The Origins & History of Every NBA Team

See how jerseys have changed over the years

The Origins & History of Every NBA Team

With over seven decades of history, chances are there’s probably a lot you don’t know about the National Basketball Association and its 30 teams. Did you know that the Los Angeles Lakers once called Minnesota home? What about the fact that the Boston Celtics have had 24 players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame? How about that the Los Angeles Clippers are supposedly cursed?

We’re diving deep into the history of every single current NBA team. You’re going to learn about how the teams came to be who they are today, including how the franchise was created, relocations to new cities, unexpected name changes and evolutions of jerseys and logos.

You’ll find out where your favorite stars hit the court in their home cities, accolades each team brought home and teams that have a solid representation in the Hall of Fame.

So, what do you actually know about the NBA? Let’s find out!


Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are one of the most beloved franchises in the NBA. The Nets also have quite an interesting history filled with name changes, location changes, and more. Read on to learn about the Brooklyn Nets.

The Beginning Years

It all started in 1967 when the team the now the Brooklyn Nets played their very first season as the New Jersey Americans. Although they were representing New Jersey, the team played in Long Island, which led them to change their name to the New York Nets in 1969.

In their first six years as a team, they struggled to win many games; however, their luck turned around in 1973 when they recruited Julius “Dr. J” Erving. Erving led the team to a winning streak, where his Nets ultimately won the 1974 and 1976 American Basketball Association (ABA) finals.

In 1976, the ABA merged with the NBA and because the Nets were from a less established league, they had to raise $8 million just to win a position as an NBA franchise. In a crushing blow, in order to help raise the money they had to sell Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers. While the Nets had secured their spot in the NBA, they also had lost their best player and subsequently lost their first five seasons.

As the losses piled up, the Nets moved back to New Jersey in 1977 and played at the Rutgers University Stadium until they moved to their new home in the Meadowlands, New Jersey in 1981. The Nets also drafted a new rookie by the name of Buck Williams who led them to a successful 1982 season. Williams was named Rookie of the Year, and although the team didn’t make it back to the championship, they were finally winning again.

After a few strong seasons, the Nets succumbed to a five-season drought that finally came to an end after drafting Kenny Anderson, Dražen Petrović and Derrick Coleman. While the team showed great promise with their new additions, it was short lived with Petrovic’s tragic death in a car accident in 1993.


From 1967 to 1968, the New Jersey American’s logo felt all-American and featured an American Flag and a basketball.

From 1967 to 1968, the New Jersey American’s logo felt all-American and featured an American Flag and a basketball.
Upon the team’s name change in 1968 to the New York Nets, they updated their logo to simple red block letters with the word nets in cursive while a simple cartoon basketball player dribbled a ball on the side.
In 1972, the Nets received another logo update that removed the cartoon basketball player and instead featured a simple red, white, and blue basketball as the backdrop for the team’s name.
When the Nets relocated back to New Jersey in 1977, they kept the same red, white, and blue basketball while updating their name on the logo.
One year later, in 1978, the Nets logo got a full makeover to really honor their return to the Garden State. This new logo featured the Nets name front and center with a red and blue backdrop and the New Jersey state at the top.
In 1990, the Nets logo got another update going back to a bit more of a traditional look with the red white and blue basketball; however, this time they did not mention a home state in their logo.
1997 - 2012, the Nets donned a new logo that resembled a basketball net and the Nets dunking the ball. They stayed true to featuring red, white, and blue; however, red was the dominant color and with a new darker blue it felt a little less starkly patriotic than their previous logos.
Upon the team's arrival to their new permanent home in Brooklyn in 2011, they adopted a new logo for their upcoming season. In true Brooklyn fashion, the new logo was black and white with a simple white basketball with a black B in the center and a black backdrop with the team name featured at the top.

Barclays Center

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Сapacity: 19,000


The Brooklyn Nets called many different stadiums their home prior to moving into their permanent one at the Barclays Center. The team started out in 1967 at the Teaneck Armory in Teaneck, NJ before moving into the Long Island Arena in 1968. For reference, the Long Island Arena was able to seat 6,500 people which is double the size of the Teaneck Armory. In 1969 the Nets moved to Island Garden and spent three years playing there. In 1972 the team moved into their largest stadium yet, the Nassau Coliseum which could seat up to 15,200 fans.

Eventually the team went back from New York to New Jersey and they played at the Rutgers Athletic Center before making a more permanent home at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Nets stayed at the IZOD Center from 1981 to 2010.

The Nets spent 2010 to 2011 playing at the Prudential Center in New Jersey before the team was purchased by Jay Z and moved permanently to the Barclays Center, which seats 17.732, where they still play today.

Famous Fans

Many NBA franchises have famous fans, but the Brooklyn Nets have a star-studded list of fans including A-list celebrities and politicians. A few of the most well known Nets fans include Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z, Bill Clinton, Rihanna, David Beckham, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Fallon, and Michael Bloomberg.

Retired Numbers and Hall of Famers

The Brooklyn Nets seem to be very picky with the numbers they choose to retire. The last time a number was retired was back in 2013 shortly after the relocation to Brooklyn, but also more than 14 years since the last time that happened. Today, six former Nets players have had their numbers officially retired by the team, including:

Dražen Petrović
Jason Kidd
John Williamson
Bill Melchionni
Julius Erving
Buck Williams

It’s clear the Nets are stingy about jersey retirements, but luckily, the league recognizes the talent of former Nets players. So while the Brooklyn Nets may only have two NBA titles to their name, the NBA Hall of Fame features 10 former Nets. Tiny Archibald, Mo Cheeks, Mel Daniels, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Bernard King, Bob McAdoo, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and Dražen Petrović.

Then to Now

In the Brooklyn Nets’ recent history, one event in particular stands out: the move to Brooklyn. By 2012, the team was owned by a group of investors that included rapper Jay-Z. The investors decided to move the team to Brooklyn in order to capitalize on New York’s cultural draw. The Nets’ move to Brooklyn came with the grand opening of their stadium, the Barclays Center, which is home to many big events each year, including concerts and the NBA draft.