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Top Nine Defunct sports nicknames we want back

Sending this along now before I forget, for next Wednesday. The 213x83 is the old Charlotte Hornets logo, as in the intro I talk about the whole Pelicans/Hornets fiasco.

With the 2013-14 NBA season now in full swing, the New Orleans Pelicans have become an actual thing. Sure, on the literal side, the name change makes sense - the pelican is Louisiana's state bird and Hornets was a nickname given to the Charlotte franchise based on a regional Revolutionary War reference - but it kills, at least for now, one of the more intimidating names in sports.

Fear not, however, as the Hornets name will revert back to the current Charlotte franchise next season, which, of course, means that come this summer, "Bobcats" will become a defunct nickname barely a decade after it became funct.

Add in the Eastern League's Akron Aeros' recent moniker switch to the RubberDucks and the current furor over the potential insensitivity over the Washington Redskins (and other Native American-centric names), and there's a lot of change going on in sports these days.

In past Niners, we've saluted teams like the New Orleans Hornets in our Least Relevant Sports Names list, highlighted World B. Free and others in our Mind-Boggling Name Changes list, and even had some fun with our Silliest Potential Nicknames - but in honor of the pending demise of the Queen City kitties, let's take a look back to days of yore and salute some cool nicknames we'd love to see channel Frosty the Snowman and come back again someday.

  • INFERNO
    The Columbia (SC) Inferno of the ECHL have been on "voluntary suspension" since 2008 because of building lease issues. But, when they existed, in addition to a cool nickname, their logo was a Dalmatian in a fire hat with a flame behind him. Sign us up to proudly wear that jersey.
  • GAMBLERS
    They lasted just two seasons, but the USFL's Houston Gamblers were the first professional stop for Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Perhaps if/when Las Vegas gets a team, they can re-introduce this name based on local flavor - especially since Heat is already taken and "Siegfried & Roys" is a little long.
  • MACHINE
    Based in Montreal, the Machine were part of the short-lived World League of American Football in 1991 and 1992. They stunk to the tune of 6-14 over two seasons, but they did have past New York fan favorite Bjorn Nittmo…and really, who wouldn't want to say they were "part of the Machine?"
  • BANDITS/MUTINY
    These two teams represented the Tampa Bay area in the USFL and Major League Soccer, respectively, and since the NASL's Rowdies have already made a comeback, why not these two? Bonus points if they make the players wear eye patches to really play up that whole pirate theme.
  • RIVER DRAGONS
    Much like a Sound Tiger, we don't know what a River Dragon actually is or whether it even exists, but the predecessors of the NBA D-League's Austin Toros sure had a heck of a logo - and you just know their mascot would be named something ridiculously cool like Nessie.
  • ANYTHING FROM THE XFL
    Say what you want about Vince McMahon, but his football teams had some great names - so great that by comparison, the Demons, Hitmen, Enforcers, Rage, Maniax, Outlaws, and Xtreme made the Thunderbolts sound downright wimpy.
  • BEANEATERS
    They've now descended into the Atlanta Braves, but back in the day, the Boston Beaneaters gobbled up National League competition from 1883-1906, winning six pennants before running out of gas and becoming the Doves.
  • STEAMROLLERS
    Believe it or not, Providence, RI once had a basketball team, and the Steamrollers played three seasons in the NBA's predecessor, the Basketball Association of America. Sadly, their 46-122 overall franchise record proved the only thing they steamrolled was their own credibility.
  • IRONMEN
    Do we even need to make a witty joke to reflect how awesome the nickname of Pittsburgh's post-World War II entry in the Basketball Association of America was? Yes, because ironically, the Ironmen lasted all of one season before vanishing faster than a speeding bullet. Superheroes!
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