The New Orleans Pelicans unveiled the Birmingham Squadron as their new NBA G-League affiliate. The team will begin play with the 2021-22 G-League season in Birmingham, Alabama in a newly renovated Legacy Arena.
The franchise moniker of Squadron honors the region’s military history, as well as tying into their NBA affiliate. The team’s name and elements of their logo pay homage to 99th Pursuit Squadron. That unit was the United States Air Force’s first all-Black flying unit that trained in Tuskegee, Alabama. In addition, a group of pelicans is called a squadron, while the team’s color scheme and elements of their logos tie to New Orleans.
The Pelicans had previously been affiliated with the Erie BayHawks in Erie, Pennsylvania. As have many NBA teams, New Orleans wanted their G-League affiliate to be closer to their NBA home base. This allows for players to be assigned back and forth to the G-League for games and practices easier, with shortened travel requirements.