While many National Basketball Association teams share markets with NFL, MLB, and NHL teams, the NBA has also been masterful at creating niche markets where they are the only team in town. Thanks to this strategy there are teams in outposts like Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Portland, Orlando, Oklahoma City, and Brooklyn.
What if all NBA markets became NFL markets, and all NFL markets became NBA markets? From the geek files of things that literally don’t matter at all, here’s what that might look like.
Bear in mind that there are 32 NFL teams and 30 NBA teams, so it isn’t perfect. However, there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun with this:
The New NFL!
Boston Patriots– Time for the Pats to get out of the burbs and run scams in the tangled maze of Boston proper.
Golden State Raiders– A good name for a team whose fan base is distributed throughout the state. If they go to Nevada that could ruin everything.
Sacramento 49ers– Not much further from San Francisco than Santa Clara anyway.
Portland Seahawks– The Seahawks remain the regional team for Granola Nation while inching closer to Nike headquarters. Neon just got brighter.
Los Angeles Chargers– Yes, this might happen anyway. The NBA ditched San Diego’s ancient Sports Arena back in ’84, and Dean Spanos looks at the artist formerly known as Jack Murphy with similar disdain.
Brooklyn Jets– A G Train-ride away from their old Queens-based fan base. An upgrade from Jersey.
Charlotte Panthers– semantics.
Indiana Colts– Polis means city-state in Greek, Indiana-Polis remains the Colts’ home, no longer in the name though.
Memphis Titans– They actually played in Memphis for one year before moving to Nashville.
Milwaukee Packers-That’s where most Packers fans are from anyway. There would be fewer Packer fans on southbound I-43 on icy Sunday nights this way.
Oklahoma City Chiefs– From Kansas City to Oklahoma City, and tone down the bright red to match the Crimson and Cream of the Sooners. Maybe with the void left by the Chiefs, KC can finally attract an NBA team to play in its empty arena.
Orlando Jaguars– All the die-hard Jags fans can still pack the stands at the new Disney-adjacent stadium. Jags games will become a destination for family guys looking for permission to see their team on the road.
Phoenix Cardinals-The old name is back; Sun Devil Stadium is not.
San Antonio Steelers– Your “is nothing sacred?” argument is trumped by attempted alliteration.
Toronto Bills – The Bills land in the Rogers Centre and trade in several snow bowls a year for the more comfortable roof life.
Utah Bengals– Tiger stripes and snowy mountains kind of seems like a cool mix. Alternative uniforms could be white helmets with the same stripes for December games.
Washington DC Ravens– Since we had to eliminate two NFL teams to fit the 30 NBA markets, it seemed like a good opportunity to finally stomp out the Redskins’ ridiculous name. The more progressive NBA would never ride with that nonsense anyway.
*Due to lack of NBA markets the Tampa Bay Buccaneers join the SEC and finish in 4th.
Unaffected Teams from NBA/NFL markets
Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants
New Orleans Saints
The New NBA!
Seattle Thunder, not Blazers– geographically it should be the Blazers, but Seattle was deprived of watching Kevin Durant’s career. No more.
Baltimore Blazers– With the Thunder already going home to Seattle, we go with alliteration here.
Buffalo Raptors– Nothing better than an indoor sport during another horrific winter in Upstate NY.
Cincinnati Tarheels (promoted to NBA)- The NBA would need to add 2 teams to fill the NFL’s 32 markets. The Bearcats are furious.
Green Bay Bucks– The Bucks would have a built-in rivalry should Oshkosh or Sault St Marie secure NBA teams.
Kansas City Jazz– The name makes sense again.
New England Celtics– The Celtics are a regional team anyway. Have fun in Foxboro Bill Simmons.
New York Nets– semantics.
Oakland Warriors– not semantics, throw those “The City” jerseys in the trash.
San Diego Clippers– back to “Sun Diego” and they still can’t get out of the Lakers’ shadow.
San Francisco Kings– The Kings of the Cow Palace.
Tampa Bay Magic– They will battle the Pelicans for Gulf Supremacy.
Tennessee Grizzlies– The Titans and the Grizz trade places.
Arizona Suns– suddenly fans in Tucson and Flagstaff feel included.
Carolina Hornets -semantics.
Pittsburgh Spurs– Pittsburgh and San Antonio trade iconic franchises.
Jacksonville Blue Devils (promoted to NBA) – That rivalry with the newly coined Cincy Tar Heels stays real.
Washington Bullets– Wizards is a ridiculous name, bring back the Bullets.
Unaffected Teams from NBA/NFL markets
Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knickerbockers