Pelicans’ Mirotic gives back to local charity

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WINNING LOOK- New Orleans Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic hosts free shave and haircut event at the New Orleans Mission. Photo submitted.

By Jesse Brooks

NEW ORLEANS- Nikola Mirotic, a forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, has already kicked off a busy offseason in the Crescent City by giving back to local charities.

On Wednesday, May 23, Mirotic teamed up with The New Orleans Mission and Gillette to host a free beard shaving and haircut event for those in need. The event also provided food and clothes for homeless individuals.
The New Orleans Mission is a charity organization that was founded in 1989 and they provide food, shelter, clothing and spiritual guidance to the city’s homeless population.

Mirotic made headlines this season after shaving off his instantly recognizable beard moments before an April 4 matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies to breakout of a scoring slump. Magically enough, the turnaround was instant as he went on to average 25.8 points and 12 rebounds in the five games that followed while shooting 56.3 percent from the field.

Mirotic’s improved beardless play continued on throughout the Pelicans’ first round sweep of the Portland Trailblazers in the opening round of the Western Conference Playoffs, and it landed him an endorsement deal with the Gillette shaving company.

Now thanks to the recent charitable event, the guests of the New Orleans Mission also get to enjoy the feeling of Mirotic’s winning shave as they spent a morning with the Pelicans’ hot shooting big man.

Mirotic, a native on Montenegro, was traded to the Pelicans on February 1 in exchange of Omer Asik, Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen and a 2018 first round pick and is largely credited for help saving his new team’s season after All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins went down with an achilles injury. Since arriving in the Big Easy, Mirotic has enthusiastically participated in the New Orleans community.

“This has been an incredible year. I want to take a moment to thank everyone. Mrs. Benson, the front office, my coaches, teammates, staff, and especially the fans for welcoming me and my family to New Orleans with open arms!” Mirotic Tweeted earlier this month. “I’m very proud to be a part of the New Orleans Pelicans organization and look forward to building on what we accomplished this season!”

Additionally, Mirotic also took time to visit patients at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans on Thursday, May 24 as part of an unannounced appearance.

Though Mirotic has only been with the Pelicans for a short time so far, his impact on and off the court has been positive. His contributions helped elevate a team from falling out of the Western Conference race to becoming one of the most talented. As of now, signs point to Mirotic being a great fit in New Orleans.

“I love the city, the community is great,” Mirotic said in statement to Will Gillory of NOLA.com on May 14. “I want to be a part of a playoff team, and I want to be part of a team that really has fun. This has been like a family for me, and I’m looking forward. This is the place I want to be.”

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A message from owner Gayle Benson to Pelicans fans

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While we are heartbroken by the loss of my husband, we are also tremendously grateful for the overwhelming love and prayers we continue to receive. Tom Benson’s love for his teams was rooted in his love for the fans. There was nothing he enjoyed more than greeting fans on game days, driving around training camp practices to shake hands or seeing so many loyal fans welcoming the team back from a road trip- win or lose. He felt a special connection to our incredible fan base because he truly felt like a fan himself -a hardworking, passionate New Orleanian who loved everything about his city. Following the Super Bowl victory, his first order of business was figuring out how he could share the Lombardi Trophy with as many of you as he could. He vowed that our trophy would be the most traveled, touched and photographed in the history of the NFL and ordered that a tour of the Gulf South be scheduled so that as many fans as possible could have their turn with it.

To his very last day, Tom Benson’s greatest hope was to bring more championships to our fans. I want you to know we are more committed than ever to make his hopes a reality. We will never forget his belief in what truly powers our teams- our fans. I would like to assure you that we planned carefully for this day and, while my husband could never be replaced, I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful leadership team and staff and we will move forward successfully together. We cannot thank you enough for all of the joy you gave my husband and will continue to do everything within our power to make you proud of our teams and city.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we celebrate my husband’s extraordinary life. Most of all, thank you for your unwavering devotion to our teams and city. I look forward to sharing many more special times together.

Gayle Benson
Owner
New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans

An open letter to DeMarcus Cousins

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DeMarcus Cousins at Pelicans Media Day. Photo by Jesse Brooks.

By Jesse Brooks
From @BourbonStShots

You don’t know me, but I have probably seen almost every game you have ever played while wearing a jersey with “New Orleans” or “Pelicans” across the chest. Occasionally, I may miss a game here and there because of working on other assignments, but even then I’m streaming games, following play-by-play on Twitter or even watching game film if I can’t be in the Smoothie King Center or in front of my television.

What I’m trying to say is that…

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Despite Hawks loss, recent stretch of games prove Pelicans still deserve your support

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By Jesse Brooks
From @BourbonStShots

On January 1, The Advocate published an op-ed by New Orleans Pelicans beat writer Scott Kushner that explained why fans of the franchise deserved better than what has currently been offered.
Considering that the Pelicans have only won one playoff series in the last 15 years, and have displayed nothing but inconsistency since adopting their “win now” philosophy, there is a lot to agree with in Kushner’s piece. The mainstay fans have waited for greatness in the Anthony Davis, noting the potential in his rare talent, but rather than unifying the city and Gulf Coast region the franchise has only done well enough to occasionally check in on their smartphones.

In the mind of a local fan that has never completely bought in, keeping the Pelicans at a ……

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Pelicans Davis and Cousins selected as NBA All-Star Western Conference starters

PELICAN PAIR- Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins, who make up the starting frontcourt of the New Orleans Pelicans, have been named Western Conference starters for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game that will be held in Los Angeles on February 18. File photos by Jesse Brooks

By Jesse Brooks

The NBA has announced its starting lineups for each conference in the NBA All-Star Game, and New Orleans Pelicans big men Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins will be in that lineup on February 18 in Los Angeles.

Despite an up and down season for the Pelicans, Davis and Cousins have flourished together in a NBA that is trending towards smaller lineups. Davis and Cousins rank Top 10 of all NBA players in both scoring and rebounding categories. Davis averages 26.7 ppg and 10.5 rpg while Cousins is putting up 25.3 ppg and 12.7 rpg.

Davis also currently holds a player efficiency rating of 28.81, the NBA’s fifth best just under Steph Curry.

The selection is the fourth of Cousins’ career, and a fifth for Davis. In 2014, Davis was chosen to replace an injured Kobe Bryant in what would be Commissioner Adam Silver’s first action since taking over for David Stern.