What Are The Oldest Basketball Teams- top 10 list

Morgan Wolf

Basketball, as a sport, has a rich history filled with legendary teams that have left an indelible mark on the game. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of basketball’s oldest teams, exploring their origins, notable achievements, and enduring legacies. 

From the hardwood courts of yesteryears to the modern arenas that host the game today, these teams have stood the test of time, captivating fans with their remarkable talents and passion for the sport. 

So, join us on this journey as we explore the history and significance of some of the oldest basketball teams in existence.

10 Oldest Basketball Teams of All Time

Here is the list of the 10 oldest yet most famous basketball teams in history with all their essential details.

1. Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings

Source: nba.com

The Sacramento Kings, one of the oldest basketball teams in existence, have a rich and storied history that dates back to their founding in 1923. 

Originally known as the Rochester Seagrams, the team underwent several name changes over the years, including Rochester Eber Seagrams, Rochester Pros, Rochester Royals, Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City-Omaha Kings, and finally settling on the Sacramento Kings.

In 1948, the team made its debut in the National Basketball Association (NBA), marking the beginning of its journey in professional basketball. 

Over the decades, the Kings have thrilled fans with their exciting style of play and have produced some exceptional talents.

Today, the Kings call Sacramento, California their home. They play their home games at the Golden 1 Center, a state-of-the-art arena that offers a captivating game-day experience for fans. 

Vivek Randivé is the current owner of the Sacramento Kings and has been dedicated to revitalizing the team and building a strong foundation for future success.

With a legacy spanning nearly a century, the Sacramento Kings continue to be an integral part of the NBA, showcasing their enduring commitment to the sport and their loyal fan base.

2. Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons, one of the oldest basketball teams in existence, have a rich history that dates back to their founding in 1941. Originally known as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, the team was established in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

They later changed their name to the Fort Wayne Pistons before ultimately relocating to Detroit, Michigan, in 1957.

In 1948, the Pistons joined the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which eventually merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to form the National Basketball Association (NBA). This marked their first season in the NBA and solidified their place in professional basketball.

Today, the Detroit Pistons call the Little Caesars Arena their home. This state-of-the-art venue, located in the heart of Detroit, provides a dynamic backdrop for the team’s thrilling games. 

Under the ownership of Tom Gores, the Pistons continue to be an integral part of the Detroit sports scene.

With a storied past and a dedicated fanbase, the Detroit Pistons have had their fair share of successes and memorable moments throughout the years. 

They have won multiple NBA championships and have been home to legendary players who have left an indelible mark on the sport. As one of the oldest basketball teams, the Pistons continue to uphold their tradition of excellence on and off the court.

3. Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics, one of the oldest basketball teams, was founded on June 6, 1946. They embarked on their first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the same year. 

Throughout their illustrious history, the Celtics have earned a reputation as one of the most successful franchises in the NBA.

Originally hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, the Celtics have called the TD Garden their home arena for many years. Under the ownership of Wyc Grousbeck, who is part of the Boston Basketball Partners, the team has continued to thrive and build upon its legacy.

The Celtics have had numerous achievements, most notably their record-breaking 17 NBA championships. 

They dominated the league during the 1950s and 1960s, thanks to the leadership of legendary coach Red Auerbach and the exceptional play of iconic players such as Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek.

Known for their fierce rivalries, especially against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Celtics have established a rich basketball tradition. 

They have been home to some of the greatest players and coaches in the history of the sport. With their storied past and passionate fan base, the Boston Celtics remain a cornerstone of the NBA.

4. New York Knicks

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks, one of the oldest basketball teams in existence, were founded on June 6, 1946. They made their debut in the NBA in the same year, becoming one of the league’s original teams. The Knicks have always been known as the New York Knickerbockers, but are commonly referred to as the Knicks.

Based in the bustling city of New York, the team calls Madison Square Garden their home arena. This iconic venue has been their stronghold, serving as a historic backdrop for countless thrilling games and memorable moments in the team’s rich history.

The New York Knicks are currently owned by the Madison Square Garden Company, a prominent entertainment company that oversees various sports and entertainment properties. 

Under their ownership, the Knicks continue to represent the city of New York, captivating fans with their basketball prowess and indomitable spirit.

With a legacy spanning over seven decades, the New York Knicks have left an indelible mark on the basketball world. Their storied past and enduring presence solidify their status as a beloved and respected franchise in the heart of New York City.

5. Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors

Source: sportscasting.com

The Golden State Warriors, established in 1946, hold a prominent position in the history of professional basketball as one of the oldest teams in the sport. Originally known as the Philadelphia Warriors, they embarked on their first season in the newly-formed Basketball Association of America (BAA) in the same year they were founded. 

The team later became a part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the BAA and the National Basketball League (NBL) merged.

Over the years, the Warriors underwent a series of name changes, first becoming the San Francisco Warriors before adopting their current name, the Golden State Warriors. 

Hailing from San Francisco, California, the team now calls the state-of-the-art Chase Center it’s home arena. The current ownership of the franchise is held by a majority stakeholder, Joe Lacob, and Peter Guber.

Throughout its rich history, the Golden State Warriors have achieved numerous milestones and successes, including multiple NBA championships and a reputation for playing an exciting, fast-paced style of basketball. 

With a dedicated fan base and a tradition of excellence, the Warriors continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA.

6. Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers

Source: skysports.com

The Philadelphia 76ers, established in 1946, stand as one of the oldest basketball teams in existence. Originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they embarked on their inaugural NBA season in 1949, representing Syracuse, New York. 

However, in 1963, the team relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and adopted its current moniker, the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 76ers have had a rich history in the NBA, boasting a number of talented players and successful seasons. Throughout the years, the team has captured three NBA championships, in 1955, 1967, and 1983, leaving an indelible mark on basketball history.

Presently, the 76ers call the Wells Fargo Arena their home, where they captivate fans with their exciting brand of basketball. Joshua Harris, the current owner, has guided the team’s operations, striving for success both on and off the court.

With their storied legacy and passionate fan base, the Philadelphia 76ers remain a prominent force in the NBA, upholding the traditions of the sport while continually pursuing excellence.

7. Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks

Source: soaringdownsouth.com

The Atlanta Hawks, one of the oldest basketball teams in existence, have a rich and storied history that dates back to their founding in 1946. Originally known as the Buffalo Bisons, the team underwent several name changes over the years, including the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, the Milwaukee Hawks, and the St. Louis Hawks, before finally settling in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Hawks joined the NBA in 1949 and have since become a fixture in the league. They have experienced both highs and lows throughout their long-standing tenure.

In 1958, the team won their first and only NBA Championship while based in St. Louis, led by legendary players like Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan.

Today, the Hawks call the State Farm Arena their home, where they continue to entertain fans with their exciting brand of basketball. Under the ownership of Tony Ressler, the team has embraced a new era of growth and development.

As one of the league’s oldest franchises, the Atlanta Hawks have left an indelible mark on the basketball world and continue to represent the city of Atlanta with pride and passion.

8. Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers

Source: si.com

The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the oldest basketball teams in the NBA, traces its roots back to the year 1947 when it was founded in Minneapolis. 

Originally known as the Minneapolis Lakers, the team enjoyed success in the early years, capturing five championships in the National Basketball League (NBL) and the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which eventually merged to form the NBA.

In 1948, the Lakers made their debut in the NBA and continued their winning ways. However, it was in 1960 that the team relocated to Los Angeles, solidifying its place in basketball history. 

Since then, the Lakers have become synonymous with the vibrant city, establishing a passionate fan base and a rich tradition of success.

The Lakers currently call the Staples Center in Los Angeles their home arena, where they have delighted fans with memorable moments and thrilling victories. 

Under the ownership of the Buss Family Trusts, alongside minority owners Philip Anschutz, Edward P. Roski, and Patrick Soon-Shiong, the Lakers have remained a powerhouse in the league, boasting a storied history and a roster filled with iconic players.

With a legacy that spans over seven decades, the Los Angeles Lakers have accumulated a remarkable collection of championships and accolades, earning the respect and admiration of basketball enthusiasts worldwide. 

The team’s commitment to excellence, combined with their deep-rooted history, continues to make the Lakers an integral part of the NBA’s fabric.

9. Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards

Source: marca.com

The Washington Wizards, established in 1961, are one of the oldest basketball teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Originally known as the Chicago Packers, the team underwent several name changes before settling on the Washington Wizards. 

They were previously called the Chicago Zephyrs, Baltimore Bullets, Capital Bullets, and Washington Bullets. Since their inception, the Wizards have been a prominent fixture in the NBA, representing the capital city of the United States, Washington, D.C.

The team plays its home games at the renowned Capital One Arena, which has been their home court since 1997. 

The Wizards are owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, a company that also owns other professional sports teams in Washington, including the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.

Throughout their history, the Wizards have had their ups and downs, but they have also experienced success. They have made several playoff appearances and have had talented players don their jerseys, including the legendary Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, and Gilbert Arenas. 

The Washington Wizards continue to be a beloved and integral part of the Washington, D.C. sports community, captivating fans with their thrilling performances on the basketball court.

10. Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls

Source: tarheelswire.usatoday.com

The Chicago Bulls, one of the oldest and most iconic basketball teams in history, were founded on January 16, 1966. 

They embarked on their inaugural season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1966 and have since become a symbol of basketball excellence. Unlike many other teams, the Bulls have maintained their original name throughout their history.

Based in the vibrant city of Chicago, Illinois, the Bulls call the United Center their home arena. This renowned facility has witnessed countless electrifying moments and has become a hallowed ground for Bulls fans. 

The team has enjoyed tremendous success, largely due to the leadership of their current owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, who has played a pivotal role in the Bulls’ achievements.

The Bulls have been synonymous with greatness, largely due to the presence of basketball legends such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and coach Phil Jackson. 

They have amassed six NBA championships, all won during the 1990s, in an era that will forever be remembered as the “Jordan era.” These championship victories solidified the Bulls’ status as one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.

Over the years, the Chicago Bulls have garnered a massive fan base both locally and globally. Their red, black, and white team colors have become synonymous with basketball excellence. 

The team’s legacy continues to inspire future generations of basketball enthusiasts, making the Chicago Bulls a true pillar of the sport.


Which is the oldest basketball team in the world?

The oldest basketball team in the world is the New York Knickerbockers, commonly known as the New York Knicks. 

Founded in 1946, the Knicks were part of the inaugural season of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which later merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to form the NBA.

When was the Boston Celtics established, and what is their legacy?

The Boston Celtics were established on June 6, 1946. They have a storied history, winning a record 17 NBA championships, including a remarkable run of 11 titles from 1957 to 1969. 

The Celtics are widely regarded as one of the most successful and iconic franchises in NBA history.

What are some notable achievements of the Los Angeles Lakers?

The Los Angeles Lakers, established in 1947, has an impressive basketball legacy. They have won a total of 17 NBA championships, tying with the Boston Celtics for the most titles in NBA history. 

The Lakers have fielded legendary players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant, solidifying their status as one of the league’s premier franchises.

Tell us about the Chicago Bulls and their impact on the game.

The Chicago Bulls, founded on January 16, 1966, have played a pivotal role in shaping the NBA’s landscape. Led by basketball icon Michael Jordan, the Bulls dominated the 1990s, winning six NBA championships. 

Their success not only established them as one of the league’s elite teams but also propelled the popularity of basketball to new heights worldwide.

Are there any other notable old basketball teams worth mentioning?

Certainly! The Philadelphia 76ers (formerly Syracuse Nationals) were established in 1946 and have a rich history, including three NBA championships. The Atlanta Hawks, founded in 1946 as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, have also left an enduring legacy in the league. 

These teams, along with others like the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors, have contributed to the growth and evolution of basketball.

Wrapping Up

As we conclude our exploration of the oldest basketball teams, it becomes evident that these organizations have shaped the sport’s landscape, captivated fans, and left a lasting impact on the game. 

From the historic rivalries between the Celtics and Lakers to the awe-inspiring dominance of the Chicago Bulls, these teams have given us unforgettable moments and legendary players. 

The rich history and traditions associated with these franchises serve as a testament to their enduring legacies. As basketball continues to evolve, these teams will forever hold a special place in the hearts of fans, reminding us of the timeless allure of the game.

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Morgan Wolf

Journalist with experience covering the intersection of sports with business. Demonstrated expertise in digital, video and social media content covering major sports including soccer, NBA, NFL, MLB, tennis and Olympic sports. But basketball is his passion. Specialties: expert for sports related content management LinkedIn