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What’s in a Name, Team Edition


The good, the bad and the bizarre


NBA team names have become synonymous with the cities they represent. Sometimes the association is clear as day or perfectly apt, such as the Pistons from the ‘Motor City’ of Detroit, known for its automotive industry. The Nuggets pay homage to the gold-rush origins of Colorado while the Houston Rockets share a city with the Mission Control Center of NASA. However, many teams shortlist their names from fan voting or historical origins are no longer applicable, leading to some head-scratchers as well.


Los Angeles Lakers: One of the most iconic NBA franchise has a name of little relevance today, but it reveals much about their heritage. As a pioneer of the NBA, the Minneapolis Lakers paid tribute to the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’ and the team decided to keep this name after moving to Los Angeles.


Philadelphia 76ers: What exactly is a 76er? Philadelphia was where the United States Declaration of Independence was signed, forming the foundation for a new nation. The signing was done in 1776, and the year was adopted in the team’s name.


Toronto Raptors: The team was established in 1994, although its first season was in 1995. Also established in 1994 was the popularity of the classic film ‘Jurassic Park’, which probably played a huge role in the popularity of this team name in fan polls.


Boston Celtics: Another pioneer of the NBA, the Celtics reflected the rich Irish culture in Boston. The Celtics were early settlers of Ireland, and are a group defined by both their ethnicity and language, with the language still in use in modern-day Ireland.