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Who is the Oldest NBA Team?

The NBA has existed since 1946 and we have seen a lot of teams appear and disappear from the association. It is widely considered to be the best basketball league in the world.

Which is the oldest NBA team since its appearance? The Sacramento Kings are the oldest team formed in 1923. Even though the NBA did not exist back then, the Kings still had a team which were known as the Rochester Seagrams. The Kings joined the NBA however 2 years later in 1948.

As the NBA progressed, more and more teams were formed. In this article, we will have a look at some of the oldest teams and their development throughout the years.

The Rochester Seagrams and Foundation of the Kings

Before we had the actual Sacramento Kings, in 1923 there was a semi-professional club known as the Rochester Seagrams. When the franchise joined the NBA in 1948, they were known as the Rochester Royals. The name “Sacramento Kings” was only applied in 1985 and has not changed since then. We should point out that while the Kings have such a rich history and are the oldest team to have ever played in the NBA, they managed to win the championship title only once – in 1951 and have not had any considerable achievements in recent years as well.

Other Oldest Teams

While the Kings are indeed the oldest team in the NBA, we should also focus on the other ones with a rich history and culture. Let’s have a look at some of them below.

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons were founded back in 1937, known as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons initially. Like the Kings they also were a semi-professional team that went through numerous changes. Eventually they joined the NBA in 1948 under the name of the Fort Wayne Pistons 9 years later we have the Detroit Pistons that is currently known to the whole world. The Pistons won 3 championships and they are often called “Bad Boys” too.

Boston Celtics

One of the greatest teams to have ever played in the NBA alongside the Los Angeles Lakers – the Celtics were founded in 1946. They are the members of the original 8 teams when the BAA was formed in 1946. The Celtics have been known with the same name since they started to play in the NBA and managed to win 17 championships – having the record of most titles alongside the Lakers.

New York Knicks

The Knicks were founded in 1946 and are one of the initial members of the BAA – the predecessor of the NBA. The Knicks have never changed their initial city which is New York and during their existence managed to win 2 championships – in 1970 and 1973 respectively. The Knicks have been playing at Madison Square Garden since their inception. 

Golden State Warriors 

The Golden State Warriors franchise was formed in 1946. Initially the team were known as the Philadelphia Warriors but changed their name to the San Francisco Warriors in 1962. The Golden State Warriors got their name in 1971. Throughout history they have had notable players including Wilt Chamberlain. They won 6 championships – most recently in 2015, 2017 and 2018 where they had a formidable team, consisting of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. Another interesting fact is that the Warriors won the inaugural BAA championship in 1947.

Philadelphia 76ers

Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley is only a partial list of elite athletes that have played for the 76ers. Known as the Syracuse Nationals, the 76ers were formed in 1946, however they joined the NBA only 3 years later. Philadelphia got the respective name in 1963. With such a long history they only have 3 championships titles – in 1955, 1967 and 1983. 

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks started their history in 1946 when they were known as the Buffalo Bisons. They only joined the NBA in 1949. Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Milwaukee Hawks, St. Louis Hawks are the club’s previous names and in 1968 they got the current name which is the Atlanta Hawks. We should also point out that the team only won 1 championship in 1958. They are one of 4 teams in the NBA in the 21st century that have qualified for the playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons.

Los Angeles Lakers

We could not miss the Los Angeles Lakers, because they are one of the most successful teams in basketball history. In 1947, the Lakers were founded in Minneapolis. They had their first season in the NBA in 1948. As they had financial problems in the 50s, the Lakers relocated to Los Angeles. They won 17 championships and have Hall of Famers including Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Most recently in 2020 they won their 17th title. 

Washington Wizards

In 1961 the NBA got another team – the Chicago Packers. The Wizards have changed their name 5 times, before eventually establishing themselves as the Washington Wizards in 1997. They also had a different logo that went through a lot of changes. The Wizards have been in the Finals of the NBA 4 times winning only one in 1978. 

Plans For New Teams?

While there are 30 teams in the NBA, there have been frequent discussions about adding more teams to both conferences. In such a way the exposure of the NBA will grow and more teams will have a chance to compete in the NBA. However, no final decisions have been made yet regarding the issue.