NBA Sports

Ranking All 30 NBA Teams By How Intimidating Their Name Is

Ranking All 30 NBA Teams By How Intimidating Their Name Is March 8, 2018

Sailboats, precious medals, car parts, Harry Potter's teachers, planets, weather, ancient languages, cowboy attire — NBA teams draw their names from some pretty peculiar figures. Some instill fear, while others will only knock you down with hilarious harmlessness. I'm looking at you, only team named after a piece of basketball equipment. Here's all 30 NBA teams, in order of least intimidating name to most intimidating.

30. Denver Nuggets

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Gold nuggets are not just unintimidating, they're downright inviting. Not only are they inanimate objects, I'd genuinely love to get pelted with them. Free money, dummy, let the bits of precious metal rain down on me.

29. Utah Jazz

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Not only is jazz an art form, it's probably the second-most lampooned type of music in the United States. Luckily for jazz enthusiasts, Nickelback exists.

28. Detroit Pistons

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A piston is a piece of a car engine. Just one piece! The only way it can inflict pain on you is if you're dumb enough to stick your finger into the valve sliding back and forth.

27. Brooklyn Nets

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Come on, Nuggets, Jazz, and Pistons, you really couldn't even manage to be scarier than the freaking cloth teams are trying to put the ball through? Nets aren't scary, unless maybe you're a crustacean or very, very easy to trap.

26. Los Angeles Clippers

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No, they're not named after nail clippers. If they were, they might actually be scarier: A clipper is a type of sailboat. Oh no, I'm so scared. Oh wait, no I'm not, because I'm on land.

25. San Antonio Spurs

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Yet another minuscule, inanimate object not to be feared. A spur's sharpess is the only reason the team is even ranked this high.

24. Boston Celtics

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Oh no, Irish people! Run for cover! If you wanna get technical, Celtic is really just a language, so they should be thankful they're at No. 24.

23. Los Angeles Lakers

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Outta the way! People who live on lakes, comin' through! And not just any lakes, people who live on lakes in Minnesota, where the team's originally from, so you know they're annoyingly nice. But they're higher than the Celtics because in my head they're armed with rowboat paddles.

22. New Orleans Pelicans

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Finally, our first animal. Though Pelicans aren't really all that scary unless you for some reason have a precious liquid you don't want them to store in their beaks.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder

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Sure, thunder — particularly the earth-shaking variety — sounds scary. Too bad basketball is played indoors.

20. Miami Heat

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Sure, there are some situations in which too much heat is a bad thing. Once again, it's not happening in an NBA arena. Ever hear of air-conditioning?

19. Phoenix Suns

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Basically the same logic as that behind the Miami Heat's ranking. Where it gets extra points: There's only one sun, so seeing multiple suns could really freak an opponent out.

18. Philadelphia 76ers

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Ahh, a revolutionary! Prepared to fight for his or her independence! Good luck firing your inaccurate musket that takes a minute to reload a single shot.

17. Portland Trail Blazers

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Explorers aren't all that intimidating or known for their fighting. But they're in damn good shape, and probably have an ax on their person.

16. Dallas Mavericks

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No joke: The team is named after the old show and its titular character, Maverick. He's a card player who's pretty handy with a gun. But he was played by James Garner and then later Mel Gibson in a movie remake — and no one's afraid of James Garner or Mel Gibson.

15. New York Knicks

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"Knickerbocker" is an outdated slang term for a New Yorker. I promise you they're not as scary as they'd love you to believe they are. They're more annoying than anything else.

14. Milwaukee Bucks

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Gentle creatures for the most part, they can grow to be over 200 pounds and are armed with massive antlers. In other words, don't piss a buck off.

13. Indiana Pacers

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The Pacers' name is a double entendre, representing the pace car at races such as the Indy 500, and a harness racing horse that specializes in the pace gait. Either way, a pacer has the capability to seriously mess you up.

12. Charlotte Hornets

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Be stings can kill — over 100 people each year die via stinger. But we're running into another Oklahoma City Thunder scenario: Just go inside and shut the door.

11. Atlanta Hawks

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Here's where running inside might not help anymore — don't put it past a hawk to fly through your windshield and re-enact a scene from "The Birds" on your ass.

10. Chicago Bulls

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Massive, strong, and fast, there's a reason fighting a bull is considered a daring feat. But there's also a reason to fight a bull over other terrifying beasts: They're dumb as shit and easily fooled.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves

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I don't even know what a timberwolf is, but I'm terrified of it. A massive wolf? A wolf made out of wood? You won't find out until its teeth are around your throat.

8. Memphis Grizzlies

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Here we go, an even more menacing animal. These bad boys can get up to 800 pounds and have been recorded running 35 MPH. The damn thing will chase you down, rip your head off, and not even think enough of it to bring it up to his spouse later.

7. Golden State Warriors

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"Warrior" is such a general term. But regardless of where he or she comes from, by definition I do not want to be in a warrior's way.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers

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For whatever reason, the name doesn't sound intimidating at all. But a cavalier is a horse-mounted soldier — basically, a warrior plus the benefit of four hooves ideal for smashing skulls.

5. Sacramento Kings

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Yes, yes. Kings, generally, are a soft sort, raised in royalty without challenges to overcome. But it's not the kings I'm worried about. It's the armies fighting for them under threat of death in the pit of misery that you have to look out for.

4. Houston Rockets

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Okay, so we're back to inanimate objects. But this one could take out an entire nation if you know how to pick them. Houston, you won't have a problem with me.

3. Washington Wizards

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Sure, by appearance, an old man skittering around in his pajamas and mumbling nonsense is not only not scary, but hilarious. But do you really wanna go head-to-head with Gandalf the Grey or Albus Dumbledore? Didn't think so.

2. Orlando Magic

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Honestly, I had no clue where to slap Orlando. But if we fear wizards, we should probably fear the power they wield even more, no? 

1. Toronto Raptors

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Okay, fine, a wizard might be able to take out a raptor, or even a group of raptors, with a single spell. I don't care. They're freaking dinosaurs. Built to kill. Have you even seen "The Lost World: Jurassic Park"? Get at me, Gandalf.