What's in an NBA
Name? Part II
people think that the Chicago Bulls got their name because of the
stockyards that exist in that windy city. The Bulls received their moniker
in 1966 by their first owner, Richard Klein, who admired “Bulls”
because of their toughness and looked forward to having a team that had
Pistons came into being early on in NBA history - back in 1948. They were
known then as the Ft. Wayne Zollner Pistons. It was a case of an owner
naming a team for himself and the business that he ran. Fred Zollner owned
a huge piston-manufacturing company. In 1957, the team moved to Detroit,
and Pistons moved right along with it.
back in 1925, there was a Philadelphia Warriors team in the American
Basketball League. In 1946, when Philadelphia joined the NBA, it took its
nickname from that old team. Many years and many miles later, the Golden
State Warriors are a descendant of the old Philadelphia Warriors. They've
gone through a couple of geographical shifts. Philly became the San
Francisco Warriors, San Francisco became the Oakland Warriors and Oakland
became the Golden State Warriors.
few years back a newspaper guy came up with the idea of teams trading
names. The suggestion had some merit, but it was no dice. What the guys
thought was that the Utah Jazz become the Utah Lakers and the Los Angeles
Lakers become the Los Angeles Jazz.
both Utah and Los Angeles have names from cities both franchises vacated.
Utah came into being in 1979, when the New Orleans Jazz moved there. That
New Orleans basketball team is only a memory, but the Utah Jazz kept their
name and team colors. The Minneapolis Lakers made the move to L.A. before
the 1960 season and took with it its nickname that comes from the state of
Minnesota's motto: "the land of 10,000 lakes". There aren't many
lakes in L.A. or that much jazz in Salt Lake City - so maybe that
newspaper guy had a good idea after all.
how the three Texas NBA teams got their names. The Houston Rockets were
once the San Diego Rockets. The name has worked well for both franchises -
linked to space programs and industries. The San Antonio Spurs got their
short name in a public naming contest - a name that makes you think of
Texas, and the same is true of the Dallas Mavericks who came into being in
1980. A Dallas radio station sorted out many suggested names in a
"name-the-team" contest and picked Mavericks thinking it had
1963, the old Syracuse Nats were sold and became the Philadelphia 76ers.
Anybody who knows anything about American history, knows how Philly got
1968, the new Phoenix franchise offered a cash prize and a couple of
season tickets to the winner of a "name-the-team" contest.
“Suns” was the winning name, but runner-ups included Scorpions,
Rattlers, and Dust Devils.
years later, in another "name-the-team" contest in Portland,
nearly 200 people contributed for a new franchise name - Trail Blazers.
New Jersey Nets began life in the American Basketball Association and were
known as the New Jersey Americans. In 1968, the team left New Jersey and
moved to Commack, Long Island and were re-named the New York Nets.
reasoning was that since the New York metropolitan area had the football
Jets and the baseball Mets, why not the basketball Nets? Just before the
1977-78 season, the franchise moved back across the Hudson River to New
Jersey. There were some who thought the original name -New Jersey
Americans - should be brought back, but the name Nets moved right along
with the team.
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About the Author:
Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times,
Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath,
The Sporting News, among other publications.
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Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz Frommer are the authors of
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