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NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Pelicans and Louisiana-based Smoothie King have reached a 10-year agreement to rename the New Orleans Arena as the Smoothie King Center. Jack Ham Jersey . Pelicans President Dennis Lauscha said such a deal had been a "gigantic" piece of owner Tom Bensons business plan since he bought the long-struggling small-market franchise from the NBA in the spring of 2012. "Finding a naming rights partner was key to the long-term financial viability of this franchise in this market," Lauscha said. Benson, who has owned the Saints since 1985, purchased citys NBA franchise — formerly called the Hornets — for $338 million and has consolidated the headquarters and many of the business operations of both clubs. The hope was that with the two franchises sharing resources and cross-promoting one another, the region could better support two major professional sports teams. Officials with both the club and Smoothie King declined to release financial terms of the deal, which also gives Smoothie King an option for a 10-year extension. Smoothie King owner Wan Kim said sponsoring an NBA arena in New Orleans helps his company demonstrate its commitment to the community where it is based while promoting its brand globally. Smoothie King, founded in suburban New Orleans in 1973, has 674 locations in 31 states and in Asia, and is looking to expand both nationally and overseas, Smoothie King President Tom OKeefe said. Of 30 NBA cities, 21 currently have Smoothie King franchises, he said. The arena is officially being renamed on Thursday, in time for next weeks NBA All-Star festivities in New Orleans. Kim, a native of South Korea who attended college and business school in the United States, bought the company in July 2012. He said he initially considered moving its headquarters to Atlanta or Dallas. "I started to realize a lot of people who live in New Orleans, for them, its very difficult to leave the city," Kim said. "Its a very different city. Its very unique, culturally, and I did start to see why people didnt want to move. "At the same time, I did feel our root is here and I shouldnt give up on that," Kim said. "Not only did we decide not to move out, but we are pretty much telling you (with the naming rights deal) that our group is here and we are sticking with it." As part of the agreement, Smoothie King will be airing commercials during Pelicans broadcasts, as well as sponsoring pregame and postgame segments. The companys smoothies will also be available at concession stands around the arena. Team officials said there were "two or three" other candidates for a naming rights deal, but that Smoothie Kings interests seemed most aligned with the Bensons goals of promoting the business climate in his home state. "Theres no more perfect story to say how businesses can root themselves in New Orleans and grow," said Rita Benson LeBlanc, Bensons granddaughter and a part owner of the Pelicans and Saints. She added that the agreement is "a testament to how New Orleans has recovered (from Hurricane Katrina) and how Louisiana is redefining itself as an economic development engine." The deal might have been completed before this season began, but because Smoothie King products contain nutritional supplements, NBA rules required that all of the companys products be tested to ensure there were no banned substances. LeBlanc said that process took about eight months. "We couldnt have any question as to what are the contents of the products that Smoothie King actually offers," LeBlanc said. Donnie Shell Jersey . Numbers Game looks into the Canadiens securing the services of Thomas Vanek in a trade with the New York Islanders. The Canadiens Get: LW Thomas Vanek and a conditional fifth-round pick. Ben Roethlisberger Jersey . Perhaps as important, shes sending a message to 17-year-old gold medal favourite Sara Takanashi of Japan. Iraschko-Stolz relegated Takanashi, who has 10 World Cup victories this season, to second place in two of three training jumps Saturday. http://www.footballsteelerstore.us/Black-Friday-Vance-Mcdonald-Jersey/ . He was still a kid, going into his senior year of high school. Thursday, the point guard stood in front of a couple dozen members of the media and spoke with poise about how much hed grown since then, and how hes ready for the next level.MIAMI -- It was arguably the signature moment of Alonzo Mournings career. He blocked a shot in the final minutes of Game 6 of the 2006 NBA Finals, then wriggled on the floor in what appeared to be celebration for a few seconds. Turns out, it was anger. Mourning was unimpressed by his chase-down block of Dallas Jason Terry with 8:55 left in the game where the Miami Heat would clinch their first NBA title. Instead, his memorable air-punching, arms-flailing reaction was borne from how Heat teammate Gary Payton had thrown the ball away seconds earlier and then argued with a referee at such a critical moment in the game. His fire was on full display in that moment. And it was that fire that led him to the Basketball Hall of Fame "So I had to sprint back to try to cover his butt for making that mistake, and I was mad," Mourning said. "Then I got up and I was like, Gary, what are you doing, man? Oh, I was mad. Maybe like two people really know why I was acting that way. The thing is, I was cursing Gary out. Thats what happened." After a career where he averaged 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots, the 6-foot-10 Mourning will be part of the class enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday night, when the surest bet in sports will be that his speech will exceed the 10-minute recommendation he was given for his remarks. "I think I deserve it," Mourning said, laughing. Few would disagree. He was a seven-time All-Star, is one of only eight players to win the defensive player of the year award at least twice, an Olympic gold medallist and has already had his No. 33 jersey retired by the Heat in a star-studded ceremony that went way longer than planned, slightly raising the ire of an Orlando Magiic team that wasnt planning on a never-ending halftime that night in 2009. Joe Gilliam Jersey. "He had to be the first one to have his jersey retired by this franchise," Heat President Pat Riley said. "He earned that, many times over." But Mournings story is more about the journey than any statistic or award. He was raised by a foster mother who took him and 48 other kids into her home. From there, Mourning became a star at Georgetown, then an NBA icon who couldnt even be derailed by a kidney disease that necessitated a transplant while still in the prime of his career, and finally a champion with the Heat. "You dont think about going to the Hall of Fame. Its your reward," Mourning said. "This was the last thing on my mind. I had an amazing career. The journey was spectacular for me, personally. If no one else saw it that way, then so be it." Mourning, 44, will be presented by John Thompson, his coach at Georgetown, and Riley, his coach with the Heat. Thompson and Riley are two of the people who Mourning credits most for making him what he is. The other is Fannie Threet, the foster mother who died last year at the age of 98 and the person who Mourning speaks with more reverence for than anyone else. Thompson, Riley and the woman he still calls "Miss Threet" might seem like three wildly different people, but Mourning sees parallels in them all -- mainly discipline, devotion and a balance between toughness and compassion. Add them up, you get Mourning, who plans to spend his speech thanking just about everyone he can remember. "Its the pinnacle of the sport," Mourning said. 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