Thinking too hard about team names can pose some strange concerns, and is not advisable. Masochist that I am, I've done it for you! Here is a list of the top ten strangest pro team names. As such, college and minor league team names have been omitted from these proceedings because they are too insane.
Keep in mind, this is not necessarily an analysis of the quality or effectiveness of a team name. Rather, this is a summary of names that demand you think twice about their very meaning.
You just can't change your name from the Bullets to the Wizards. It's as diametric as a name change can possibly be.
Of course, that name change came in 1997, when Washington D.C. was still running-the-table in murder rates. And it's hard to deride president Abe Pollin for taking violence seriously.
But really? The Wizards???
A wizard's main attributes are reading books and wearing sleepwear during the day like it's fine. These are not qualities conducive with a basketball team. They're just not.
Los Angeles Lakers
When a franchise has been as successful as the Lakers have been, you can pretty much call yourself whatever you please. But when it crosses your mind how little Los Angeles is known for its sprawling still water basins; you look for answers. When you look for answers, you find that the Lakeshow won 5 of their 16 championships as the Minneapolis Lakers -- an area that is indeed flush with lakes -- .
Kansas City Royals
This is the most nit-picky entry in this list. It's just that Kansas City , Missouri --already confusing-- , is more associated with heartland Americana, rather than say......... British monarchy. Of course a little history delving reveals that the team is actually named after a rodeo and horse show called the "American Royal". American enough for me! Though, that rodeo was named after a similar British event called the Royal Show.
Also of note: New Zealand teen sensation Lorde penned "Royals", the breakout radio hit of the past year, after being inspired by a photo of Royals legend George Brett.
I wish I made this all up.
Does the Toronto Raptors branding seem a little, cartoon-like, juvenile, or even corny, if you'll pardon the parlance. Well, there's a reason for that. According to the history section of the team website, the team name came from a naming contest that was apparently skewed by Jurassic Park loving children.
The Name Game became one of the most popular such enterprises in league history, generating more than 2,000 entries. The final top-10 list was dominated by animal names: Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs (Toronto's nickname is Hogtown), Raptors, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas, and Terriers.
On May 15 the PBF finally had an identity. No doubt fueled by the enormous success of the movie Jurassic Park and the popularity of dinosaurs with youngsters who would grow up to be fans in the target market.
Because when you let children name your team, you inevitably will end up being dinosaurs.... obviously.
Just. So. Lazy.
I need to take a nap just thinking about how lazy this name is.
There has never been a team called the New York New Yorkers for a reason.
If you're as smart as me, you're saying "What about the Montreal Canadians?" Well smart guy, the Canadians have 200 Stanley Cups and are 8,000 years old --that's 24 Stanley Cups and 105 years old if you're interested in "facts"--.
The Texans are the NFL's --the most lucrative sports league in the world-- newest expansion team, established in 2002. That means unlike the Canadians, someone got paid beaucoup bucks behind this travesty.
It just dares you to think of the process in the creative meeting.
"Ok...Houston........ Houston is in Texas..........HOUSTON TEXANS!!! Let's call it a day and cash-out." " But wait boss! We still need to design the logo." "Just paint flag-colors on the Texas Longhorns logo, you sweet simpleton. Happy hour awaits!"
This one..... is pretty obvious. It's almost ironic. No wait. It is definitely ironic.
Salt Lake City is not what you might call a "traditional jazz city". Let's just say it lacks several of the elements essential to have its basketball team be called the Jazz.
Like the Lakers, this mismatched branding is the result of a team relocation. Until 1979 the Jazz resided in New Orleans, a place that definitely does have jazz.
It's been 35 years, change your name to something reasonable!
Green Bay Packers
Like the Lakers, when you're a crucial part of the very foundation of your sport, people don't question you. But what is a "Packer"?
It's as simple and weird as it sounds, it turns out.
Curly Lambeau apparently worked at Indian Packing Company, a Wisconsin packing plant which sold delicious war-time canned meats. He asked his bosses for some capital for uniforms, and use of the athletic fields. They acquiesced, and he named the team for the company that helped him.
For the longest time no one knew what a "Pacer" meant. And they really still don't.
The most commonly accepted theory was that because Indianapolis' main landmark was the Indy Speedway, that it had something to do with the pace cars that help limit speeds during caution periods -- though they were never called "pacers"--.
The NBA has finally made that theory less dubious by posting a short article on the Pacers website.
For some reason they cite the team's attorney, who says the team was named after the Indy pace cars, as well as because of an early investor's predilection for harness racing horses --which were apparently then called "pacers"--.
The lawyer goes onto say that "the “Pacers” decision was an easy one, but the real debate was whether the team should be called the Indiana Pacers or the Indianapolis Pacers".
So the extremely esoteric nomenclature was the easy part?
New York Knickerbockers
If your team name is a word which never meant anything officially and hasn't been used in a century, you're the New York Knickerbockers. People forgot what knickerbocker meant so long ago, that they just put another, similar, fake name on the logo and people just rolled with it.
So let's crack this like Geraldo cracked Al Capones safe. By that I mean the answer is about as interesting.
Apparently, in the 1600's, knickerbockers were a kind of rolled-up-pants --knickers-- the Dutch settlers wore. So similar to how you refer to that one guy as "short-shorts", people went ahead and called Dutch settlers "Knickerbockers". As you may remember from your history class, New York City was founded by Dutch settlers, and was originally called New Amsterdam.
As public fascination with Dutch settlers, and what-to-call-them wained, so did the name.
It was revived however, when literary legend Washington Irving wrote the satiric A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker. He used "knickerbocker" as a term to describe a New Yorker with Dutch roots.
As time went on, and meanings change as they do, the term eventually became used to describe anything New York and metropolitan.
The Washington Redskins name controversy was reignited over this past off-season. This has been a hot-button issue of late, so copious vats of ink have already been dedicated to this topic. And while pundits often do seethe over the chance to over-politicize, it really seems truly archaic to allow a blatant racial epitaph to represent our nation's capital in "America's Game". It's a simple solution that continues to be stymied by our nation's curious tradition of Native-American themed sports teams.
The organization has faced this criticism for decades now and doesn't seem to acknowledge the callousness of this embarrassing stance. As of 2013, Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed to "never change" the franchise name.