New Orleans Pelicans Move Into World Class Practice Facility
After transitioning from the Hornets to a new name, unveiling new uniforms, and getting used to calling themselves “Pelicans,” Louisiana’s only NBA franchise played in their new practice facility for the first time on labor day. Now, they won’t stop talking about it.
“I’ve been smiling since I walked in,” Pelicans forward Lance Thomas said in an interview with pelicans.com. “This is really a world-class facility. We’re just excited to be in here. A gym like this, people are going to have to kick players out of it because it’s so nice.”
How nice? With the new 50,000-square-foot practice facility, the Pelicans share a campus with the New Orleans Saints. A satellite barber shop, state of the art training room, savory cafeteria, and first-class weight room are just a few of the amenities the Pelicans can enjoy.
Why wouldn’t the players be excited? After all, the state-owned Alario Center in Westwego had played home to the Hornets practice facility since arriving in the Crescent City in 2002. While the Alario Center isn’t a dump, it’s hardly a suitable house for an NBA franchise.
Starting point guard Jrue Holiday expressed his excitement after his first practice in the new facility on Airline Drive.
“You’ve got guys like Drew Brees here, someone who has perfected his craft,” Holiday said of the Saints’ star quarterback. “He’s also a guy who had people telling him, ‘You can’t be this. You can’t do that.’ And look at him now. That’s something admirable and special.
“To have another team here, it’s pretty dope. Right next door, you can converse with guys on the same campus, pick their brains and hang out with them.”
Pelicans Enjoy New Practice Home pelicans.com
One can’t undervalue what this tells the rest of the league. Players talk. Free agents listen. Touring any prospective Pelican around a world-class practice home goes a long way. It also shows a supportive owner who will do whatever it takes to put a winning product on the floor. For Jrue, and all of his teammates, Labor Day was more than a Holiday. It was a big step in the new Pelicans regime.