimmy De Sana]

The powers-that-be in New Orleans want their NBA team’s name changed to something more suitable to their city and state. The League has given its blessing to the name of Pelicans, a regional fish-devouring bird.While I happen to think that name is ludicrous, I certainly applaud the notion of changing a team’s name. A condition of moving a team to a new host city is the retention of the  franchise’s original name, which is why the fans in Memphis cheer for the Grizzlies and the good folks of Salt Lake City chant “Let’s go Jazz”.

To me, that’s the epitome of silliness. Ever wonder why Los Angeles has the Lakers?  The Minneapolis (“Minnesota – Land of 10,000 Lakes”) team moved there in 1960 – now you know.

I’ve disliked the name “Raptors” since it was made official. For my taste, a team name should have an association with its city or province, be alliterative, work well when abbreviated or chanted, and evoke a powerful image in the mind’s eye. By those standards, the name “Raptors” is an air ball, so let’s consider some options.

  • Towers. Whether we’re talking specifically about the CN Tower, which dominates our skyline, or generically about the condo towers which have sprung up throughout Toronto’s bursting downtown, this name evokes the city. Happily, it’s alliterative, and of course basketball players are towering people. On the down side, the thought of cheering for Towers doesn’t float my boat. Here’s a new rule – a team name has to be about people or animals. No weather (Miami Heat) or gratuitous brown-nosing (Orlando Magic) names need apply.
  • Titans. Again, the check boxes for alliteration and height are filled, and there’s a superhuman connotation. There’s no Toronto or Ontario association, but we could do worse.
  • Canadians. We’re dropping local, and going national. Do the cheers become “let’s go C’s”?
  • Moose. Large northern creatures, usually peaceful unless threatened, in which case you better find a tree, fast. A workable image for a pro hoops team.
  • Grizzlies. I’m serious. These beasts are denizens of Canada, and I’m willing to wager the folks in Tennessee would be happy to find a more suitable team name.

Do you like any of these options, or is Raptors still your favourite? Do you have a new team name you’d like to tell us about? Please drop a comment.

FYI: Here are the finalists from the naming contest of ’93-’94 -  Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Raptors, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas, and Terriers. It’s hard to take most of these seriously (Scorpions???), but  if you can build a case, I’m all ears eyes.

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