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The History and Origins Of NBA Teams Nicknames

Many National Basketball Association (NBA) clubs have intriguing origin tales and histories around their names, whether they have something about their surrounding region, have a long history, or were picked by the fans. Most of the teams create NBA lines for more wins for the gamblers.

Whichever the situation may be, the story is usually always fascinating, if not outright bizarre—some of the nicknames, as well as some of the performances, sound intriguing to the ear.

Let's explore the history and origin of these few NBA team nicknames. If you are interested to learn about this, let's dive in.

Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls Primary Logo 1967 - Present

Chicago Bulls Primary Logo 1967 - Present

Richard Klein, the owner of the Chicago Bulls in 1966, was seeking a name to call his new franchise and a character that would portray what Chicago stands for as the world's meat capital. Nonetheless, he loved the courage and toughness bulls showed.

However, He was still contemplating which to choose between matadors and Toreadors until his son Mark screamed that's a bunch of bulls!!, that was where the team name Chicago Bulls originated in 1966 by Richard Klein.

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics Primary Logo 1997 - Present

Boston Celtics Primary Logo 1997 - Present

In 1946, the owner of the Boston Celtics, Walter Brown, selected Celtics as the nickname for Boston's (BAA) Basketball Association of America franchise over Whirlwinds, Olympians, and Unicorns.

Despite the objections of one of his public relations staffers, who said, "No team with an Irish name has ever won a blasted thing in Boston," Brown loved the nickname's winning tradition; in the 1920s, the New York Celtics was a profitable franchise throughout the 1920s.

Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors Is an NBA team whose formal nickname is Philadelphia Warriors, Which came about after the team took part in The American Basketball league in the 1920s. From 1946 to 1947, the association won the championship.

After the win, the association proceeded to San Francisco post-1961 to 1962, still bearing its name Philadelphia Warriors until their relocation in 1971 from Bay to Oakland. That came about the change of nickname to Golden State Warriors.

Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers Primary Logo 2002 - Present

Los Angeles Lakers Primary Logo 2002 - Present

In Los Angeles,  the lakes are a bit less than 10,000. Before the 1947 season, many businesspeople transferred the Detroit Gems of the NBA to Minneapolis, looking for a nickname that would fit the team's new location.

Their nickname was renamed Los Angeles Lakers in Minnesota. However, Minnesota is a land known for 10,000 Lakes. So, they chose the Lakers since it's now their new location. The nickname was maintained when the Lakers relocated to Los Angeles ahead of the 1960 season, partly because of the history. The team is now fully stabilized in Minnesota.

Dallas Mavericks

One of the Dallas radio stations held a name-the-team contest and proposed the finalists to Mavericks owner Donald Carter, who chose the Mavericks over the Wranglers  Express. The 41 fans who nominated the Mavericks earned a pair of tickets to the season opener, and Carla Springer, one of those fans, won a drawing for season tickets.

Interestingly, the nickname "represents the sovereign, powerful attitude of the Dallas folks," according to Springer, a freelance writer. Mark Cuban, the recent club possessor, fits that criteria perfectly well.

Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers Primary Logo 1977 - 1990

Indiana Pacers Primary Logo 1977 - 1990

The Pacers' nickname was decided on in 1967 by the franchise's initial investors, notably attorney Richard Tinkham.  In the book written by Michael Leo Donovan on the team's nicknames, Yankees and Fighting Irish: What's Behind Your most cherished club's Team's nickname.

The nickname references Indiana's long history of strap and car racing. Pacing refers to one of the bare footprints used in harness racing, whereas pace cars are also used in motor races like the Indianapolis 500.

Cleveland Cavaliers

In 1970, during a poll sponsored by the Cleveland Plain-Dealers, the  Cavaliers chose the team nickname. Jays, Foresters, Towers, and Presidents were the remaining finalists. The President's nickname was most likely inspired by the fact that Ohio has produced seven US presidents, second only to Virginia, regarding the number of people born there. 

However, Cavaliers represents many bold and courageous men, whose life contracts were never to surrender, no matter the circumstances posed before them," stated Jerry Tomko, who offered the name Cavweers for the competition. Brett Tomko, Tomko's son, proceeded to pitch in the majors. many regarding

Charlotte Hornets

In 2014, Charlotte's National Basketball Association club changed its name to the Hornets. Prepare your notes because this one is a little hard. The Hornets started in New Orleans in 2002, but a new team, the Bobcats, succeeded in Charlotte in 2004. The New Orleans Pelicans relaunched as the Pelicans in 2013, and the Charlotte Hornets got rebranded its name as the Hornets the following year.

New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans Primary Logo 2014 - Present

New Orleans Pelicans Primary Logo 2014 - Present

The New Orleans Pelicans and the Charlotte Hornets are linked together, as formerly noted. Despite initially adopting the Hornets' nickname, the owners concluded that a name that more accurately matched the city's geography would be more appropriate. The owner, Tom Benson, claimed that the term Hornets "doesn't represent or mean anything to the town."


In conclusion, all the NBA team names are amazing but a lot of people won't be able to come up with a name as original as the Lakers or Celtics, no matter how renowned they are.

Even the owner's reasoning has been called into question by the team's new nickname, The Pelicans. Hey! The Bulls are another boom.

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