This is completely a ripoff of a discussion that Bill Simmons had with (Zach Lowe, I think but I forget) on the BS Report where they talked about doing a column ranking the NBA nicknames in terms of relevancy. In keeping with the theme that I’m completely copying Simmons’ whole schtick, this broke down into five categories for me (in order from worst to best):
- This blatantly makes no sense but we all know why they’re called this
- Why did you name your team this?
- Nothing special, this nickname could work in any city/sport
- Good try
- Nailed it!
This blatantly makes no sense but we all know why they’re called this
30. Utah Jazz
29. Los Angeles Lakers
Which is greater: number of lakes in Los Angeles or number of jazz flautists in Utah?
Why did you name your team this?
Quick note on this category: we actually kind of know why they named these teams the way they did. But still…. Why?
28. Brooklyn Nets
Back when they were the New York Nets, they had the whole Nets/Mets/Jets thing going. Expect a name change soon. I’m sad to say that I can’t make any more Jay-Z references when I talk about the Nets.
27. Indiana Pacers
Loosely related to auto racing. Not even slightly related to basketball.
26. Los Angeles Clippers
You have to hope that LA gets San Diego’s Channel 4, because a Clipper is actually an old ship used in the Civil War era. Can’t make that up.
Nothing special, this nickname could work in any city/sport
25-19 (tie). Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors
18-15 (tie). Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards
Broke it up into two subcategories (names I like and names I don’t). Quick notes: OKC was almost nicknamed the Twisters, which would have been awkward; Raptors was better when Bosh was their best player because he was also a mascot.
Good try I guess
14. New Orleans Pelicans
Only good if it gets shortened to Cans, because #MardiGras.
13. New York Knicks
I’m going to get a lot of shit for this, but Knickerbockers just doesn’t do it for me.
12. Dallas Mavericks
11. Charlotte Bobcats
Because there are bobcats in North Carolina. When they change to the Hornets, it will probably stay in this range. Allegedly, a British commander during the Revolutionary War referred to Charlotte was a nest of hornets. Not sure if he was referring to basketball, but I doubt it.
10. Detroit Pistons
9. Orlando Magic
8. Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota is the only state in the lower 48 with free-roaming packs of timber wolves, which is a little bit terrifying. Also, #VamosWolves.
7. Miami Heat
Because it’s hot in Miami! Get it?
6. Milwaukee Bucks
This is pretty hypocritical, but I like the nod to big buck hunting. Definitely a lot cooler than the Milwaukee White Tail Deer (the WNBA team).
5. San Antonio Spurs
Spurs -> Cowboys -> Hard work/Not flashy -> Tim Duncan
4. Houston Rockets
The coolest part of the Rockets name is that the nickname originated when the team was in San Diego. And then they moved to the home of NASA and it just got that much better.
3. Denver Nuggets
Originally named for the Colorado gold rush of the 1800s. Now twice as awesome because, you know, Colorado. And nuggets.
2. Boston Celtics
I love Ireland.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
I love America more.