If We Give You the NBA City, Can You Tell Us the Team That Belongs There?


By: Jonnathan Chadwick

7 Min Quiz

Image: Shobeir Ansari / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

We love our sports in America, and the country is flooded with sports teams of all types. Scattered among America's 20,000 cities are the major markets that house hundreds of professional sports teams across several pro leagues. And within all of these leagues are a bunch of weird team names. Teams in the NBA are named after people, weather, animals, nature and miscellaneous items, and the league has been fascinating fans since 1946.

Today, there are 30 teams in 28 cities, but there have been dozens of franchises to grace the hardwood and dozens of cities to host professional squads. Not all teams last forever. The Celtics and the Knicks are the only two teams that have played in their original cities with their original names since the NBA's inaugural season. Every other team has either relocated, renamed or joined the league after 1946. The newest team is the Pelicans, and you know the two oldest teams in the league, now it's time to link them to the proper city.

If you can remember the new teams, the old teams, which franchise relocated where and what team plays in what arena, this quiz might not be too hard. Let's see what you got.

This Toronto team won its first NBA championship in 2019.

Toronto is one of the newer teams in the league, being founded in 1995, and in 2019 the franchise won its first NBA championship. Kawhi Leonard led the team, and they stopped the Golden State Warriors from winning three championships in a row.


Miami's NBA team share's a name with the city's weather. Who plays there?

Miami is known for its rain and humidity, but those aren't cool team names, so the franchise went with Heat instead. The team began one year before its counterpart in Orlando and have won three championships since, including back-to-back victories in 2012 and 2013.


The team in Phoenix is named after an iconic desert symbol. What is its name?

Even on Antarctica, which is freezing cold but also the world's biggest desert, the sun is shining bright. You can't have a desert without the sun, and Arizona is home to plenty of deserts. Charles Barkley almost led the team to a championship, but they couldn't beat Michael Jordan and the Bulls.


This team from Salt Lake City is named after a timeless genre of music. Who are they?

Given that Jazz is one of the blackest musical genres and Utah is one of the whitest states in the country, it's perplexing to learn that Utah's NBA team is named the Jazz, but it's because the Jazz were founded in New Orleans, which is the Jazz Capital of the World.


Philadelphia is home to the cheesesteak and which of these NBA teams?

The former U.S. capital is home to one of America's most American teams, but the 76ers actually started in Syracuse. They moved to Philly in 1963, and legends like Julius Erving (aka Dr. J) and Charles Barkley played for the franchise.


Chicago, aka the Windy City, is home to what six-time NBA champion?

Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls, and they won two three-peats in the 1990s. The team could've possibly won eight championships in a row if Jordan didn't leave to play baseball. The Houston Rockets won the championships in 1994 and 1995.


What five-time NBA champion led by Gregg Popovich plays in San Antonio?

The San Antonio Spurs are listed alongside the New England Patriots, Alabama Crimson Tide and the Duke Blue Devils as three of the greatest and most disciplined teams the sports world has ever seen. Head coach Gregg Popovich has led the team to five NBA championships.


LeBron James played professionally just 45 minutes from where he grew up. What Cleveland team did he lead to a championship in 2016?

LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio and won a championship just 45 minutes away for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. Coincidentally, his Finals rival, Steph Curry, was born in the same Akron hospital about three years later.


Boston's NBA team holds the record for most championships. What team plays in the city?

The Boston Celtics franchise has 17 championships and is one of the NBA's original teams. The team has been located in Boston since its founding and was home to legends like Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Larry Bird.


The Staples Center in Los Angeles is home to two NBA teams. Which team wears purple and gold?

The L.A. Lakers were founded in 1947, and the franchise has 16 championships, which is second only to the Boston Celtics. George Mikan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Shaq all played for the Lakers.


Do you know what team named after an unfriendly insect plays out of Charlotte?

In 2010, Michael Jordan bought the Bobcats from Robert Johnson, who was the first African American majority owner in the NBA. Jordan has the distinction of being the first former player to own a team, and he still owns the team today, which became the Hornets in 2014.


Orlando is home to Disney's Magic Kingdom and what NBA team?

The Orlando Magic is a fairly new NBA team. It was founded in 1989, 18 years after Walt Disney World opened, which inspired the team's name. The team never won a championship, but they are the only team to have beat Michael Jordan in his prime in the playoffs only to lose to the Rockets in the finals in 1995.


Brooklyn's team relocated from New Jersey in 2010 but kept the same name. What are they called?

With Jay-Z being connected to the Brooklyn Nets and with his sports agency representing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, there's a strong likelihood the Brooklyn team could land a couple of superstars just in time for the 2020 season.


Portland is full of hiking and cycling paths. What is the name of the NBA team that plays there?

The Pacific Northwest is no stranger to trails of all kinds, and Portland's NBA team's name represents that. The team famously passed up on Michael Jordan for Sam Bowie in the 1984 draft. They later passed up on Kevin Durant for Greg Oden in the 2007 NBA draft.


There is no NBA team named after lightning, but you will find what team playing out of Oklahoma City?

The Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, but their sole championship banner stayed in Seattle. The team renamed to the Thunder and have yet to win a championship of their own. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the team to a Finals appearance in 2012.


Do you know what NBA team hasn't won an NBA championship in 60 years and plays out of Atlanta?

The Hawks have a storied NBA history and actually started in the league out in Midwest cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis. The team moved to Atlanta in 1968. The name is short for Blackhawks, which was the team's original name.


The official animal of Wisconsin is the white-tailed deer, and the official NBA team of Milwaukee is the what?

Milwaukee's Greek Freak was named the NBA MVP for the 2019 season, and he became the first Milwaukee player to win the award since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the award multiple times in the 1970s. The Bucks haven't won a championship since Kareem's days.


What Dallas team is named after a legendary Texas trendsetter?

The word "maverick" stems from legendary Texan Samuel Maverick, who went against the trend of branding cattle and paved his own path in the ranching industry. The word now defines an individualist who paves their own path in life.


The NBA's newest team is located in New Orleans. What is it?

The Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2002 and became the New Orleans Hornets. The team ultimately became the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013 and haven't changed since.


What is the other team that plays in L.A.'s Staples Center?

Everybody knows that Los Angeles is home to the Lakers. All the Clippers have to do to change that is win about 15 NBA championships, but until then, they can try to just make it the Finals. They've played in Los Angeles since 1984.


It's fitting that Detroit's NBA team is named after a car part. Who plays in the Motor City?

Detroit is the motor capital of America, and its NBA team is named after the part of the car engine that makes cars move: pistons. The team has been located in the area since its founding when it began as the Fort Wayne Pistons.


Minnesota is home to the largest population of what howling canine in the contiguous United States?

A timberwolf sounds like a really cool animal, but it's just a wolf that lives among timber (aka a wolf that lives in the forest). It is different than an Arctic wolf or a tundra wolf, and Minnesota has more of them than any other of the lower 48 states.


Denver's team was founded as the Larks, changed to the Rockets and then changed to what name?

The Denver Nuggets franchise was formed in 1967 but didn't join the NBA until 1976. They have never won an NBA championship but have been steadily getting better and have won three division titles from 2009 to 2019.


Indianapolis is home to the Indy 500 and what NBA team named after a type of race car?

A pacer is a pace car that sets the pace and positions for racers during the rolling start of a big race like the Indy 500. Indianapolis is known for the race, which is one of the biggest sports events in the world.


What NBA team from Seattle won the championship in 1979?

The SuperSonics were one of the most beloved teams in the NBA, and the league has been in talks of returning a franchise to the city ever since they left for Oklahoma City. They won one championship, and the banner still hangs in Seattle.


Of all the teams that have won an NBA championship, the team with the longest drought plays in Sacramento. What are they called?

The Sacramento Kings organization has one championship under its belt: The team won in 1951 playing out of upstate New York as the Rochester Royals. They made deep runs in the Western Conference playoffs in 2002 and 2003 but haven't been able to get back to the finals.


The NBA's team in Memphis was founded in Vancouver and moved to the States in 2001. What are they called?

If the Grizzlies had been founded in Memphis instead of Vancouver, they'd probably have a more musical name like the Utah Jazz, but that's not the case. The Grizzlies left Vancouver in 2001, leaving Toronto as Canada's sole NBA franchise.


Manhattan's Madison Square Garden is the home court for what NBA team?

Madison Square Garden will go down as perhaps the most iconic sports arena in the world, and it's where the New York Knicks have played since its opening. It's also the oldest arena in the NBA, and the Knicks are one of the oldest teams in the league.


Who plays in the nation's capital?

The Wizards became the Wizards in 1998 and were known as the Bullets for about 25 years before the name change. Given D.C.'s high crime rate at the time, the name caught a lot of flack, and a change was needed. The city's NFL team, the Redskins, has also come under fire for its name.


Can you name the NBA team that was founded in New Jersey and played in the state until 2012?

The Nets always played second fiddle to their big brother New York Knicks, but the tides could be turning soon. After moving to Brooklyn, they began relationships with high-profile celebrities and are leading contenders to land major deals in the future.


Aside from the Hornets, Charlotte was also a one-time home to what NBA team?

The Charlotte Bobcats existed in the NBA for 10 years from 2004 to 2014. When the Charlotte Hornets relocated to New Orleans in 2002, the NBA decided to create a new team in Charlotte: the Bobcats. When the New Orleans team changed to the Pelicans, the Bobcats changed back to the Hornets.


The New Orleans Pelicans is the NBA's newest team, but what team was founded in this musical city?

If the last place you think of when you think of Jazz music is Utah, that's because the Jazz were founded in New Orleans and played there for five years. They kept the name when they moved to Salt Lake City.


The most populous city in Texas, Houston, is home to what NBA team?

The Houston Rockets passed on Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft, but at least they selected Hakeem Olajuwon, who lead the franchise to two NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. The team's seen some success since then but hasn't been able to win it all.


What team played out of Washington, D.C. from 1974 to 1998?

The Washington Wizards began in Chicago as the Packers and Zephyrs, but once they moved to the D.C. area, they became the Baltimore Bullets. They were known as the Washington Bullets until 1998 when they changed due to the violent connotations of the name.


What team was founded in Philadelphia but today plays on the other side of the country in California?

The Golden State Warriors were one of the original NBA teams when they were founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors and played in the city for more than 15 years. They then became the San Francisco Warriors before settling on the Golden State Warriors.


One of the most iconic franchises in all of sports began in Minneapolis. Do you know which one?

The reason the Lakers franchise is called the Lakers is because the team is from the land of 10,000 lakes. It's not because California has nice lakes, and it has nothing to do with Los Angeles. George Mikan and Elgin Baylor played for the Minneapolis dynasty.


The MLB's team in Kansas City is the Royals. What NBA team played in Kansas City before relocating in 1985?

Kansas City is a royal city, and the Kansas City Kings actually began as the Rochester and then Cincinnati Royals. The team moved to Sacramento in 1985 and has been there ever since. The team has never won a championship in Sacramento.


Do you know what team played in San Diego before relocating to another city in California?

California is home to more sports teams than they know what to do with. Before the Clippers moved to L.A. and crowded the basketball scene in that city, they played in San Diego, which also hosted the Rockets about 10 years earlier.


What Oakland team is moving to San Francisco for the 2019-20 season?

The Golden State Warriors would've loved to win the last game ever played in Oakland's Oracle Arena, but the Toronto Raptors didn't let that happen in the 2019 NBA Finals. The Warriors will move across the bridge to San Francisco for the 2019-20 season.


What Texas team once played in San Diego?

San Diego was home to two NBA teams at different times, and one of them was the Rockets. The Rockets played in San Diego for four years and moved to Houston in 1971. The team won two championships in 1994 and '95 when Michael Jordan decided to play baseball.


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