Most Deserving NBA Cities

A short list of supportive markets that would embrace a new team.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Seattle, WA            Former Team (SuperSonics – 1967-2008) 

This town is number one on the list when it comes to the most deserving. It’s a shame the great state of Washington had to lose their team in 2008 when ownership took them to Oklahoma. Even though they have an NBA championship to their resume (1979), not to mention the glory days of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton versus Michael Jordan in the 1996 Finals, the city couldn’t get a new arena built. Pretty much same sad story, different team.

After seeing how well the Hornets faired as part time visitors in Oklahoma, it looked like the perfect re-location for Sonics ownership. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook currently running the show atop the Western Conference, so far so good.

But I’m not here to rub it in; just simply stating what could have been. And it’s a shame.

Now a hedge fund manager named Christopher Hansen (not Chris Hansen from NBC’s ‘To Catch A Predator’- that would be weird) has offered over $200 million to support the building of a new arena in downtown Seattle. It all looks like a done deal. The only catch: the city has to lure both an NBA and NHL franchise to the city, which will be tough.

Sacramento and New Orleans looked like possibilities for re-location, but now the Hornets are on the verge of a new owner that would keep them in NOLA, and Sacramento looks to have struck a deal for that new arena they’ve desperately been asking for.

Seattle ranks 15th in the country with nearly 3.5 million residents in the metro area. They’ve supported their Mariners and Seahawks through the good times and the bad—recently through just the plain awful—but that just shows you how loyal the fans in Seattle are.

Hopefully some day before the next decade we’ll get to see those rockin’ green Sonics jerseys. Plus, who doesn’t miss the high flyin’, dunkin’ Sonics sasquatch mascot; Squatch!


St. Louis, MO            Former Team (Hawks – 1955-1968)

That’s right, the Atlanta Hawks used to be in Saint Louie… and Buffalo, Milwaukee and the Tri-Cities. But believe it or not, their only NBA Championship came while in St. Louis in 1958.

St. Louis is labeled ‘America’s greatest baseball town,’ and they’re as loyal to their Cardinals as any fan base can be with a team. However, it’s an area where sports run king. There simply isn’t much else to do. Football, basketball, baseball – you name it – you’ll find a large following of fans. Even the Rams, who have been both great and lousy in their tenure in the ‘show me state’ have had support. . They have pro football and baseball. I’m confident basketball can flourish in St. Louis as well.

Sounds crazy, but St. Louis is 18th in the country in metro population at 2.8 million residents. Downtown is beautiful, safe and fun with both a ballpark and sports arena already located in the area.

The Hawks will be staying put in the great state of Atlanta. But there are other teams that I’m not so confident in staying put within their geographical/economic location, the Memphis Grizzlies being one of them.


San Diego, CA            Former Team (Clippers 1978 – 1984)

Ohhh the Clippers; the most losing franchise in the history of professional sports. Since the team moved to southern California from Buffalo in 1978, the team has only made the playoffs four times, only winning a series once. Yup. That bad.

Chris Paul or not, the Clippers will always be the second team in LA; especially when sharing Staples Center with the Lakers. LA bleeds purple; that will never change. It all comes down to lack of care from ownership in regards to why they settle to being that ‘second team.’ It’s a situation where slight profit trumps wins.

Many have argued it would be easy for the Clippers to move to the Honda Center in Orange County to share a building with the NHL’s Ducks. While I wouldn’t oppose that move, I think a move back to San Diego would be even better.

San Diego has tremendous support for the Chargers. As much as LA bleeds purple, San Diego bleeds lighting bolts. If you’ve never been to San Diego, just trust me on this one. I still see L.T. jerseys out and about.

And you still have those fathers as well; the Padres. You’d be surprised how often you see Padre gear, even in LA.

San Diego is a laid-back surf town that is ‘chill’ to the max. The city has a population of 1.3 million, which is 8th in the United States, making it the largest city without an NBA team.

Is the weather beautiful in S.D? Yes. Are the girls beautiful in S.D.? Yes. Is there a lot to do in S.D.? Yes. But there’s still room for more! Name them the Clippers, Braves, Tropics… I don’t care. San Diego deserves a team again.


Photo Credit: ShutterStock/Andy Z.