WHAT'S IN A NAME?

By Martin C. Sumners


A child dazzled by Orlando chose the team's name.
THE NICKNAMES
Bobcats
Bucks
Bulls
Cavaliers
Celtics
Clippers
Grizzlies
Hawks
Heat
Hornets
Jazz
Kings
Knicks
Lakers
Magic
Mavericks
Nets
Nuggets
Pacers
Pistons
Raptors
Rockets
Sixers
Sonics
Spurs
Suns
Timberwolves
Trail Blazers
Warriors
Wizards
Shakespeare in one of his most famous works, Romeo and Juliet, has Juliet bemoaning the obstacles to loving Romeo because of the rivalry between their families by questioning -- "What's in a name?"

Well, Shakespeare did not have the chance to root for an NBA team being that he died over 300 years before the league was formed. However, if he were around, he might reconsider his poignant sentiment. It's a big deal to those who want a nickname that evokes pride and a winning attitude for their local team.

NBA teams have resorted to a variety of methods to get their nicknames -- fan vote, history of the area, inherited after team relocation, etc. However the means, some names have taught us that Timberwolves are indigenous to the state of Minnesota. On the other hand, team names may confuse as you may wonder where are all the bodies of fresh water in Southern California that we have the Los Angeles Lakers.

While other names are so fitting that even a child can name the team...even before there is a team. Prior to the city of Orlando being granted a franchise, its team nickname was taken from the comments of the seven year old daughter of future general manager, Pat Williams.

Here are the stories of how the 30 NBA teams became who they are.