NBA Teams

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nba teamsThe Basketball Association of America (BAA) was founded on June 6, 1946, eventually becoming the National Basketball Association (NBA) after merging with the National Basketball League (NBL) following the completion of the league’s third season in 1949. The consolidation was perfect; the BAA had the larger arenas and more populated markets, while the NBL was recognized for having more talented players that were actually entertaining to watch. NBA teams were steadily added to the association as years went on. Because the original league consisted of just teams located in cities on the east coast, popularity boomed when the NBA expanded west and picked-up markets like Los Angeles.

After decades of continued success and popularity the league has expanded to 30 NBA teams in markets all over North America. With 29 organizations from the United States and one from Canada, below is a list of NBA teams that are active to date.


1 Atlanta Hawks

atlanta hawks logo
  • Member of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in Philips Arena; located in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Formerly named the Buffalo Bisons, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Milwaukee Hawks, and St. Louis Hawks before becoming the Atlanta Hawks in 1968

2Boston Celtics

boston celtics
  • Member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in the TD Garden; located in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Their 17 NBA championships is the most of any other organization in league history

3Brooklyn Nets

brooklyn nets
  • Member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in the Barclays Center; located in Brooklyn, New York
  • Previously named the New Jersey Nets until 2012

4Charlotte Hornets

charlotte hornets
  • Member of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in the Spectrum Center; located in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Michael Jordan became the franchise’s majority owner in 2010

5Chicago Bulls

chicago bulls
  • Member of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in the United Center; located in Chicago, Illinois
  • Third most championships in league history with six, all while Michael Jordan was a member of the roster

6Cleveland Cavaliers

cleveland cavaliers
  • Member of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in Quicken Loans Arena; located in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Brought the city of Cleveland a championship in 2016 for the first time since 1964, becoming the first of all NBA teams in history to overcome a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit

7Dallas Mavericks

dallas mavericks
  • Member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the American Airlines Center; located in Dallas, Texas
  • Owned by outspoken owner Mark Cuban and won their first and only NBA championship in 2011 over the Miami Heat

8Denver Nuggets

denver nuggets
  • Member of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the Pepsi Center; located in Denver, Colorado
  • The team joined the National Basketball Association in 1976 as part of the ABA-NBA merger

9Detroit Pistons

detroit pistons
  • Member of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in the Palace of Auburn Hills; located in Auburn Hills, Michigan
  • Sported the “Bad Boys” nickname during the ’80s and early ’90s due to their unmatched physicality and defensive intensity

10Golden State Warriors

golden state warriors
  • Member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in Oracle Arena; located in Oakland, California
  • Set the NBA record for best record in a single season at 73-9 during the 2015-2016 season, supplanting the ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 then-record

11Houston Rockets

houston rockets
  • Member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the Toyota Center; located in Houston, Texas
  • In 1995, the Rockets became the first team in NBA history to win a title as a sixth seed in their conference, as well as becoming the first franchise to defeat four 50-win teams in the playoffs

12Indiana Pacers

indiana pacers
  • Member of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in Bankers Life Fieldhouse; located in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Have maintained their nickname since the organization started in 1967 as part of the ABA, a league where they compiled three championships before the ABA-NBA merger in 1976

13Los Angeles Clippers

los angeles clippers
  • Member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the Staples Center, sharing the arena with the Los Angeles Lakers; located in Los Angeles, California
  • In 2014, Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, outbid celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, and Floyd Mayweather to purchase the organization for $2 billion – quadruple the valuation price

14Los Angeles Lakers

los angeles lakers
  • Member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the Staples Center, sharing the arena with the Los Angeles Clippers; located in Los Angeles, California
  • 16 championships is the second-most of all NBA teams in league history
  • Considered one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports due to their successful and tradition-rich history and significant market

15Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis grizzlies
  • Member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in FedExForum; located in Memphis, Tennessee
  • The organization changed names in 2001 from the Vancouver Grizzlies, an expansion team that entered the NBA in 1995

16Miami Heat

  • Member of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in American Airlines Arena; located in Miami, Florida
  • During the Summer of 2010, in one of the most criticized events to take place in NBA history, LeBron James announced on public television he was “taking his talents to South Beach” to form a “Big Three” alongside friends Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, which went on to win two league titles

17Milwaukee Bucks

milwaukee bucks
  • Member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the BMO Harris Bradley Center; located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Once Milwaukee became an expansion team in 1968, a fan contest was held to determine their team name. The second-most voted on name, the Bucks, was chosen and is a reference to Wisconsin’s official wild animal: the white-tailed deer.

18Minnesota Timberwolves

minnesota timberwolves
  • Member of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the Target Center; located in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Entered the league as an expansion team in 1989 and lost in the first round of their first seven trips to the playoffs between 1997-2003

19New Orleans Pelicans

new orleans pelicans
  • Member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in Smoothie King Center; located in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Forced to temporarily relocate to Oklahoma City for two NBA seasons due to damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005

20New York Knicks

new york knicks
  • Member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in Madison Square Garden; located in Manhattan, New York
  • The term “Knickerbockers” is derived from the 1600s style of pants that Dutch settlers wore when they came to the New World, especially to the area now known as New York.

21Oklahoma City Thunder

oklahoma city thunder
  • Member of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in Chesapeake Energy Arena; located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Was originally established as the Seattle SuperSonics before an investment group, Professional Basketball Club LLC, relocated and changed the team name in 2008 after purchasing the team just a couple years prior.

22Orlando Magic

orlando magic
  • Member of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in Amway Arena; located in Orlando, Florida
  • The team nickname “Magic” alludes to Walt Disney World, which serves as the primary attraction and economic generator in Central Florida.

23Philadelphia 76ers

philadelphia 76ers
  • Member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in Wells Fargo Center; located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Hold the NBA record for consecutive losses, losing 28 straight contests spanning over the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons
  • Have the two worst 82-game single season records in league history: 9-73 in 1973 and 10-72 in 2016.

24Phoenix Suns

phoenix suns
  • Member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in Talking Stick Resort Arena; located in Phoenix Arizona
  • Entered the league as an expansion team in 1968 and is one of the NBA teams to have never won an NBA championship.

25Portland Trail Blazers

portland trailblazers
  • Member of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the Moda Center; located in Portland, Oregon
  • The season after drafting Maurice Lucas and hiring head coach Jack Ramsay in 1977, the organization had their first winning record of 49-33, experienced their first playoff appearance, and won their first and only NBA championship

26Sacramento Kings

sacramento kings
  • Member of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in Golden 1 Center; located in Sacramento, California
  • Oldest franchise of all NBA teams, originating in 1923 as a semi-professional basketball team called the Rochester Seagrams

27San Antonio Spurs

san antonio spurs
  • Member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in the AT&T Center; located in San Antonio, Texas
  • Five championships is fourth-most of all NBA teams in league history, only behind the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls

28Toronto Raptors

toronto raptors
  • Member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in Air Canada Centre; located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Originated in 1995 alongside the Vancouver Grizzlies as part of the NBA’s expansion effort into Canada
  • Currently the only Canadian-based NBA team after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis in 2001

29Utah Jazz

utah jazz
  • Member of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference
  • Home games are played in Vivint Smart Home Arena; located in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Originated in New Orleans, hence their nickname that was never changed, but moved to Utah in 1979 due to financial struggles

30Washington Wizards

washington wizards
  • Member of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Home games are played in the Verizon Center; located in Washington, D.C.
  • Formerly the Washington Bullets before owner Abe Pollin decided to make a change in 1967 due to the Bullets’ nickname assuming violent references

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