Teams Should Reflect City PT. IV-BASKETBALL

Updated: December 6, 2012

Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter


OAKLAND, CA. (BASN)—Over the past 60 years 40 teams have changed cities, logos, and names causing a crazy maze quilt pattern of sports history. American cities have been held hostage to the demands of teams and their billionaire owner’s. These owners and teams want new state of the art arenas and stadiums.

National Basketball Association (NBA)
Sacramento Kings-Cincinnati-Rochester Royals-Kansas City-Omaha Kings
Golden State Warriors -Philadelphia, Penna.
Los Angeles Lakers Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
Los Angeles Clippers-Buffalo Braves
Brooklyn- New Jersey Nets –Long Island, N.Y.
Utah Jazz- New Orleans, La.
Philadelphia 76ers-Syracuse, N.Y. Nationals
Detroit Pistons-Fort Wayne, IN.
Atlanta Hawks- St. Louis-Milwaukee
Memphis Grizzlies-Vancouver, Canada
New Orleans Hornets- Charlotte, N.C
Houston Rockets- San Diego, California
Los Angeles Clippers-San Diego
Washington Wizards-Baltimore-Washington Bullets-Chicago Zephyers

In 1951 The Quad Cities Blackhawks moved to Milwaukee and became the Milwaukee Hawks. Four years later this team moved again to St. Louis but this would not be the team’s final destination. In 1968 the Hawks moved south again to Atlanta, keeping the name and logo with each move.

In 1957 The Fort Wayne Pistons moved to Detroit. The Rochester Royals moved west to Cincinnati with the great star, Oscar Robinson, running the back court. The Royals kept moving west to Kansas City-Omaha with a name change, to the Kings. The Royals-Kings final destination was Northern California and the state capital city of Sacramento. The Kings went to the Western Conference Finals and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers twice.

The Detroit Pistons have stayed in the Motor City and won three NBA Titles in the late 1990’s.

In 1960 The Los Angeles Lakers moved from Minneapolis Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. There is only one lake in Los Angeles and that lake is man made. The Lakers should have left the name in Minneapolis-St Paul. Now we know the Lakers will never change their name or their colors because of the 17 NBA titles.

Two years later the Philadelphia Warriors would packed their bags and follow the Lakers west to San Francisco playing on south side of town in the Cow Palace. This team had one of the best professional basketball uniforms of all times with the Golden Gate Bridge on the front, the trolley car on the back with the player’s number in the middle. They moved across the Bay to Oakland in 1973 changing their name to Golden State the nickname for the state of California. How ironic in 2014 the Warriors could be moving back to San Francisco and a new waterfront arena.

In 1963 the Chicago Zephyrs became the Baltimore Bullets. This team would played for many Eastern Conference finals against the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. They finally made it to the NBA Championship.They lost the first time to the Golden State Warriors 1975-76 then won their first title in 1977-78 over the Seattle SuperSonics.

This team moved to the Washington, D.C. suburbs and changed its name to the Washington Wizards; one of the few teams that moved and changed their name.

In ‘63, the Syracuse (NY) Nationals moved south and changed their name to the Philadelphia 76ers. This team replaced the lost Warriors one year earlier. The Sixers reclaimed one of the former Warriors in seven foot center, Wilt Chamberlin, and won the championship in 1966-67.

The City of San Diego lost two teams the in 1971 San Diego Rockets moved to Houston. The Rockets have won two championships in Houston. Then in 1984, the San Diego Clippers moved to the City of Angels. San Diego acquired the Buffalo (Braves) of 1978. The Clippers now share the same building, the Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers. They are the second team in the city and may be on the rise with their new roster. Only time will tell if they can compete for the city against the purple and gold Lakers.

In 1972 the Cincinnati Royals moved to a new primary home in Kansas City and a secondary home in Omaha carrying the new name Kansas City-Omaha Kings. Then in 1985 they would finally find a home in Sacramento, the capitol of California. There are rumors that this team might be on the move once more if the city does not come up with a new arena to play in Northern California. The Maloof brothers are making demands on the City of Sacramento

In 1973 the American Basketball Association (ABA) Dallas Chaparrals become the ABA/NBA San Antonio Spurs. They are still the only team from the other league that has won a NBA title. Others have come close to playing in their respective conference finals: the Denver Nuggets, the New Jersey Nets, and Indianapolis Pacers. The San Antonio Spurs have won four NBA titles.

In 1977 the New Jersey-New York-Brooklyn Nets, still don’t know which side of the Hudson River they want to play. One year after the ABA/NBA merger, the team became the New Jersey Nets. The Nets moved back to New York in the mid -‘80’s and moved back across the Hudson River in 1988.

In 1979 Utah Jazz came from New Orleans. We all know that Utah is hardly known for its jazz music. This is one of the most foolish names and team identities ever. They should change it because it has nothing to do with the state of Utah. Maybe New Orleans and Utah can trade names and logos.

In 1997-The Washington Wizards formerly known as the Baltimore-Washington-Capitol Bullets did something unheard of. The administration changed their name in respect to the Black residents of the District of Columbia. African American males were being shot in the city at an alarming rate in the late 90’s. The Wizard organization wanted to change its image so the Bullet name and logo was removed from the uniform.

In 2001 the Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis, Tennessee and kept the name and the logo. Are there any Grizzly bears in the State of Tenn.? Last year this team went to the Western Conference Final. They are geographically challenged by playing in the Western Division being east of the Mississippi River.

In 2002 the Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans and kept the name and the logo. The Hornets have come full circle from (Grand Mama and Zo)-Larry Johnson and Alonzo Morning, in the middle 1990’s came close to an Eastern Division Conference title in the 90’s. This team returned to New Orleans after the tragic Hurricane Katrina forced them to play in Oklahoma City. The Hornets have helped uplift the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana with their winning season in 2008. This team should reclaim the name Jazz. Maybe Utah and New Orleans can switch names. Knowing the NBA executives it will never happen.

In 1978-79 The Seattle SuperSonics of the National Basketball Association won the NBA title in one of the biggest upset of all times beating the bigger and stronger Baltimore Bullets with Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld.

The Sonic franchise moved to Oklahoma City in 2009 but the City of Seattle kept the name SuperSonics in the Great Northwest. This is how it is supposed to be. Owners, please don’t carry the name and mascot with you, it is ours. The Citizens of Seattle won this battle in court and Oklahoma City named their new team The Thunder. When a professional team relocates it should leave the name and mascot behind. Not many teams have done this.

The citizens of Seattle made it very clear that cities are getting tired of being kidnapped and tired of paying for new arenas, stadiums, and ball parks. Not only that but they are also tired of helping to pay for the high salaries of players. Fans are tired of multi-billionaire owners holding their cities for hostage. In the meantime citizens get a professional team with a name that does not reflect the city’s image or history.

Sport teams have moved and in the future many more will relocate. It’s just a matter of time. This year 2012-2013 The New Jersey Nets went back across the Hudson River to Brooklyn, New York. This is the third trip across the river. The Nets changed their colors and their logo this time.

P.S. The New Orleans Hornets will change their name and logo in 2014 to the Pelicans. This author cheers this action to reflect the Crescent City.

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Disabled Community Activist. Email at

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

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