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!


San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs are a team with quite the history in the state of Texas, being the only professional sports team to represent the San Antonio area for at least five years uninterrupted. It’s also one of the only teams from the American Basketball Association that still exists in the NBA. You’re about to learn everything you need to know about the history of the San Antonio Spurs, from the beginning years to where the team is today.

The Beginning Years

The team, now known as the San Antonio Spurs, has run the gamut when it comes to team names, logos, and jerseys. The San Antonio Spurs were once known as the Dallas Chaparrals (aka, the Chaps) and were one of the original teams in the American Basketball Association back in 1967. The Chaps were once coached by a former St. Louis Hawks’ player Cliff Hagan.

When team owners saw that fan attendance was down and the team couldn’t even clinch a spot in the playoffs during the 1972 to 1973 season, the team was eventually put up for lease. It was then that a group of 36 local San Antonio businessmen joined forces and leased the team with the option to buy in three years. The team known as the Chaps would then be known as the San Antonio Gunslingers before eventually becoming the Spurs prior to the first official game.

Owned by Angelo Drossos and Red McCombs, the San Antonio Spurs brought out huge crowds that toppled the records of the former Chaps. The businessmen would go on to buy the team outright and hire coach Bob Bass. Bass was known for implementing a fast-break style of gameplay and would lead the team to a winning record in the 1974 to 1975 ABA season.

The coaching staff would eventually be replaced when the NBA and ABA officially merged in 1976. During the Spurs’ first year in the NBA, the team boasted a winning record and was considered one of the best teams in the league. The Spurs’ entry into the NBA would eventually initiate a rivalry with another Texas team, the Houston Rockets.

The San Antonio Spurs eventually brought on players like George Gervin in the late 70s, who was then considered one of the best scorers in the entire league. With 33+ points a game on average, Gervin would help lead the team to 5 titles in the team’s first seven years in the NBA.


Given the massive number of team names throughout the years, it comes as no surprise that the San Antonio Spurs has had a good amount of logos.

The introduction of the San Antonio Spurs led to the creation of the brand new logo in 1976. This logo is a simple block lettering of the word “Spurs” with a cowboy boot spur designed into the letter “U.”
In 1989, a retro-style logo took the place of the simple Spurs logo. This one had a similar design with the addition of a blue-green, pink, and orange background, which appears to be painted.
The team logo returned to one similar to the 1976 variation in 2003, with an entirely black, grey, and white design.
The current version created in 2017 is very similar to the last but instead uses a white background.

AT&T Center

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Сapacity: 18,581


The San Antonio Spurs have played in seven different arenas and stadiums since its early days as the Chaps, often splitting time between several arenas at once. The team played at the State Fair Coliseum and the Moody Coliseum between 1967 and 1973. The Chaps also played at the Tarrant County Coliseum and the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum between 1970 and 1971. Since moving to San Antonio with a brand new name in tow, the Spurs played at the HemisFair Arena between 1973 and 1993, the Alamodome between 1993 and 2002, and now the AT&T Center.

Famous Fans

If you ever make it down to a Spurs game in Texas, don’t be surprised if you cross paths with a world-renowned celebrity. Stars like WWE superstar Shawn Michaels, Eva Longoria, and Phil Collins label themselves as Spurs fans and often sit courtside at games.

Retired Numbers and Hall of Famers

After the big move to San Antonio in the 1970s, it took the Spurs a few years to really pick up the intensity on the court. The 1980s through the early 2000s brought players that would change the future of the franchise forever. Since making an impact on the team, 10 player numbers have been retired, including:

Johnny Moore
Avery Johnson
Tony Parker
Bruce Bowen
James Silas
Manu Ginobili
Tim Duncan
Sean Elliott
George Gervin
David Robinson

Despite #12 being retired in honor of Bruce Bowen, the decision was ultimately reversed in 2015 with Bowen’s approval so that LaMarcus Aldridge could sport the number.

In addition to a decent number of retired jerseys, the Spurs also have 9 players in the Basketball Hall of Fame as well as two coaches in franchise history. The Hall of Famers includes 19-year Spurs veteran Tim Duncan, who netted an average of 19 points per game and saw playing time in over 1,400 games with the Spurs. It also includes one of the best defensive players of all time, Dennis Rodman.

Then to Now

Despite a questionable first few years as a team, the San Antonio Spurs eventually became a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. Under the guidance of Coach Gregg Popovich since 1996, the team has taken home five championships, six conference titles, and 22 division titles. Popovich has led the Spurs for the last 24 and has even gone on to coach the Men’s Basketball Team in the Olympic Games.

In the 53 years since the Chaps were first formed, the Spurs have been able to draft some of the best players in NBA history. That includes David Robinson, Tim Duncan (an NBA Finals MVP and a current coach for the San Antonio Spurs) as well as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

The Spurs have struggled since losing their iconic big three.