Top 20 Team Names That Need To Change Today
With the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics meeting in the NBA FInals for the 12th time—and the Lakers appearing in the finals for a record 32nd time—we are reminded once again that the Lakers-Celtics rivalry began back when the Lakers played in Minnesota—the Land of 10,000 Lakes—and were known as the Minneapolis Lakers.
This of course reminds us that—Hey, "Los Angeles Lakers" doesn't make any sense—there are no lakes in Los Angeles.
And so it goes when professional sports teams relocate—a name that was special to the team's original home makes no sense, and can even be a little anachronistic, in the team's new home.
With that, here is a list of the Top 20 Team Names That Need to Change—and we mean today.
20. The Miami Heat
I won't say that all non-plural sports teams names need to change (primarily because we'd have to rename the entire MLS), but the "Miami Heat" is one that does.
The primary reason non-plural names suck is sentences like the following.
"During his career, Shaquille O'Neal was a member of the Magic, a Laker, a member of the Heat, a Sun and a Cav."
Substitute Knicks and Bulls for Magic and Heat, and that sentence gets cut in half.
You know, frankly, I don't see why we could just change the name of the Miami Heat to the Miami Heats.
19. The Houston Texans
Am I the only one who is perpetually confused by the whole Dallas Texans/Houston Texans/Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans thing?
Between the NFL, the AFL, and the Arena League, there have been three football teams called the "Dallas Texans." There have also been two hockey franchises called the Dallas Texans.
Then there was the Houston Oilers team that played in the NFL from 1960 to 1996, when it moved to Tennessee and became the Tennessee Titans (after briefly playing as the Tennessee Oilers).
So, now we have a football team playing in Houston that calls itself the Texans, despite the fact that five professional sports teams have called themselves the Texans while playing in Dallas.
Frankly, I hardly ever remember that there is a football team in Houston. Whenever I hear "Texans," I think Dallas. Can we just call the Houston team the Oilers, please?
18. The Nashville Predators
The incredibly popular, and repeatedly lampooned, NBC Dateline special "To Catch a Predator" has, at least in my mind, completely changed the context of the word "predator."
It isn't Nashville's fault—I think choosing a name that conjures images of wild animals hunting other animals to tear apart with their teeth and ultimately eat, perhaps while the other animal is still alive, is pretty bad-ass.
Unfortunately, "predator" now means creepy old loser dude looking to hook up with young girls over the internet.
17. The Los Angeles Dodgers
Baseball in Los Angeles has turned out to be, for the most part, a success.
The Dodgers have won some World Series titles and enjoyed the second largest media market in the country.
At the same time, Los Angeles fans have a reputation for being tepid baseball fans, while there remains a generation of Brooklynites who still wax nostalgic about the Boys in Blue.
As Brooklyn becomes the new Manhattan—and remains, for that matter, the Sixth Largest City in the Country if it was its own city—there can be no doubt that baseball could work in Brooklyn again.
So let's rename this team the Brooklyn Dodgers, and move them back to Brooklyn where they belong.
16. The Washington Wizards and the Orlando Magic
The first of three Washington teams that I am going to pick on here.
Orlando has the lame and dated name "the Magic," while Washington, in changing its name from "the Bullets" inadvertently stumbled upon the perfect name for a basketball team in Disney World.
"Wizards" have no relevance to Washington, D.C., so what needs to happen is Washington needs to give the name "Wizards" to Orlando, and Orlando needs to bury the name "Magic." Then, Washington can pick its own name.
15. The South Carolina Gamecocks
This one should pretty much explain itself.
Of course, before I had a daughter I probably thought this was the greatest name ever.
But I've got one now, dammit, and this sort of thing horrifies me.
14. The Kansas City Chiefs
Is there any way professional sports can succeed in Kansas City anymore?
The Kansas City Royals are one of baseball's worst franchises, and the Chiefs have just had a terrible and disastrous go of it since winning Super Bowl IV.
The Royals have no where to go, but the Chiefs certainly have a spot waiting for them.
How does "The Los Angeles Chiefs" hit you?
13. The Tampa Bay Rays
This is more to satisfy my own personal curiosity than anything else—the baseball team in Tampa was never any good as the Devil Rays, and has been awesome since becoming the Rays.
I would like them to switch back to the Devil Rays, just for a season, to see if they suck again.
Wouldn't that be odd?
12. The Minnesota Wild
The first issue here is that the Minnesota Wild have chosen a non-plural team name, which should be avoided, but teams do it—so whatever.
The second issue here is that Minnesota used to have a team called the North Stars which relocated to Dallas and became the Stars.
I say, either get "the North Stars" back or at least pick a plural name. Perhaps Wildcats?
Either change would be welcome.
11. The Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams
I've never warmed to the notion of the "Arizona Cardinals." It makes no sense.
One of the great baseball franchises in history is the St. Louis Cardinals, and their football team used to be called that too, before they moved to Arizona.
Give the Cardinals back to St. Louis, and then Arizona can either have the Rams or they can pick a new name for themselves.
10. Either the Auburn Tigers or the LSU Tigers
Okay, I know it's college and I shouldn't be so rigid.
But how can two teams in the same conference have the same name!?
What if the Cleveland Indians suddenly decided that they wanted to be known as the Cleveland Tigers?
We would never stand for it.
Now, figuring out which one of these proud and storied SEC schools will be the one to change is a whole other issue.
Maybe they should let the winner of the next LSU-Auburn football game keep the name.
9. The Detroit Lions
Don't get me wrong—I have no problem whatsoever with the name "Detroit Lions." A nice, sturdy sounding name, it conjures images of ferocity and tenacity that a football team should want.
But they have been to the playoffs 14 times in 79 years, advancing past the first round only once in the Super Bowl era.
Even the Saints have a Super Bowl victory now.
Maybe a name change could turn things around. It is almost the only thing left to try.
8. The Columbus Blue Jackets
Find an average sports fan and ask him or her the following question.
"Which of the following is the name of an actual current professional sports franchise:
a) The Seattle Pilots
b) The St. Louis Hawks
c) The Columbus Blue Jackets
d) The Los Angeles Rams"
I guarantee you that they'll rule out Columbus and Los Angeles immediately, and then spend 10 to 15 seconds debating between Seattle and St. Louis before picking either a) or b).
No really, try it.
Meanwhile, Columbus Blue Jackets, name yourself either after Ohio or Cleveland, and then find a mascot that makes any sense at all.
7. The Memphis Grizzlies
Show me another team name that makes less sense than the Memphis Grizzlies.
There ain't no grizzly bears in Memphis, and there is barely basketball there either.
No team name in sports says "We're just biding our time until we can get out of here and move to a real city," more than the Memphis Grizzlies.
6. The Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens
It is always a terrible shame when a beloved sports franchise leaves for a new city. Just ask Baltimore Colts fans, who were still pissed off about the Colts leaving town even after their new team, the Baltimore Ravens, won Super Bowl XXXV.
The NFL did the right thing when the Cleveland Browns left Cleveland for Baltimore by letting then city of Cleveland keep the Browns franchise and treating the Ravens as an expansion team.
The NFL needs to do the right thing again—give the Colts name back to the city of Baltimore and let Indianapolis pick a new name.
Maybe then the people of Baltimore would shut up about it already.
5. The Washington Nationals
How it is that the former Montreal Expos, who had one of the unique names in all of sports, managed to come up with one of the most generic names in baseball history is beyond me.
The Washington Nationals have the same name as the league they play in, and these guys look like they're wearing National League All Star game jerseys.
The Washington Senators is one of the great classic names in baseball's history, and yet they chose to go away from it.
The Washington Federals would have had a lot of flavor, and would have allowed us to say things like, "Look out, next week the Feds are coming to town."
Instead, it is the Nationals.
4. The Golden State Warriors
I understand the idea here—naming your team after the state instead of the city it plays in expands the base and allows the team to appeal to a larger group of fans.
But if the Texas Rangers, Indiana Pacers, Florida Marlins, and New Jersey Devils can survive by naming themselves after their actual state, then why are the Golden State Warriors too good to be called the California Warriors?
Frankly, the Warriors are probably one of the least successful and least renowned professional teams in sports. Meanwhile, the Oakland Athletics and Oakland Raiders both have national followings.
Think maybe we could jettison this whole "Golden State" thing and get a name people outside of California can related to?
3. The Utah Jazz, The New Orleans Hornets, and the Charlotte Bobcats
Look, I get it. The fans in New Orleans didn't support the Jazz and they were stuck playing in the cavernous Superdome so they left—that is fine.
If the Jazz had relocated to any other market, the name would have been tolerable. We could have lived with the New York Jazz, the Memphis Jazz, the Chicago Jazz, or the Seattle Jazz.
But Utah is just about the least Jazzy place in the United States.
These people don't consume caffeine, let alone heroin. They are, by design and desire, a humorless no-fun-having people.
The fact that they aren't themselves offended by having their basketball team called the Jazz frankly kind of shocks me.
Give New Orleans "the Jazz" back, Charlotte gets "the Hornets" back and Utah can call their team whatever they want.
Bobcats will be available.
2. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
No disrespect to the City of Anaheim or its residents, but I really don't care that you have a lot of people, that you are trying to establish your own identity, or that the Angels actually play in Anaheim instead of Los Angeles.
If we were to create a rule that teams had to be named after the city in which they played, we have the East Rutherford Giants, the Landover Redskins, and the St. Petersburg Rays.
But we don't.
Chop off that damned "of Anaheim" and return to the rest of the sporting world.
1. The Washington Redskins
Am I unfairly picking on the Redskins when the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, and Florida State Seminoles are also named after Native Americans and have also been deemed offensive by Native American groups?
But, in my humble opinion, the Redskins are the most patently offensive.
Never in a million years would we stand for one second for a team named the Blackskins, the Yellowskins, or perhaps even the Whiteskins.
That the Redskins name has lasted this long is shocking.
Furthermore, the fact that this team plays in the capital of the country that was founded upon the annihilation of Native Americans adds an imagery that is uncomfortable to bear.