There are 50 states (plus Washington D.C.) in the USA. Each state is famous for its unique characteristics and specifics. Of course, when it comes to the NBA – the world’s most popular basketball league – not every state has a team, competing in the association. What states have an NBA team?
What states have an NBA Team? Out of 50 states, only 21 states plus the capital – Washington D.C. – have an NBA team. California, New York, Florida and Texas have more than one team. Toronto Raptors is from Canada but compete in the NBA. The rest 29 states do not have a team.
There are 30 teams in total in the NBA. When the league first started, there were fewer than 30 and slowly more teams added, while the others became defunct. We will have a closer look at these details below in the article.
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States that have an NBA team
Here is the list of the states having at least one NBA team: California (Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings), Florida (Miami Heat, Orlando Magic), New York (New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets), Texas (Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets), Arizona (Phoenix Suns), Colorado (Denver Nuggets), Indiana (Indiana Pacers), Georgia (Atlanta Hawks), Illinois (Chicago Bulls), Louisiana (New Orleans Pelicans), Massachusetts (Boston Celtics), Michigan (Detroit Pistons), Minnesota (Minnesota Timberwolves), North Carolina (Charlotte Hornets), Ohio (Cleveland Cavaliers), Oklahoma (Oklahoma City Thunder), Oregon (Portland Trail Blazers), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia 76ers), Tennessee (Memphis Grizzlies), Utah (Utah Jazz), Wisconsin (Milwaukee Bucks) and Washington D.C. (Washington Wizards).
We have already mentioned above that the Toronto Raptors play in Canada, but they are a part of the NBA.
Which were the first states to have an NBA team?
When the idea of the NBA first started to circulate and later in 1946 we had the establishment of the league already the Boston Celtics and the New York Knickerbockers were the first teams in the association and they still play now. They came from Massachusetts and New York respectively. With time, more and more teams started to appear.
What is the smallest state with an NBA team?
The smallest state to have an NBA team in terms of population is Utah. The Jazz has a long history of playing in the NBA and it was Karl Malone and John Stockton that laid the foundation for brilliant years, which unfortunately ended without a championship. Perhaps, had it not been Michael Jordan who literally “stole” peak years of many players, the Utah Jazz would have won several championships. However, the team develops year by year and during the 2020/21 season, they secured a playoff spot from first place in the Western Conference.
What is the largest state without an NBA team?
The largest state without an NBA team in terms of population is New Jersey. Some of you may be wondering whether the Brooklyn Nets are not from this state, but actually, the latter is based in New York – Brooklyn. The team changed its name back in 2012 and moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn. As of now, New Jersey does not have an NBA team.
California the state with the most NBA teams
We have noted that California has more than one team (4) and compared to other states this is the maximum. If we take a look at these teams the Los Angeles Lakers stand out by their history and achievements. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Lakers have 17 championships and they won the last one in 2021 when the season was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Los Angeles Clippers shares the same court with the Lakers and both of them are considered arch-rivals.
As for the Golden State Warriors, the team was known by 2 different names in the past until 1971. The Warriors are currently the 3rd most valuable franchise and perhaps the past 6 years have been the most famous in the history of the team. With Steph Curry and Klay Thomspon being pivotal to the success as well as Steve Kerr who has become one of the most prominent faces in recent years.
Why do the Toronto Raptors play in the NBA?
In addition to the 21 states, we have an example of the Toronto Raptors who are outside of the United States. This is a very interesting case both from the geographical and sports perspective. The Toronto Raptors alongside the Vancouver Grizzlies (the Grizzlies then moved to Memphis in 2001) were two teams that competed in the NBA. The latter decided to keep the Raptors in the association for several reasons. First of all, there are quite a lot of fans from Canada who watch basketball and they do not have such a popular league like the NBA on their own. Thus it is more lucrative from a financial standpoint to have the Raptors. Secondly, the franchise has seen rapid development in the recent period and they are considered one of the contenders to win the title. In 2019 they defeated the Golden State Warriors and clinched the championship title, which is unbelievable for the team that is from Canada.
Will NBA expand?
The coronavirus pandemic brought a deadly blow to different industries and sports have been no exception. There are rumours that in upcoming years we will see the NBA expanded by 2 teams. One of them is likely to land in Seattle and there will be one more state to have an NBA team. The second choice is probably Kansas City.