The New Orleans Pelicans and the NBA G League announced Birmingham Squadron as the official name of the club’s new G League affiliate. The Squadron is set to begin playing its inaugural 2021-22 season in November and will play home games in the newly renovated Legacy Arena in downtown Birmingham.
“As we deliberated the name for our G League team, it was important to us that its name would be closely tied to the Pelicans brand, while uniting us with the foundation of the Birmingham community,” said Dennis Lauscha, president of the New Orleans Pelicans. “After careful deliberation and input from fans, we knew the name Squadron was the perfect fit.”
At its roots, the word squadron – also synonymous with a flock of pelicans – is defined as a group that works together with a shared mission, representing the franchise’s mission to develop NBA talent and bring championships to Birmingham and New Orleans.
“The Birmingham Squadron is more than just a team name; it is a brand and identity rooted in the passionate pursuit of bringing sustained success to the Pelicans,” said David Lane, Squadron general manager of business operations. “The name Squadron is just one of the many ways our organization is aligned with the brand and vision in New Orleans, as the team will play such a vital role in training and developing NBA talent for the Pelicans.”
Squadron can also be defined as a military unit – a theme that can be seen throughout the team’s brand.
“From the 99th Pursuit Squadron – the first all-Black flying squadron in the Air Force – to the city of Birmingham’s production of planes during WWII, the state of Alabama has played a significant role in our nation’s military history, and we felt it was important to highlight that in the Birmingham Squadron brand,” Lane said.
The Squadron will bring an NBA team to Birmingham for the first time in the city’s history and professional basketball to Alabama for the first time in more than 15 years.
“Bringing our G League team closer to home and to such a deserving city like Birmingham was of the utmost importance in deciding where to launch our new G League franchise,” said Gayle Benson, Pelicans governor. “Our organization’s vision is to grow the game of basketball in the Gulf South and we couldn’t be more excited to bring the NBA to the amazing people of Birmingham. We look forward to being a part of the community for many years to come.”
The Birmingham Squadron will serve as a development ground for NBA talent as the Pelicans’ one-on-one affiliate in the NBA G League. Led by David Griffin, executive vice president of basketball operations, and General Manager Trajan Langdon, the Pelicans will have full control of the Squadron roster and have the ability to move players between Pelicans and Squadron rosters when needed.
“The Squadron will provide us with an invaluable opportunity to develop players close to home,” Griffin said. “It gives us the ability to get our younger guys important in-game reps and gives us access to a full roster of players with knowledge of our system to pull from when we need to.”
“We’ll be able to get guys in a car in the morning or the next day to be able to participate in a game or a practice, and it will get more reps for our younger players, which is incredibly important,” Langdon said. “If we are full strength in New Orleans, we can get a guy back to Birmingham for a game that night. It’s super exciting.”
Legacy Arena is undergoing a $123 million renovation that will be completed in December.
“After the renovations are complete, Legacy Arena will be a premiere destination for events in the region,” Lane said. “We’re looking forward to the arena being the best in the G League and even rivaling some NBA arenas. We couldn’t ask for a better venue for our fans, and we can’t wait to bring the experience of live professional basketball to the people of Birmingham like they’ve never seen before.”
To stay up to date on all Birmingham Squadron news, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram @GLeagueSquadron, or visit the website at birmingham.gleague.nba.com.
Season tickets and group tickets are on sale. For more information on how to lock in a spot for the inaugural season, fans are encouraged to visit birmingham.gleague.nba.com or speak to Squadron sales representatives in the Birmingham office at 205-719-0850 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For premium suites and sponsorship inquiries, contact Philicia Douglas at 205-719-0834 or via email at Philicia.Douglas@pelicans.com.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)