Renaming All The NBA Teams

By: 10.06.10  •  65 Comments

Renaming All The NBA Teams

I cannot stop thinking about how the Utah Jazz shouldn’t be called the Jazz because there’s more jazz music around the corner of my apartment than in the entire state of Utah. Then I remembered Los Angeles doesn’t really have lakes, just rivers and the Pacific Ocean. Furthermore, Raptors have been extinct for about 71 million years. With that, I decided to take a look at all 30 NBA team names and rename them, because lots of these are outdated or just lame. But some aren’t outdated, and some are really awesome (like the Spurs, Heat and Thunder). Anyways, I’m changing all of them. Who cares, this isn’t really going to happen.

Atlanta Hawks – Hawks is pretty unoriginal. Actually, most bird names are. They have the Falcons too. What’s up with your love for birds, Atlanta? Why didn’t they go with the Atlanta/Atlantis route? You can associate them with Poseidon (or Neptune if you like Roman mythology). Either way they both have that cool triple spear. We’ll rename them the Atlanta Tridents.

Boston Celtics – Boston does have some Irish people, I’ll give them that, but they’re not the only people in town. Not even half. One of the things most Bostonians have in common is that crazy Boston accent, the Kennedy accent. So instead of changing the nickname, I’m just going to change the name of the city and the arena. The Bawstin Celtics play in the TD Gahden.

Charlotte Bobcats – When this team was created, the franchise held a contest and fans got to vote for a name. I kind of don’t believe it, because how does Bobcats win? It turns out it was between Bobcats, Dragons and Flight. How does Flight lose?! I’m a sucker for abstract names (especially that they don’t need an S at the end), and North Carolina is the birthplace of aviation. And they’re a basketball team. So this team should be renamed, with 100 percent of my vote, to the Charlotte Flight.

Chicago Bulls – I’m pretty sure there are no more bulls in Chicago, if there ever were. I’m not sure about Bears either, but at least there are the Bears and the Cubs and there’s some consistency there. So to go full circle with this children’s story, we’ll rename the Bulls the Chicago Mama Bears to go with the Papa Bears and the Baby Bears. I guess the Blackhawks can be Goldilocks.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Okay, quick history lesson: the name Cavalier was given to people who defended the King of England in his fight against the Parliamentarians. Well, Cleveland renounced their former king over the summer so clearly this name is no longer appropriate. We’ll have to call them the Cleveland Parliamentarians, because now they hate the king.

Dallas Mavericks – Mavericks is a really cool name. Unfortunately for Dallas, John McCain and Sarah Palin hijacked it’s coolness during the ’08 presidential campaign. I understand Mark Cuban or Dirk calling themselves Mavericks, but Palin? Oh well, now that Maverick is apparently synonymous with the GOP, they’ll have to be the Dallas Republicans.

Denver Nuggets – A nugget of what, exactly? Gold, apparently. Their original logo had a miner “discovering” a basketball. Cool, guys. Why didn’t you discover a name that doesn’t remind me of fried chicken? Maybe McDonald’s can buy the Nuggets and name them the McNuggets, and they could save some cash by using the jerseys from the McDonald’s All-American game! “The Denver McNuggets, presented by McDonalds.” I’m lovin’ it!

Detroit Pistons – This is a sweet name because they make cars in Detroit, and pistons are part of an engine. But we have to change it because that’s the name of the game. When I think of the Pistons I think of Rip Hamilton in that crazy clear mask, and fans chanting “Deeeee-troiiiit Baaaaaasketbaaaaall”. God that’s annoying. Wait, actually, that’s not a bad name. Detroit Basketball it is.

Golden State Warriors – What’s with the generalization of the area? They can’t admit to San Francisco that the team is actually in Oakland? How about we build an arena on Alcatraz, the name Warriors could make a little more sense, and it’s neither in San Francisco or Oakland. Alcatraz Warriors.

Houston Rockets – I like this name. Space Center Houston is the inspiration for it, much like the Astros baseball team. But when you hear “rocket” don’t you think of the classic tube with one little circular window on top? Does NASA even use those anymore? People go to space in shuttles, and most of the time they just launch satellites. Houston Satellites.

Indiana Pacers – It’s pretty ridiculous that the Pacers were named after racing. To be exact: the pace car at the Indy 500, it’s kind of like the referee of racing. Not even a race car! With such a rich basketball history, the state of Indiana already has a basketball name. I know it’s the name of Indiana University’s mascot, but the Pacers should be called the Indiana Hoosiers, duh.

Los Angeles Clippers – I’m sure there are plenty of barbers in L.A. that use clippers. So this makes perfect sense. Just kidding, I have no idea why they’re called the Clippers. But they do play in the Staple Center (along with the incredibly more popular Lakers), so let’s try to stick it to that other team and call them the Los Angeles Staplers. It’ll look like they’re the real home team (even when they aren’t).

Los Angeles Lakers – Like I said before, there are no big lakes in L.A. They stole this name from Minneapolis where there are lakes, Great Lakes to be exact. Los Angeles has plenty of things to name their team after; actors, um, actresses? What else do they do in L.A. besides pretend to be other people? Whenever there are shots of the city I always see people rollerblading on Venice Beach. L.A. Rollerbladers.

Memphis Grizzlies – Memphis is the home of The King, Elvis Pressley, and their name is the Grizzlies? Memphis Hound Dogs would be better, even Memphis Blue Suede Shoes. But let’s get a little more general and call them the Memphis Blues.

Miami Heat – Yes, it is hot in Miami. I live there most of the year. The only place Miamians can get away from the heat is at Heat games, where it’s nice and air conditioned. Also, I’m not sure if people in Miami know an NBA game is 48 minutes, because most show up around halftime. Most people at Heat games go for about 24 minutes of actual game time and spend about half of that at the Bacardi bar. Heat games are more like a social club… a Miami Social Club.

Milwaukee Bucks – I actually kind of like this name, it’s very original, but it’s also really cute, which usually doesn’t fare well for a sports team full of alpha-males. The only thing I think of when I hear “Milwaukee” is beer. Miller Brewing Company’s headquarters are in Milwaukee, but the baseball team already took the great name Brewers. So we’ll have to go with something else from that region, like the legendary/mythological Paul Bunyan and his axe. The Milwaukee Bunyans would be a horrible name, but Milwaukee Axes? Pretty sweet.

Minnesota Timberwolves – The city of Minneapolis got pretty screwed with Los Angeles not only taking their basketball team but their best sports name. And if I were from Minneapolis I’d be pretty pissed when the Lakers wear the throwback MPLS. jerseys. This team should be the Minneapolis Lakers.

New Jersey Nets – Nets? Really? Yeah, the thing that hangs from the rim, I know. I can name parts of a basketball court too. Why’d you land on the Nets and not the New Jersey Backboards? New Jersey Baselines? New Jersey Restricted Areas? What about parts of a uniform? New Jersey Sneakers, New Jersey Socks, New Jersey Jerseys. Looks like they’re moving to Brooklyn soon, but they’re not in Brooklyn yet. So we’ll combine their need to name the team after things you see on a basketball court with the most popular thing to come out of Jersey in recent years, and they’ll be the Jersey Shorts.

New Orleans Hornets – This one is easy, and I know it’s a cop out, but they have to be called the Jazz. I thought of indigenous animals to Louisiana, what do they have? Crawfish and crocodiles? The New Orleans Crocs? As in, it’s a crock they were stolen from Charlotte. Relax New Orleans, we’ll stick with Jazz.

New York Knicks – Knickerbockers, the name given to descendents of Dutch settlers in what eventually became New York. That’s what the basketball team is named after? Why? Look how funny the original logo is. New York has the best nickname of all states and it perfectly represents it, The Empire State. They should be called The New York Empire.

Oklahoma City Thunder – It’s hard to argue with this name, it’s not only good but it’s brand new so I can’t whine about it being outdated. I’ll force this one a little, because bison is such a cool name for an animal, and it’s about the only NBA state that actually has a bison population. Oklahoma City Bison.

Orlando Magic – The most famous thing in Orlando is Disney World. They are already basically named after Disney with the name Magic. It must be tough to be intimidating with that name though, but I don’t think there’s anything much tougher in Disney’s vault. They could be the Orlando Mice, as in Mickey Mouse. Also, can’t you imagine Dwight Howard being really scared of a little mouse even though he’s so big? The only other thing I associate with Orlando is Tiger Woods, and I’m not going down that path. Orlando Mice it is.

Philadelphia 76ers – One of my favorite names in the NBA. In case you didn’t know, they signed the Declaration of Independence in Philly, hence the 1776ers. But since then, most of Philly’s publicity has been bad: chucking snowballs at Santa, booing basically everyone that enters their stadiums, and a fan intentionally vomiting on an 11-year old girl. But those were football and baseball games! The basketball fans can’t possibly be the same people. So for that reason, the team should be renamed the Philadelphia Team with Reasonable Fans.

Phoenix Suns – Hey, Phoenix, we all get the sun. I know it’s hot over there but don’t be selfish. Are there camels in that desert? Just kidding, I’m not that ignorant. How come none of the Arizona teams have taken advantage of the Grand Canyon being there? The Phoenix Canyons, is that too weird?

Portland Trail Blazers – The Blazers was a perfect name in the days of Damon Stoudamire and ‘Sheed, but now it’s time the organization turns over a new leaf (pun intended). Speaking of leaves, the city’s official nickname is the City of Roses, but that’s a little too soft to play around with. Portland is famous for its microbreweries though, and craft beer is always good. Let’s alter a name from baseball and call them the Portland MicroBrewers, or just Brewers.

Sacramento Kings – The United States has never had a king, let alone the city of Sacramento. But they do have a new mayor, former NBA All-Star and Sac-town native Kevin Johnson. Also, the Kings are in trouble, they want a new arena and may leave town if Johnson doesn’t find a way to get them one. Interesting that one of Johnson’s problems as mayor is an NBA franchise, it sounds like a bad made-for-TV movie. In honor of his plight, this team should be renamed the Sacramento Johnsons.

San Antonio Spurs – No one wears spurs anymore, not even to ride horses, its politically incorrect or something (although how else will your horse be fast enough to rob that locomotive?). One of the highlights of San Antonio is River Walk, and I really like the name San Antonio RiverWalkers. Maybe their slogan could be WWJD.

Toronto Raptors – It sounds like a seven-year-old named this team. Actually, ten. A seven-year-old would’ve named them the T-Rex’s. Raptors are a type of bird, but their logo is clearly the dinosaur, which have been extinct for 71 million years. Since the Grizzlies left Vancouver, Toronto has the only Canadian team in the NBA, so they should take advantage of that. Let’s go with the Toronto Mounties, they could wear those red jackets as warm ups. Who doesn’t like Dudley Do-Right?

Utah Jazz – This was one of the best names in sports when the Jazz were in New Orleans, and immediately became one of the worst when they moved to Utah. To me, it’s like that town from Footloose, so Jazz definitely will not be tolerated. Utah is basically famous for skiing and the Great Salt Lake. Oh wait this is easy, Utah Salt Lakers.

Washington Wizards – Who thought of this? I don’t even think Harry Potter was popular when this name was changed from the Bullets (which is one of the best names ever). Washington has the power of the federal government and it lands on the Wizards? They got MJ out of retirement and they’re called the Wizards? Actually that one makes sense. Nonetheless it’s a weak name, but we can’t go back to Bullets now. The hockey and baseball teams had the right idea, using the America’s government as a backdrop for the team names Capitols and Nationals. We can go with more obscure government references like Washington Filibusters or Washington President Pro Tempores, or just go straight up Washington Fightin’ Obamas.

What do you think? If you could rename your team name, what would it be?

Follow Jorge on Twitter at @jorgeazze.

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