sports

Tom Benson, pictured with wife Gayle and granddaughter Rita Benson LeBlanc, grew up in the St. Roch neighborhood and graduated from Brother Martin High School and Loyola University.
Chuck Cook

When Tom Benson purchased the New Orleans Saints in 1985, the team had never had a winning season. Over the course of 30 years, Tom has helped reshape the team to become one of the NFL's most popular teams and a source of community pride throughout the Gulf South. 

While Tom's ongoing dispute over the legacy of his sports empire continues to unfold, NOLA Life Stories wanted to examine the man behind the headlines. Tom grew up in the St. Roch neighborhood and  is no stranger to hardship: the man climbed into the billionaire’s club from humble beginnings.

Why Do We Measure Wetlands Loss In Football Fields?

Mar 3, 2015
Jesse Hardman / WWNO

What happens when you combine the most popular sport in the U.S. with one of the most dire environmental situations in the country? The catchy analogy that a football field sized piece of Louisiana coastal wetlands is lost every half-hour.

Jason Saul / WWNO

There are a lot of amazing things that happen on the court at a New Orleans Pelicans game.

Like pretty much anything All-Star power forward Anthony Davis does. Halfway through the season Davis is a clear candidate for NBA MVP, a man who seems more suited to a video game than a real-life basketball team.

The New Orleans Pelicans pulled off an improbable and intensely entertaining 115-100 beatdown of the Atlanta Hawks Monday night at the Smoothie King Center.

Atlanta, who had come into the game on a 19-game winning streak (the 5th-longest in NBA history), seemed out of sorts from the midpoint of the first quarter, missing easy shots and struggling to contain an energized Pelicans team.

The 1969-70 New Orleans Buccaneers pose for a team photograph during the team's last season in town. The team was subsequently in Memphis for five seasons moved to Memphis before the ABA folded in 1976.
American Basketball Association

Local basketball fans have rooted for the Pelicans, the Hornets and the Jazz, but did you ever root for the Buccaneers? 

The Buccaneers were one of the original 11 teams in the American Basketball Association and New Orleans' first professional basketball team. People took notice of the ABA because of the flashy chances they took: they invented the Slam Dunk contest, had celebrity owners, and made open invitations for anyone to play on their teams.

Ian McNulty

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by family members he recently removed as heirs of his NFL and NBA teams.

Benson’s lawyers filed an answer to the lawsuit yesterday in civil district court in New Orleans. He says he made a "deliberate, reasoned and difficult decision" to change his succession plan so that Gayle Benson, his wife of 10 years, inherits control of the teams.

New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans unveiled a new ad campaign on Tuesday, riffing on the hilarious, iconic Frankie & Johnny’s “Special Man” commercials from the 1980s.

The commercial — starring Ryan Anderson, Tyreke Evans, and Anthony Davis — is promoting a new three-game discounted ticket plan. Fans can purchase three-game packages of tickets to any game for $24 a seat.

Davis fills the role of the eponymous, cigar-smoking Special Man, originally played by Lester Love, Sr., a salesman at the furniture store who passed away in 2001.

The company that manages the Superdome and Smoothie King Center is in line for a contract renewal through 2022.

A panel of lawmakers and other state official agreed yesterday to the five-year contract extension for the SMG company. The action also must win approval from lawmakers through mailed ballot.

Ron Forman is chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District. He says SMG is taking a $300,000 annual cut in fees, and will pay $5 million toward facility improvements under the new deal.

SMG has held the contract for nearly 40 years.

New Orleans Pelicans

This story has been updated.  

Anthony Davis, the third-year phenom making his way to his second All-Star Game, scored 32 points and collected 10 rebounds, leading the New Orleans Pelicans in a 99-74 thrashing of the Philadelphia 76ers at the Smoothie King Center.

It was the twelfth time this season Davis had scored at least 30 points in a game, and was his 26th double-double of 2014-15.

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