New Orleans and Salt Lake City need to trade NBA team nicknames giving us the New Orleans Jazz and the Utah Hornets. If you came from another planet and were given a list of facts about each city and team nickname this is how you’d pair them up. Why? Let’s start with the obvious:
The Jazz, and their Mardi Gras inspired color scheme originally moved from New Orleans to Utah, where – the movie “Baseketball” claims – “They don’t allow music”. That’s a little harsh, but musically: Utah gave us the Osmonds (“a little bit country” and “a little bit rock and roll” = 0% jazz) and Mormon Tabernacle Choir – both quality in their own right. New Orleans, however, gave us Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and…I guess the Neville Brothers. New Orleans is SO into jazz they actually have a jazz trumpet on their 2nd logo!
We’d all be cool with them switching. The Jazz and Hornets are just stuck in the status quo like two coworkers with massive crushes on each other afraid to make the first move. Maybe what they both need is a drink.
Hey, let’s talk about alcohol! Utah is the home to notoriously conservative liquor laws. Jazz music gained popularity through illegal speakeasies during prohibition. Drugs and alcohol dance hand and hand with jazz. Though, Utah’s prohibition-inspired liquor laws are as close as you can get to the “Jazz Age” in modern America. This one’s a wash.
On the flip side, Utah is the BEEHIVE STATE. They have a beehive on the flag! Look!
There’s some story about Mormon pioneers traveling with a shit ton of bees on their way to Salt Lake City and they like their industriousness. So, what is a hornet but a bee that’s become more and more pissed off over millennia of evolution. The hornet is vaguely cultural and speaks to their religious heritage. Call the stadium the “HIVE” and have “SWARMS” of fans. Let the team ride in on covered wagons even. You’d have to call them the “Joseph Smiths” to be any more perfect! You may be thinking “But a hornet is technically a WASP, not a “bee”. To that point: 1. Congratulations on splitting hairs. 2. Here is a density map of Americans who claim English heritage. Add to that: The state is 95% white and 64% Mormon and you’ll notice a remarkably high concentration of WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) in Utah. So yeah, science.
Final note: Be careful with your football team, New Orleans. Utah is also home to the world headquarters of the Latter Day Saints and the original state nickname “Land of the Saints”.