Origins and name changes of all NBA teams


NBA franchises, like in other major leagues in the United States, have not always been linked to the same city. The location transfers, sometimes, carry with them a name change, but sometimes there is also a change in the ‘nickname’ for issues related to other aspects outside the removals. Below we review the origins and changes of city and name of the 30 NBA franchises.

Atlanta Hawks

The current name of the Atlanta Hawks has gone around many times to become so. The team was born as Tri-Cities Blackhawks, referencing a warrior from a Native American tribe named Black Hawks. When the team moved in 1951, it became the Milwaukee Hawks, becoming the St. Louis Hawks in another move in 1955, and returning to Atlanta in 1968.

Boston Celtics

It has not changed its name or city since its foundation in 1946. In fact, even its uniform has changed only a few details throughout its history, but it maintains the essence and roots of the original.

Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are the heir to the New Jersey Nets that were originally born in 1967 under the name of New York Americans and played at ABA. Eventually they moved to New Jersey in the face of tough Knicks competition for city sharing, and in 1969 the name was changed from Americans to Nets. They finally changed location to Brooklyn again in 2012, acquiring a new identity of colors, logo and image.

Charlotte Hornets

They were born in 1988 and remained in Charlotte until the franchise moved to New Orleans in 2002. It took two years for the city to regain an NBA team, when the Charlotte Bobcats were born in 2004. Together they kept their name until 2014, taking advantage of the fact that The New Orleans franchise had relinquished its ‘nickname’, regained that of Hornets and the entire history of the franchise from 1988 to 2002.

Chicago Bulls

The franchise was founded in 1966 and became the city’s third basketball team, after the Chicago Packers (later the Chicago Zerphys) and the Chicago Stags. Its logo, colors and uniform have hardly changed over time.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The team was born in 1970 and has never changed its name or city, although it has changed its image and essence on several occasions throughout its history.

Dallas Mavericks

The franchise dates back to 1980, when an entrepreneur wanted basketball back in town after the Dallas Chaparrals move. The Mavericks are here to stay and have never changed their name or location.

Denver Nuggets

The team was born in 1968 under the name Denver Rockets, but when the NBA absorbed the ABA, the franchise had to change it because the Houston Rockets already existed. A survey was conducted to decide on the new name and it was agreed to call the Denver Nuggets team in honor of another well-known outfit so it disappeared in 1950.

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are the heirs to the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons that emerged in 1949. When the team moved to Michigan City it kept its name, which stems from the fact that its first owner, Fred Zollner, had a factory. piston, although everyone thinks it is related to Detroit car factories.

Golden State Warriors

The origin of the Warriors is, practically, in the other end of the United States. The Philadelphia Warriors were born in 1947 in Philly, as a participating team in the BAA, and it was not until 1962 when they moved to San Francisco. In 1971 they became the Golden State Warriors, coinciding with their move to Oakland.

Houston Rockets

Although you might think that the name of Houston Rockets is perfect because of the Texas city’s relationship with NASA, it actually comes from its previous stage. The San Diego Rockets were born in 1968 and moved to Houston in 1971, keeping the name.

Indiana Pacers

The franchise was founded in 1967 and the team played in the ABA until the league’s dissolution in 1976, when it became one of the NBA’s four expansion teams. It has never changed its name or city.

Los Angeles Clippers

In 1971 the Buffalo Braves were born, which seven years later, in 1978, they moved to the city of San Diego and became the San Diego Clippers, changing their name completely. Something that did not happen when the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1984, where they remained the same Clippers that have been so fashionable in recent years.

Los Angeles Lakers

The origin of the franchise is in Minneapolis, in 1949, as a BAA team. Years later, the team moved to Los Angeles in 1960 but kept its name, although in California there are not exactly too many lakes.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Vancouver Grizzlies were born in 1996 as one of the two Canadian expansion teams, but they did not last long in the neighboring country and moved to Memphis in 2001. With the move came a proposal for a name change that the NBA did not approve of. commercial connotations. The idea was for the set to be called the Memphis Express, but its relationship with the FedEx courier company was vetoed by the League.

Miami Heat

The team was founded in 1988, on the occasion of the expansion of the NBA, and has never changed its city or name, nor has it practically changed in terms of identity and image.

Milwaukee Bucks

The franchise originates from 1968, when the NBA placed a team in Milwaukee. Since then it has never changed its name or city.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The NBA opened to two new franchises in 1987, but the Minnesota Timberwolves did not debut in the League until 1989. They have always been in the same city and had the same name, although they are mostly known simply as Wolves.

New Orleans Pelicans

As we have told before, the Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002, becoming the New Orleans Hornets. However, the name had no connection to the city of Louisiana and in 2013 it was changed to New Orleans Pelicans (the pelican is one of the symbols of NOLA). As a curiosity, because of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the team played two seasons in Oklahoma City and was known as the New Orleans / Oklahoma City Hornets.

New York Knicks

The Knicks’ original name was New York Knickerbockers, referring to a type of pants typical of Dutch settlers. They were later known simply as Knicks so that the full name of the team could make headlines. Since their founding in 1946, they have never changed cities or names.

Oklahoma City Thunder

When the franchise was born in 1967 it did so under the name of Seattle Supersonics, until it moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and has to change its name to Thunder due to legal litigation that gave the rights to the ‘nickname’ Sonics to the city of Seattle.

Philadelphia 76ers

The team was founded in 1946 under the name Syracuse Nationals, changing to the Philadelphia 76ers in 1963, coinciding with the transfer of the franchise. The ‘nickname’ 76ers has to do with the date of the 1976 declaration of independence for the United States, signed in the city of Philly.

Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns were part of the expansion of NBA teams in 1968 and since then they never changed cities or names.

Portland Trail Blazers

He was born in 1970 and entered the NBA that same year, from which they have never changed his name, location or appearance.

Sacramento Kings

The Roschester Royals were born in 1946 as a team from the NBL and later from the ABA. The team moved to Cincinatti in 1957, retaining the name, unlike when they moved to Kansas City in 1972, as the city’s baseball team already had that name and the basketball team changed it to Kings. On their last trip to Sacramento, in 1975, they kept it.

San Antonio Spurs

We have already mentioned the team before. It emerged as the Dallas Chaparrals in 1968 and in 1971 they traded it for the Texas Chaparrals. Two years later, in 1973, the franchise moved to San Antonio and changed its name to Gunslingers, although they never played under that identity, changing it to San Antonio Spurs.

Toronto Raptors

The team emerged in 1993 under the name of Toronto Raptors and, although it has changed its identity, colors and logo, it has never changed its city or name. He debuted in the NBA in 1995.

Utah Jazz

Looking at the tradition of jazz music in Utah, it is evident that the team was born elsewhere. The franchise was founded in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz, and when it moved to Utah in 1979 it did not lose its name.

Washington Wizards

We are before the name change of an NBA franchise with more background in the entire history of the League. The origin of the team is in the Chicago Packers founded in 1962. Later they changed their name to Chicago Zerphys and in 1963 they moved from city to Baltimore Ballets. Ten years later, in 1973, another move took place, to Landover, with the name Capital Bullets, which was maintained in 1974 when the franchise was located in Washington. However, in 1997 and due to the city’s high rate of firearm murders, the NBA set was renamed the Washington Wizards. This last modification was accompanied by controversy because a range within the Ku Klux Klan was known as Wizard, but the team completely dissociated itself from this matter.

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