Can You Identify the NBA Team If We Give You Three Hints?

SPORTS

Raj Chander

7 Min Quiz

Image: WikiCommons by Pete Souza

About This Quiz

One of the greatest things about organized basketball is that characteristics are assigned by more than just in-game skills. Sure, champions are determined by who wins the game, and being able to shoot and handle the ball consistently are key ingredients for victory. But unlike football, fans can see players and their expressions on the court. Every sneer, laugh and flash of anger is visible to an entire arena full of people and millions more watching at home.

These easily visible characteristics are why we can often assign characteristics to teams beyond their play on the court. The Detroit Pistons squad of the late 1980s were characterized by the "Bad Boys," headlined by the mercilessly physical Bill Laimbeer. His quick elbows and slaps were designed to go unnoticed by the refs but were always noticed by his opponents, often leading to physical altercations.

You can also think about the "Run TMC" era of the Golden State Warriors. This team was headlined by speedsters Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond from 1989 until 1991. The Warriors played so fast that they once scored 162 points in what would go down as the highest-scoring game in NBA history.

We often categorize teams by a notable player, a style of play or even their collective fashion sense. In this quiz, we'll offer three facts, statistics or details of some type about a team. Your job is to tell us which team we are talking about. Think you know ball on a big-league level? Let's find out!

The only NBA team to be based outside of the United States, this squad won its first title in 2019. They also famously partnered with rapper Drake. Which club are we referring to?

While the team has had several big-name stars, few have done more for the squad or its city than Vince Carter. In 2018, a documentary entitled "The Carter Effect" was produced about his legacy and impact in Toronto.

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In 1993, this team's brash star won MVP. In the mid-2000s, their legendary point guard won it twice. Despite the individual success of its players, the team has never won a title. Which franchise are we talking about?

Coach Mike D'Antoni revolutionized the modern game of basketball with the Phoenix Suns, creating the fast-paced "7 seconds or less" offense. His playcalling was a large reason point guard Steve Nash was able to snag back-to-back MVP awards.

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Since their founding in 1968, this team has played in one city. Their most famous player was known for his "skyhook." Their current star is nicknamed "The Greek Freak." Which club are we referring to?

Unlike some other squads that have moved around, this team is truly connected to its home city, which is also where the team was founded. The Bucks were named the white-tailed deer, the official wild animal of the state of Wisconsin.

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Purchased by tech billionaire Mark Cuban in 2000, this team won its only title in 2011. Fans are dedicated: from 2001 through 2018, they sold out 726 consecutive games, the second-most in league history. Which franchise is it?

Mark Cuban is praised for his business acumen and care for the fan experience, but he's also outspoken. Since buying the team, Cuban has been fined an estimated $2.6 million by the NBA for criticizing its officiating.

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This team started in Buffalo but also played in San Diego, where its name originated. They've never won a title but hit it big this offseason, landing stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Which club are we speaking of?

In 2014, the Clippers were mired in controversy when owner Donald Sterling was recorded making racist comments to his mistress. He was forced to sell the team that same summer to Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft.

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Arguably this team's most famous player was the sharpshooter nicknamed "The Knick Killer." Although they won three ABA titles, this squad has only made it to one NBA Finals. Which team are we discussing?

Although the Pacers have enjoyed regular-season success with 32 playoff appearances in 49 seasons (including the ABA years), they are the only team in their division (Central) that has not won at least one championship.

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After winning two rings in the mid-'90s thanks to their "dream" center, this squad pioneered the modern three-point-heavy style. They've also made the playoffs the last seven years. Which team are we discussing?

Besides the three facts above, the Rockets are also known for popularizing advanced metrics across the league. Most notably, they released a memo in 2019 that explained how officiating cost them millions of dollars in revenue and changed the eventual league champion.

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When they formed in 1987, this club was the first major sports franchise in its city. They have made two NBA Finals and had two of the league's top centers in their primes. Which team is this?

Although they still lack a title, the Magic have been one of the league's more successful expansion teams. Since the team's first season in 1989, they have a total of 15 playoff appearances.

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With three titles in its history, this NBA team is best known for the "Bad Boy" era of the late 1980s. In 2004, they stunned the world by beating the dominant Lakers to win the Finals. Which franchise did all this?

Until they finally broke through with a championship in 2004, the Pistons were one of those "almost there" teams. Between 2003 and 2008, they made six straight Eastern Conference Finals.

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They were once named the Bobcats and are currently owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan. Which team plays in the most populous city in North Carolina?

The Hornets are one of just three total professional sports teams in either North or South Carolina. The other two are the Carolina Panthers of the NFL and the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL.

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This team lost in the NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls in 1997 and 1998. They haven't returned to the championship since, but today are led by a star guard nicknamed "Spida." Which club are we referencing?

The Jazz were founded in New Orleans. After facing financial difficulties in the late 1970s, the team moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. They decided to keep their original name and Mardi Gras colors, despite Salt Lake being decidedly less jazz-friendly than the Big Easy.

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This club is representative of sustained success, with 22 consecutive playoff appearances. In 2018, they traded their franchise player to Toronto. This team is also the only former ABA squad to win an NBA championship. What's their name?

Much of the Spurs' sustained success is owed to longtime leader Gregg Popovich. Appointed in 1996, he's the longest-serving head coach in all North American professional sports leagues and considered one of the greatest coaches in history.

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One of four teams in the state of California, this franchise has also been based in Rochester and Cincinnati. Today the team belongs to the only Indian owner in the NBA. Do you know the squad?

They had a run of success in the early 2000s but have recently fallen on hard times. The Kings have not made the playoffs since 2006, and during that 13-year postseason drought, they have only finished higher than 11th place in the Western Conference twice.

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This team began in Seattle but now plays in Oklahoma City. They traded their longtime point guard this offseason and acquired another legendary PG nicknamed the "Point God." Which squad is this?

Not only was franchise point guard Russell Westbrook traded during the wild summer of 2019, but the Thunder also moved star wing Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. After 11 seasons with Westbrook, the Thunder enter a new era in 2019-2020.

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Headlined by a backcourt of "The Splash Brothers," this team has been very successful recently with five straight Finals appearances. They are tied for third-most titles in NBA history. Which team is it?

Besides all the championship appearances, the Warriors also set the record for most wins in a single season. They won 73 games in the 2015-2016 season before ultimately falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals.

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This team is the only remaining NBA club in the Pacific Northwest. They have won one title and were owned by billionaire Paul Allen, who passed in 2018. Can you name the team?

The lone championship the Trail Blazers can claim was won in 1977, thanks to the talents of their rising star center Bill Walton. He would go on to win a second title in 1986 with the Boston Celtics, something that his former team has not yet accomplished.

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As one of the eight original teams in the NBA, this squad has tons of history, including three titles. Today, their two stars hail from Australia and Cameroon. Which franchise is this?

The 76ers in 2019 have quite an international presence. Besides the two stars referenced, they also have Furkan Korkmaz from Turkey and Al Horford from the Dominican Republic on their roster.

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After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, this team had to move to Oklahoma City for two years. They were founded in 2002 and have made the playoffs seven times. Which team is this?

After a difficult 2018 season highlighted by star big man Anthony Davis requesting a trade, the Pelicans received a karmic reward by receiving the first overall draft pick in 2019. They took generational prospect Zion Williamson, who many expect to become a star in the NBA.

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Based in South Beach, this squad has three championships. Two were during their "Big 3" era, but all three involved their franchise guard nicknamed "Flash." What team does this refer to?

Led by mastermind executive Pat Riley, many feel that this team ushered in the "Superteam" era when hometown star Dwyane Wade persuaded Chris Bosh and LeBron James to play with him in Miami. The squad made four total NBA Finals and won two of them.

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This squad moved out of New Jersey in 2012. Rapper Jay-Z once owned a small stake in this team, which has 2 ABA titles but has never won an NBA ring. Which team is it?

The Nets' transition to Brooklyn in 2012 was actually their second move to the Empire State. In 1967, they played one season in the ABA as the New Jersey Americans before moving to Long Island, where they became the New York Nets.

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This squad has also played in Buffalo and St. Louis. They are tied for the second-longest championship drought, spanning 60 years. Former Pistons star Grant Hill is a partial owner. Can you name the team?

Another co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks is Jesse Itzler, an entrepreneur who got his start as a rapper and went on to help establish both a private jet company and a coconut water brand. The latter was acquired by Coca-Cola.

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Once called the Bullets, this team changed its name due to gun violence in the early 1990s. They used to play in Chicago and won a championship in 1978. Do you know this team?

After winning the title in 1978 and making the conference finals in 1979, the Wizards (then Bullets) went on a run of futility. Since the 1978-1979 season, the team has not made it beyond the conference semifinals.

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The player nicknamed "The Chosen One" brought a title to this city in 2016. The team is owned by Dan Gilbert and plays a few blocks from Lake Erie. Can you name this franchise?

The LeBron James era in Cleveland allowed the Cavs to make four straight appearances in the NBA Finals. They played the Golden State Warriors in the Finals every year from 2015 through 2018.

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This team was originally based outside the USA but moved back to the states in 2001. They have never made it past the Conference Finals. Which club are we referring to?

A combination of factors led the Grizzlies to relocate from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001: A weak Canadian dollar, attendance issues and poor player development were among the primary reasons for the move.

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Like other NBA teams, this squad relocated and made their name a misnomer. They've won 16 titles and are one of five teams to "threepeat" or win three titles in a row. Which team is this?

When legends Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal teamed up and coach Phil Jackson was brought on in 1999, everything clicked for the Lakers. They dominated the league, winning the championship every year from 2000 through 2002.

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Fans are said to have lots of a certain type of pride for this team, which has the most championships with 17. Tom Brady once helped recruit for them. Name the squad?

In 2016, Kevin Durant told the media that the presence of Tom Brady at a meeting with the Boston Celtics almost made him sign with the team. He went on to join the Warriors that summer and win two titles in Golden State before going to the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.

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This franchise plays in the nation's largest city and hasn't won a title since 1973. In fact, they haven't even made the playoffs since 2013. Do you know the team?

Knicks owner James Dolan famously feuded with former star Charles Oakley in 2017. Dolan had Oakley arrested and placed in handcuffs by Madison Square Garden security officers and later accused him of having a problem with anger and alcohol.

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They were created in 1966 as the Emerald City's first professional sports team. In 2007, they moved to Oklahoma City and changed names. Do you know the team?

Many fans in Seattle are still bitter with businessman Clay Bennett, who led the purchase of the SuperSonics from business mogul Howard Schulz. The city of Seattle filed a lawsuit in 2007 to stop the move but was ultimately unsuccessful.

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This team was most famously led by the man most consider the best player in history. They set a single-season record with 72 wins in 1995-1996. Later, they had the league's youngest MVP. Which squad holds these distinctions?

The Bulls' record for single-season wins was set with an all-time lineup that included Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. All three would go on to be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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This team plays in the city the Lakers originally called home. In the last 15 years, they've made the playoffs only once and have never won a championship. Can you name this team?

Though they've had talented players on their roster, in their 30 seasons in the NBA, the Timberwolves have only made it past the first round of the NBA playoffs once. That happened in 2004 when renowned power forward Kevin Garnett brought the squad all the way to the Conference Finals.

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This was the original name of the capital's team. They were most successful in the 1970s, when they made the playoffs every year, winning a title in 1978. Can you name this NBA team?

Not everyone knows that the Wizards, the team's current name, is actually its fourth. When the team was founded in Chicago in 1961, they were known as the Packers. The next year, they were renamed the Zephyrs, before moving to Baltimore in 1963 and becoming the Bullets.

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This squad is based in the Big Easy and changed to its current name in 2013. The team is named after a large water bird. Which franchise is this?

Between 2005 and 2007, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina forced the Hornets to play in Oklahoma City for two years. They were renamed after the team was purchased by Tom Benson in 2012.

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Based in the Izod Center in East Rutherford, Jason Kidd leads this franchise in both steals and assists. Which team now plays in the Big Apple?

One of the biggest proponents of moving the Nets to Brooklyn was the rapper Jay-Z. Hov was a minority owner in the team, and though his stake was relatively small at just 0.07%, he was crucial in helping rally public support for the franchise relocation.

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While it was named after a big cat, this squad only made the playoffs twice and never got past the first round. Which team was later renamed without moving cities?

The original Charlotte Hornets franchise moved to the city of New Orleans in 2002, as a result of declining attendance. The new NBA team created in Charlotte to fill the void was called the Bobcats until the name was changed back after the 2013-2014 season.

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Another team that originated in the ABA, this squad made the playoffs ten years in a row from 2004 to 2013. Despite this success, they have never even appeared in an NBA Finals. Can you name this club?

The team's original name was the Denver Larks, after the Colorado state bird. Despite multiple name changes, the team appears to like its host city; in 2019, it was announced that the Nuggets would stay in Denver through at least 2040.

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