What Are The Oldest Basketball Teams?

What Are The Oldest Basketball Teams

The sport of basketball has drastically changed since it was founded in 1891 by James Naismith. The sport eventually grew into a league in 1946, when the Basketball Association of America was formed. This later turned into what is known today as the National Basketball Association (NBA). With that said, what are some of the oldest teams in the league?

What Are the Oldest NBA Teams?

The original NBA had 11 teams: the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Rebels, the Chicago Stags, the Detroit Falcons, the New York Knickerbockers, the Pittsburgh Ironmen, the Philadelphia Warriors, the Providence Steamrollers, the St. Louis Bombers, the Toronto Huskies, and the Washington Capitols. Not all of the original 11 survived, and soon others took shape to form the modern list of NBA teams. Franchises like the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks just missed the cut as some of the oldest modern basketball organizations.

The four oldest teams in the NBA, listed here from oldest to youngest, are the:

  1. Sacramento Kings (1923)
  2. Detroit Pistons (1941)
  3. Boston Celtics (1946)
  4. New York Knicks (1946)

Sacramento Kings

The Kings are the oldest NBA team, as they were founded in 1923. The team originally started as a semi-pro squad, and later joined the predecessor to the NBA in 1948. They were known as the Rochester Royals back then, and won the franchise’s only title in 1951 under that name. The team found little success after that and jumped around the United States in the following decades. The name “Kings” was picked up in 1972, and the team eventually settled in Sacramento in 1985.

Detroit Pistons

Detroit has the second-longest-standing basketball organization. The Pistons were founded back in 1941 as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. Detroit joined the predecessor to the NBA in 1948, as they had previously been in the National Basketball League. In 1957, the Pistons moved from Fort Wayne to their current home in Detroit. Since then, the franchise has won three NBA championships. The Pistons won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. The most recent championship for Detroit came in 2004, when they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics are tied  with the New York Knicks as the third-oldest team in today’s National Basketball Association. Boston’s basketball team was founded on June 6, 1946, and was one of the original teams in the NBA. The name is representative of the Irish community that has famously lived in the city. The Celtics are tied for the most championships in the NBA with 17. Boston most recently fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games in the 2022 NBA Finals. The last time the Celtics won a championship was in 2008, when they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

New York Knicks

The Knicks and Celtics were both founded on the same day, giving them a tie for third place. New York’s franchise came about on June 6, 1946, and was also one of the original NBA teams. The Knickerbockers, as they were originally known, have played at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan ever since they were founded. The organization lays claim to two NBA Championships. The first came in 1970 and the second followed in 1973.