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What NBA teams do not exist anymore?

Founded in 1946 the NBA is the largest and most popular basketball league in the world, with millions of followers. Year after year its prominence is only rising and every player’s dream is to eventually play on one of the NBA teams. Currently, in two conferences there are 30 teams in total. Teams that we see now have gone through numerous changes. Prior to having 30 franchises in the NBA, there were also other ones that are now defunct. In total 17 NBA teams do not exist anymore and 15 entire franchises are now. We will have a thorough look at each of them. Most of them stopped existing in the late 40s.

What NBA teams do not exist anymore? In total 17 NBA teams do not exist anymore and 15 entire franchises are now defunct. Most of them stopped existing in the late 40s.

We take you through a guide of what happened to these teams and how long these were established for. If you want to see what these 17 teams are then keep reading.

The Anderson Packers

The Anderson Packers were a team that initially started playing in the National Basketball League in 1946 and moved to the NBA during the 1949-1950 season. The team existed for only 5 years and went defunct in 1951.

The Baltimore Bullets

From the teams that we feature in our list, the Baltimore Bullets are the only ones that managed to win the championship title in 1948. At first, they played in the ABL from 1944-1947, moved to the BAA, and finished existence in the NBA in 1954.

Baltimore Bullets Logo | Logos, Baltimore, Nba logo

BAA Buffalo

This one is a really interesting case in the history of the NBA, as BAA Buffalo never played a single game! It existed for only 2 years from 1946 to 1948. Based out of Bufalo, NY and entred into the NBA’s forerunner the BAA, they will remain forever with a stunning played 0 lost 0 record!

The Chicago Stags

During their history, the Chicago Stags only won 1 division title. This team existed from 1946 to 1950. Andy Phillip is actually the only player from the squad that is a member of the Hall of Fame.

Peach Basket Society: Andy Phillip

The Cleveland Rebels

The Cleveland Rebels were established in 1946 and existed for only one season. In 1947 the team was folded. They were an inaugural team of the BAA, which had a record of 30 wins and 30 losses. It was 1970 when Cleveland get another team that we have today.

The Denver Nuggets

We should not confuse this team with the modern Denver Nuggets. They have nothing in common. They have a relatively long history compared to other franchises. Founded in 1932, the team played in the ABL, NBL, NBA, and NPBL, after they were finally abolished in 1951.

The Detroit Falcons

Like the Chicago Stags, the Falcons also played one season in the BAA. Detroit was without a professional team for almost 10 years, when the Fort Wayne Pistons were formed, known today as the Detroit Pistons.

Detroit Falcons (Basketball) Team History | Sports Team History
Picture via

BAA Indianapolis

Similar to BAA Buffalos, Indianapolis were another planned basketball team that did not take part in a professional game. They stopped operating even before the 1946-1947 season started.

The Indianapolis Jets

Established as the Indianapolis Kautskys in 1931, the Jets only played one professional season in the BAA and stopped existence. During the 1949-1950 season, a new franchise called the Indianapolis Olympians was formed.

The Indianapolis Olympians

The Olympians were formed in 1949 and existed for 4 years until they were folded in 1953. They are probably known among NBA lovers, by the record which was set in 1951. The Indianapolis Olympians played the longest match against the Rochester Royals that took 6 overtimes in total!

Olympians hold longest NBA game in history
Picture from IndyStar

The Pittsburgh Ironmen

The Ironmen were also playing in the NBA during the 1946-1947 season. They finished a regular season with the worst result – winning only 15 matches and losing 45. The team played at Duquesne Gardens.

The Providence Steamrollers

The Steamrollers are currently the only team that were formed in Rhode Island. They existed from 1946 to 1949. During 3 seasons they managed to win 46 games and lost 122. In the 1947-1948 season, they only 6 wins, which by today’s standards is really surprising.

The Sheboygan Redskins

The Redskins (also known as Red Skins), were founded in 1933. Before becoming defunct the team only played one independent season during 1951-1952. There were attempts to save the team from folding, but all of them failed to materialize.

The St. Louis Bombers

The Bombers started playing in early 1946. They were members of one of 7 teams that immediately left the NBA. The Bombers only have one division title and they stopped playing in 1950.

The Toronto Huskies

The Toronto Huskies also played in the NBA and they share no similarities with the modern Toronto Raptors. In only one season, before going defunct in 1947, the Huskies played only one season and amassed a 22-38 win/loss record.

The Toronto Huskies were a franchise in the Basketball Association of  America in the 1946-47 season. | Raptors basketball, Toronto, Husky

The Washington Capitols

In hockey, we have the Washington Capitals, while the Wizards are playing in the NBA. None of them are related to this team, that played in the NBA from 1946 to 1951. The team held the longest winning streak of 17 games until 1969 and were coached by legendary Red Auerbach between 1946-1949.

The Waterloo Hawks

The Waterloo Hawks were a team based in Iowa. They were playing in the Western Division before the franchise was abolished in 1951. The Waterloo Hawks do not have any kind of relations with the Atlanta Hawks. The team played at the Hippodrome, which is also known as McElroy Auditorium.

The Bottom Line

Most of these teams were abolished pretty quickly and they did not achieve notable results, except the Baltimore Bullets. As time passed more and more teams appeared in the arena. Right now we have 30 teams and there are no plans of adding more, even though there has been discussion to increase the number of teams to reduce the total number of matches each team plays. However, it is far from being realized – at least for now.

Basketball's Future Past | Pro Hoops History