The NBA has prided itself more and more on star power over the years. This was true in the '80s as superstars like Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson launched the game to a national level. It was even more true in the '90s when Michael Jordan mesmerized the world by winning six NBA titles in a dominant fashion. Now, in the current game, superstars are all the rage, as they have become international icons.
The era of superstars might make teams seem less relevant than before. After all, current fans are as likely if not more likely to follow a player around the league than to follow a team as players come and go. That often means that team history and traditions are left as an afterthought.
It's time to rein in those afterthoughts and see how much you know about the teams that make up the NBA by taking this quiz. Not only will you be tested on the stars who left their impact on an organization, but you'll come across questions from championship moments to draft tactics. Do you think you have what it takes to get a high score?
When you're ready, give this quiz a shot and see if you can get a buzzer beater win.
The Golden State Warriors have been winning title after title the past few seasons, but they are far off from surpassing which franchise that has the most championships in NBA history?
The Boston Celtics can credit most of their NBA titles to the great Bill Russell. Playing for the Celtics from 1956 through 1969, Russell won 11 total titles, two of which he earned as a player-coach in the latter part of his career.
Referencing their physical play on the court, what did the Detroit Pistons call themselves in the late '80s and early '90s?
The "Bad Boys" brought a physicality to the basketball court that's rarely seen in the game, particularly in the current era. Led by Isaiah Thomas, this team made many enemies, but they also walked away with two championships.
Which legend did the Bulls draft in 1984 who changed the future of their franchise as well as the NBA?
Though recency bias would tell you that LeBron James is the best player the NBA has ever seen, ask anyone who watched Michael Jordan play and they will argue that Jordan's clearly the G.O.A.T. It's hard to argue with them considering he was 6-0 in the NBA Finals.
The New York Knicks play in one of the most iconic stadiums in sports. What's the name of it?
Madison Square Garden has been home to some of the most important sporting moments to ever take place, aside from basketball games. Some of these events include Hulk Hogan's first World Heavyweight Championship victory as well as the Fight of the Century between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
When the Los Angeles Lakers won three straight championships from 2000 through 2002, who was named the Finals MVP each year?
Shaquille O'Neal was clearly the centerpiece of the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 2000s, but that wouldn't last with Kobe Bryant on the team. Desiring a squad of his own, Bryant forced O'Neal out of town after they lost the 2004 NBA championship to the Detroit Pistons.
Though the Rockets currently play in Houston, where was the team originally established?
The San Diego Rockets' franchise started in 1967, but they got off to an abysmal start by only winning 15 games. Their odds improved the next season after drafting Elvin Hayes, who averaged 28 points and 17 rebounds his rookie year and improved their record to 37-45.
Do you know which of these teams is the only one located in Canada?
The Toronto Raptors have had several star players throughout the history of their franchise including Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh. However, none of these players have brought an NBA championship to Toronto, which has yet to advance past the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron James promised to deliver a title to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He accomplished his goal in 2016 after coming back from what deficit in the Finals?
The Cleveland Cavaliers' rebound in the 2016 NBA Finals after being down 3-1 is the greatest comeback in Finals history. LeBron James earned the third title of his career and was named the Finals MVP.
One of the most accomplished coaches in basketball, who coached the San Antonio Spurs during all five of their championships?
Gregg Popovich is well known for his hatred of in-game interviews. Most reporters giving the interviews fear Popovich's reaction, as he often gives quick and dry answers that barely address the questions asked if answering them at all.
Beginning in 2013, the Philadelphia 76ers chose to purposely lose games to get a high draft pick while chanting what mantra?
"Trust the process" helped the 76ers get players like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who are both still young and ascending. However, they have also failed on a few of those picks, like when they drafted Markelle Fulkz with the first overall pick in 2017.
The Golden State Warriors revolutionized basketball with the three-point shot behind Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, who called themselves what?
"The Splash Brothers" won an NBA title in 2015 behind the deadly three point shooting ability of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. The next season, they set an NBA regular season record by winning 73 games but lost in the Finals.
Can you name the first player to have his number retired by the Milwaukee Bucks?
Oscar Robertson was the first player in NBA history to average a triple double throughout the regular season. Surprisingly, the accomplishment didn't even earn him an MVP award, though he would get the award two seasons later.
The Portland Trail Blazers won their first title seven years after the team was founded, which was when?
The 1970 NBA season saw the Baltimore Bullets face off against the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals. The Bucks took the title home after four straight victories, with the Bullets' closest win coming in Game 3 where they lost by eight points.
Prior to joining the NBA, the Denver Nuggets lost in the 1976 ABA Finals against which team?
The Nets joined the NBA the same year as the Nuggets, as the ABA merged with the NBA that season. Other teams included in the merger were the San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers.
What did the Thunder call themselves before moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City?
The SuperSonics carried their young star, Kevin Durant, with them to Oklahoma City. Durant stayed with the team until 2016 when he decided to join a 73-win Warriors team, a move that was heavily criticized.
Aside from Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who was the third member of the "Big 3" that the Miami Heat brought together in 2010?
Of the "Big 3," Chris Bosh probably made the biggest sacrifice when he went to Miami in terms of stats. Bosh was averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds his last two seasons in Toronto but failed to reach either of those marks until LeBron James left Miami in 2014.
Which superhero-themed mascot did the Brooklyn Nets introduce in 2012 in partnership with Marvel Entertainment?
Though the Nets tried hard to promote him, BrooklyKnight was never accepted by the fans in Brooklyn. After a short tenure with the team, the mascot was retired at the end of the 2014 season.
The Los Angeles Clippers won two division titles while playing in what division?
Led by Chris Paul and featuring dunk specialists like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers received the nickname "Lob City" because of Paul's passing and the latter two's highflying dunks. The team never lived up to expectations, though, and fell apart when Paul left the team in 2017.
In only their second appearance in the NBA Finals, what year did the Dallas Mavericks defeat a loaded Miami Heat team?
When the Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, LeBron James took the brunt of the heat for Miami's loss because he failed to perform up to expectations. Dirk Nowitzki, however, sealed his place in basketball lore, winning the only title of his career.
The Utah Jazz traded for which star player during their inaugural season in 1974?
Pete Maravich had a very successful professional career in the NBA, but it pales in comparison to what he was able to do in college. During his three years at LSU, Maravich averaged 44 points per game and was twice named the national player of the year.
Proving he was a magician with the basketball, Scott Skiles set which NBA record while playing for the Orlando Magic?
Skiles racked up an amazing 30 assists in the game. John Stockton and Kevin Porter are tied at three games with 25 or more assists. No other player has more than one such game. As for Stockton, he currently holds the record for assists in an NBA career.
During the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals, refereeing was called into question during which game between the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers that resulted in a Lakers victory?
The controversy that surrounded Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals heated up when Tim Donaghy, a former referee, alleged that the game was fixed. Donaghy's claims stated that the referees were acting in the interest of the NBA. But Donaghy himself had been convicted of betting on games, and his statements were largely dismissed.
The Pacers retired No. 31 for which player, who spent his entire career in Indiana?
Reggie Miller retired from the NBA in 2005 as the all-time leader in three pointers made. He was later passed on that list by Ray Allen, and unless some unforeseen circumstance hits, Steph Curry will soon pass him as well.
After riding the star power of Kevin Garnett for 12 seasons, the Minnesota Timberwolves finally traded him to what team?
After adding players like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Boston Celtics became immediate championship contenders. In their first season together, the Celtics won an NBA title then returned to the Finals in 2010, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Under head coach Mike D'Antoni, what was the name of the fast break offense introduced to the Phoenix Suns?
After leaving the Suns in 2008, Mike D'Antoni carried his fast break offense to the Knicks and later to the Lakers. He never found the same level of success with these teams, mainly because he didn't have the right point guard to run the show.
Hurricane Katrina forced the New Orleans Pelicans, the Hornets at the time, to move to which city for two seasons?
The Pelicans' two seasons in Oklahoma City were largely forgettable, as they finished 10th in the Western Conference both years. However, they did manage to draft Chris Paul, who was named Rookie of the Year in 2006.
Do you know which former Georgia governor was part owner of the Atlanta Hawks?
After leaving politics briefly, Carl Sanders returned in 1970 to run against future president Jimmy Carter in the Georgia governor's race. Carter used Sanders' association with the Hawks to portray him as a race-friendly candidate, a tough position for a politician in the South.
Gene Shue was the longest tenured coach for which NBA franchise?
The Wizards have gone through many changes throughout the years, moving from Chicago to Baltimore before finally settling in Washington D.C. When the franchise won its only championship in 1978, they were known as the Washington Bullets, receiving their current name in 1997.
The Charlotte Hornets have only retired one number in the franchise's short history. What number is it?
No. 13 belonged to shooting guard Bobby Phills, who only spent three years in Charlotte. However, his number was retired shortly after his death in 2000, when he was involved in a car crash while driving recklessly.
The Memphis Grizzlies have struggled in the playoffs over the years, but they did make it to the Western Conference Finals in 2013, where they faced which team?
The San Antonio Spurs lost to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals after the Heat won Game 6 and 7 to take the series. Both teams returned to the Finals the next season, where the Spurs got their revenge.
Known for their flash on the court and style off the court, the '80s Lakers called themselves what?
Winning five championships throughout the '80s, the "Showtime" Lakers established themselves as one of the NBA's most elite squads ever assembled. The team was led by two MVP-level players in Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Who donned the Houston Rockets' jersey for more games than any other player in the history of the franchise?
Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon was a Nigerian basketball player, who in many ways popularized the game for people in Africa. Olajuwon was a two time NBA champion and might have won more rings had he not played in the same era as Michael Jordan.
In 1997, Tim Duncan was placed beside David Robinson to form which famous front court for the San Antonio Spurs?
Before "The Twin Towers" came together, the San Antonio Spurs struggled to make a serious run at a championship, even with a star like David Robinson on the team. With Robinson and Duncan, however, the Spurs won the first title in franchise history in 1999.
Which NBA team won 28 games straight from April 9, 2015 until Dec. 11, 2015?
The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers are the only team with a longer regular season win streak than the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers won a total of 33 games that year as well as the NBA title when they defeated the Knicks in five games.
Moses Malone claimed the Philadelphia 76ers would go undefeated in the 1983 playoffs. How many games did the team lose?
No team, including the Philadelphia 76ers, has gone undefeated for a full playoff run. However, many teams have lost only one game, with the 2018 Golden State Warriors being the most recent example.
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