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How Many Teams Are Named After States?

The NBA is widely considered to be the most popular association in the world. 30 teams from various states compete against each other to claim the ultimate title and declare themselves as world champions. 

How many teams are named after states? At the present moment, there are four teams in the NBA: The Indiana Pacers, the Utah Jazz, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Golden State Warriors. In addition, some states also have several teams participating in the league. 

The NBA has gone through numerous modifications since its inception and some teams that had names of states changed them. In the following article, we will have a look at the history of the 4 teams mentioned above and their success. 

Indiana Pacers

Based in Indianapolis, the Indiana Pacers were established in 1967. From 1967 to 1976 they were competing in the ABA, since the latter merged with the NBA. The Pacers won 3 championship titles in 1970, 1972 and 1973 and became the Eastern Conference champions in 2000. 

The Pacers are a relatively fresh team known for their unique style and gameplay. As they are from Indiana, they have a lot of supporters in that state. We should also point out that they have 6 Hall of Famers, one of which is Reggie Miller – the person who is considered perhaps the greatest player in the franchise. Miller however did not manage to lead his team to the title. 

The Indiana Pacers were also coached by Larry Bird – another legend of the Boston Celtics. In the past years, the Pacers had a lot of strong players including Paul George, who left the team in 2017. The rebuilding process is still in progress. There are some talents that could boost the chances of the team to get to the Conference Finals at least.

Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz are based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Like the Indiana Pacers, they are also a young team, founded in 1974. From 1974 to 1979 they were known as the New Orleans Jazz and since 1979 they are known by their current name. The Jazz never managed to win a championship title, although they were in the Finals. They have 2 consecutive Conference titles in 1997 and 1998 respectively.

The Jazz are most notably known for the Stockton-Malone era. These 2 players, widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, spent the majority of their career playing with the Jazz. However, they were defeated against Jordan’s Bulls. In 1998, in a memorable last-minute moment, Jordan stole the ball from Malone and finished the series with a nice shot.

In recent years, the Jazz proved to be an interesting team, as they managed to regroup after the arrival of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Still they have not managed to pull off the Finals, but that is something we should anticipate in the near future. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves are based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were founded in 1989, so this team is even younger than the ones we have mentioned above. Throughout their existence, they have won neither a single championship title nor achieved a Conference championship. However, they have 1 division title won back in 2004. The Timberwolves are also a team that never changed their name. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves came to prominence when a legendary power forward, Kevin Garnett, started playing for the team in 1995. Garnett was phenomenal playing for the Timberwolves, but he was unable to carry the team alone. 

After Garnett moved to the Boston Celtics in 2007, Kevin Love appeared – another power forward with strong offensive skills. The Timberwolves had notable Big Men including Nikola Pekovic. After Kevin Love moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Timberwolves struggled, though they have a lot of youngsters and interesting players who can fight for the spot in the playoffs. Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are a strong basis for a team that can fight for big aims. 

Golden State Warriors 

The Warriors are based in San Francisco, California. The team were founded in 1946 and before renaming themselves the Golden State Warriors, they were known as the Philadelphia Warriors (1946-1962) and San Francisco Warriors (1962-1971).

Initially, the most prominent player that has played for the Warriors was Wilt Chamberlain. He is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time. Throughout their existence, the Warriors won 6 championships and Conference titles, most of which came after 2015. 

A real breakthrough for the Golden State Warriors was the appearance of Stephen Curry – perhaps the greatest shooter of all time. After Monta Ellis was traded to the other team, Curry took the initiative in his hands and alongside Klay Thompson created a formidable backcourt. Known as the Splash Brothers, they won 3 titles together. 

Steve Kerr also played a major role in the team’s success. The Warriors broke a record held by the Chicago Bulls, winning 73 games and losing only 9. The arrival of Kevin Durant in 2016, even boosted the chances of the Warriors winning a title, and in 2017 and 2018 they defeated the Cavaliers led by LeBron James to win the title. 

Shall We Anticipate More Teams with State Names? 

At the present moment, there are no thoughts about expanding the number of teams in the NBA. People think it would be better to add more franchises, but even if they appear, there is no guarantee that they will have names of different states.