What’s In A (Team) Name And Why Is It Important?

What’s In A (Team) Name And Why Is It Important?

There’s a line in the movie BASEketball about sports teams relocating; “The Lakers moved to LA, where there are no lakes. The Oilers moved to Tennessee where there is no oil. The Jazz moved to Utah where they don’t allow music.”

Granted, the Houston Oilers changed their name to the Tennessee Titans so that joke is moot, but I digress. Sports teams relocating has become commonplace and some unusual sports names have resulted. The question I want to know is why not change the name when a team moves? Why not develop a new identity with your new city? The answer, in one word, is history.

I have always been of the mindset that you can’t buy history. You can’t buy the past. You can’t buy moments in time. A southern billionaire can’t go buy the Civil War and say “guess what, we won it now!” Yet, in sports, a billionaire from Oklahoma City can buy an NBA team in Seattle, move them to the dust bowl and then claim a championship won in 1979, by the Seattle SuperSonics, as property of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

I believe that all relocated teams should be treated as expansion teams. All the history of the former team can sit in limbo, waiting for another team to return to that city. If it never does, that team’s history goes in the books, never to be touched again. The new city gets a new name, new history, the only constant from its former self is the players and coaches.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things work. Sometimes team names are generic and can be reused without qualms. The Rochester Royals moved to Kansas City and were renamed the Kings who then moved to Sacramento, and look to potentially be on their way out of there as well. But Kings can be anywhere. It’s not specific to a location. Sometimes, albeit very rarely, a team moves to a city where their team name actually fits better. The San Diego Rockets moved to Houston, home of NASA. The Fort Wayne Pistons moved to Detroit, the Motor City.

Other times, a team from Minneapolis is named for the Great Lakes but is then relocated to Los Angeles and stays the Lakers. By now they have been in LA so long no one knows the difference, except for us traditionalists, and every once in a while some young fan will ask “what’s a Laker, anyway?” Or a team from New Orleans, a city known for its strong jazz tradition, moves to Utah and doesn’t change their name. Oh, those Utah Jazz. A sign up can be made to the 토토사이 to get the verification of the sports. it is a gaming verification website that will provide true image of the game for playing.

The New Orleans Jazz originally used purple, yellow and green as their colors to match with the colors of the Mardi Gras floats and decorations. In Utah, these colors meant nothing and were changed, although this year they were changed back but with navy blue replacing purple. New Orleans has a new team now, the Hornets, relocated from Charlotte. The Hornets have a special uniform that uses the old Jazz color scheme, but it’s only used during Mardi Gras.

The NBA has a perfect opportunity here, one that they should immediately (but never will) take advantage of. You see, Utah is nicknamed the “beehive state.” There is a minor league baseball team named the Salt Lake Bees. Do you see where I’m going here? The NBA could, and should, switch team names between Utah and New Orleans. The New Orleans Jazz would return, and the Utah Hornets would be born.

Why would the league do this? To get under that rock of having the most oxymoronic team name in all of pro sports for one, and for the same reason the owners would do this; marketability. Both teams would be able to connect with their fan base better, plus both would be able to sell all new merchandise. Utah Hornets jerseys, New Orleans Jazz hats and tees. Everything currently made, remade. Everyone would have to re-buy all their team gear.

Why won’t the league do this? It goes back to that old issue of history. If the Jazz had left their name and history in New Orleans, we wouldn’t be in this predicament (here’s my “I told you so” moment). Since they didn’t, however, now we’re stuck wondering where the history goes if this were to happen. Would the Hornets history go to Utah? Certainly one would think the original New Orleans Jazz history would go back to Big Easy, but what of all the history they created in Utah? Karl Malone and John Stockton never played in New Orleans. So then does the Utah Jazz era stay with the new Utah Hornets? Then does Bobby Phills’s retired number 13 go to Utah or stay in New Orleans? He never played for either city!

These are the questions that the NBA would have to sort out and, frankly, they just don’t want to put that kind of effort into it. So while it may seem like such a perfect, once-in-a-lifetime, solution, there are just too many questions about history and tradition. All of which leads me back to my original point that history should not be bought, it should not be sold and it should not be relocated. Those moments belong to that city, to those fans. You can take my team, but you can’t have my memories. And as long as owners are allowed to purchase a team’s history, those are all we, as fans, have left.


Seth is a professional blogger and is a Poker enthusiast. He wants to share his wisdom with other poker players to help them improve their game. He also loves to write about art and technology as well.

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