Pelicans, fans honor Tom Benson at first home game since his death

(WVUE) - Fans say there was a palpable energy in the Smoothie King Center where the Pelicans took on the Houston Rockets, Saturday. Yet, it wasn't just about the match-up, it was also about celebrating a legend.

"I can feel the energy in the building," said Pelicans fan Hassan Coyle.

"It's sad. I'm glad we could be here for it," said fan Jeff Morrison.

The atmosphere in the Smoothie King Center was bittersweet for the first home game since the passing of Pelicans and Saints owner Tom Benson.

"Oh, the tickets we got for tonight are going to be special because I hate to say it that way. But we're here to represent him," said Saints and Pelicans fan Josephine Lee.

Lifelong fans like Lee and Michael Gallo paid tribute by honoring both of Benson's franchises.

"That's why we put on both attires," said Lee. We got both of them on. He said, 'we're going to wear both of them. We're going to represent the Pelicans and the Saints.'"

Players remembered him, too, with embroidered warm-up suits and jerseys displaying the letters TB.

Always active in ownership, fans reflected on the passion he had for his teams.

"We love to see him second-line out there," said Lee. "Oh, he did his thing and we were like, 'Go Saints! Go Saints!' And here come the Pelicans with Anthony Davis and we're rolling!"

Before the game began, the Pelicans honored Benson for all he did, not only for his two professional sports teams, but for the city of New Orleans.

"Tom Benson is a famous man from the Pelicans, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Saints," said Pelicans fan Miles Coyle.

Coyle believes, for this game, Benson has the best seat in the house.

"Heaven," said Coyle.

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