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!


Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are a rarity in the NBA: A team that has kept the same name and location since day one as a team. In the 50 years since the Trail Blazers were established, they’ve clinched a total of six division titles, three conference titles, and one NBA Championship.
It’s time to learn everything there is to know about how the Portland Trail Blazers got to where they are today.

The Beginning Years

When the Memorial Coliseum was built in Portland, Oregon, Harry Glickman was immediately interested. He wanted to bring an NBA franchise to Portland as far back as 1960, but he experienced pushback since many saw Portland as way too far from other current NBA teams. With a $3.7 million price tag, Glickman’s request was finally approved by the NBA in 1970. Rolland Todd was hired as the head coach and player Geoff Petrie joined without hesitation.

In the team’s inaugural season beginning in 1970, they locked down a 29-53 record. It wasn’t until 1974 that the team was finally able to beat its record from its first season back in Portland under the guidance of Lenny Wilkens. The Trail Blazers drafted UCLA standout Bill Walton and the team eventually found itself with a winning record for the first time in franchise history in 1977. The Trail Blazers made it to their first playoffs with the help of new coach Jack Ramsey.

The 1977 season brought a ton of luck for the newly-formed Trail Blazers in the form of an NBA Championship. The team was able to surpass the Los Angeles Lakers, home to future Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabarr, and prove victorious over the 76ers in the NBA Finals. The early 1980s brought players like Clyde Drexler to the roster and Mike Schuler into the head coach role. This team thrived offensively, but they failed miserably in terms of defense.

The team was eventually sold to one of the co-owners of Microsoft, Paul Allen, in 1988 in a whopping $70 million deal. However, the team still struggled on the court until the 1990 season that resulted in a 59-23 record. The Trail Blazers experienced a stroke of luck in the early 1990s after making it to the NBA Finals twice, losing to the Pistons and the Bulls. The Blazers then entered a rebuilding phase that led to a new roster, new coaches, and a lack of fan support.

Despite being down on their luck, the Portland Trail Blazers were able to make it to the playoffs every single season between 1983 and 2003. Not counting a gap in 1982, the Trail Blazers made it to the playoffs 21 out of 22 seasons.


The Portland Trail Blazers have been pretty consistent with their logos over the years, only making minor changes from one season to the next.

The first Trail Blazers logo lasted from 1970 to 1991. The logo boasted the introduction of today’s logo design with 5 red and black lines designed in a pinwheel shape. The name “Portland” was at the top with “Trail Blazers” at the bottom.
Between 1991 and 2002, the Trail Blazers logo shifted to a much smaller design and larger lettering for “Blazers.” A new font was used and was all black and red.
During the 2003 season, the Trail Blazers simplified the pinwheel design and filled in the space between the stripes on the pinwheel. The name “Blazers” could be seen at the bottom of the logo in large lettering.
The 2004 logo lasted for a single year and simply put the previous logo into a slanted black rectangle with a grey border. The team’s hometown, “Portland,” was added to the top in white lettering.
From 2005 to 2017, the Trail Blazers used the same logo, only adding “Trail” above “Blazers” at the bottom of the logo.
From 2017 and onward, this is the logo that was used. The previous pinwheel design was touched up to be more geometric in style. “Portland” can be seen in large bettering beneath the pinwheel design and “Trail Blazers” is written beneath in black lettering.

Moda Center

Location: Portland, Oregon

Сapacity: 19,980


In their 50 years as a team, the Portland Trail Blazers have only played in 2 arenas, splitting 25 years of play among each. The Trail Blazers called the Memorial Coliseum home beginning in 1970. The Trail Blazers eventually moved over to the Rose Garden, now known as the Moda Center, in 1995.

Famous Fans

The Trail Blazers don’t get much love from the celebrity world, but Elizabeth Banks from the Hunger Games series is considered one of the team’s few celeb fans.

Retired Numbers and Hall of Famers

The Trail Blazers are a team known for their loyal fan base, which explains why their home arena was filled to capacity during more than 800 straight games from the 1970s to the 1990s. Not only did the fans pack the stadiums, but the Trail Blazers were known for winning. Today, 10 players from that time period have had their numbers retired, including:

David Twarzdik
Lionel Hollins
Larry Steele
Maurice Lucas
Clyde Drexler
Bob Gross
Terry Portner
Bill Walton
Lloyd Neal
Geoff Petrie

On top of these 10 Portland Trail Blazers players, the team has also retired the #1 in honor of 18-year team owner Larry Weinberg, though this honor doesn’t stop future players from claiming No. 1. The No. 77 was retired in honor of the man who led the Trail Blazers for a decade, Jack Ramsey, with the No. 77 signifying the year the team won the NBA Finals.

One step further than retired jerseys is the Basketball Hall of Fame, which currently houses 6 former players of the Portland team. These players include the likes of Lenny Wilkens, Arvydas Sabonis, Scottie Pippen, and Drazen Petrovic. The Portland Trail Blazers are also represented by Clyde Drexler, who dedicated 12 years with the Trail Blazers and averaged nearly 21 points per game while earning an All-Star recognition eight times. Bill Walton is also on the list.

Then to Now

In the early 2000s, the Portland Trail Blazers were on a steady decline. This idea was further proven with a dismal 21-61 record in the 2006 season. This was also around the time that the Portland Trail Blazers were riddled with the suspensions and punishments of players both on and off the court.

When it comes to team success, the Portland Trail Blazers have yet to win an NBA title since their first and only during the 1977 NBA season. In fact, the team has yet to even see an appearance at the finals since 1992. The good news is that the Trail Blazers have been on an upward tick since 2014. They’ve secured playoff appearances in every season since the 2014 postseason paired with winning seasons.