NBA Commissioner David Stern visits N.O. Pelicans - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

NBA Commissioner David Stern visits N.O. Pelicans

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NEW ORLEANS - David Stern made what was likely his last visit to New Orleans as NBA Commissioner on Friday. It was part of his farewell tour across the nation before he retires from his position in February.

It was his first look at the Pelicans team and facilities, and Stern said he's more than impressed.

"It is frankly off the charts," said Stern.

Stern says having a team in New Orleans is just as crucial for the city as it is for his idea of what the NBA should be.

FOX 8 asked, "How important is it for the league to have a team in New Orleans? What does it do for the league?"

"I've spent, or misspent, a career making sure that franchises, regardless of their size, could succeed in the NBA," said Stern. "This is just sort of proof positive for us that that works, and that's what we did."

"This team has a $300 million annual economic impact on our community," said Gov. Bobby Jindal. "So this is a great return on investment for the entire community."

"This is a gentleman that has loved the city of New Orleans for a very very long time and has had a very keen understanding of the importance of sports franchises to the rebuilding of cities," said Mayor New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "He understands that it's not just about sports, it's much much bigger than that."

Fans and officials alike praised the commissioner for giving the team a chance to rebuild and rebrand.

Though Stern wasn't as clear on his appreciation for the new mascot, Pierre the Pelican.

"I was sent down on an expedition to see how this mascot the pelican was, and I'm going to report back that it looks nothing like either the mayor or the governor," said Stern.

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