The Dumbest Team Names In Professional Sports
The recent hullabaloo over the Utah Jazz (and their ensuing snubbing in the NBA All-Star Draft) lead me to consider something I have often in the past. Why the hell did they keep the name Jazz after moving from New Orleans (YES) to Salt Lake City (NOOOOOO). It would have been so easy to rename the team something more relevant like Real Salt Lake (just kidding, that is also stupid). To this day, we are all left to wonder, although the more time has gone on, the less weird it seems. At this point it sort of feels like they were always supposed to be the Jazz, and it made sense, just because I get flashbacks of Malone and Stockton picking and rolling everyone to death. When you really stop, and think about it though, it is really bizarre. So lets take it though a top 10. What are the ten most non-sensical names in professional sports (let’s do baseball, basketball, football and hockey). I’m going to skip the growing MLS, because so many of their team names are stupid re-treads of European names that it deserves it’s own list. Even when they don’t retread the names are dumb… looking at you Los Angeles Galaxy. Let’s also ignore the indigenous peoples names that are so controversial, especially since most of them are going away anyway.
Utah Jazz: This one has always seemed the most insane to me. Jazz is music of a very particular era, in a very particular place, by a very particular group of people. None of which exist in Utah in 2021. I’m kidding, there are probably some black people up there (I know for a fact they have several on their basketball team). Jazz is basically the antithesis of Utah. It is black, free flowing, loose and improvisational at its best. Meanwhile, Utah is notoriously older, whiter, conservative and fixed in place by numerous mountains.
Possible new name: Utah Snowblowers
Los Angeles Angels: Welcome to the Los Angeles Division of our rankings where we are about to discover that no one in LA can successfully name a sports team. This one is a little too easy. Los Angeles Angels is just The Angels Angels in English. So either there is now a SECOND angel in the outfield, this is somehow a sort of who’s who or man’s man of angels or they just should have stuck with Anaheim at the beginning.
Possible new name: Los Angeles Demons
Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers carried their team name, much like the Jazz, from a region that was known for lakes. 10,000 of them to be exact. Minneapolis has quite a bit of pride built up in their pock-marked landscape, but instead of getting their name back when expansion happened, they are stuck with Timberwolves (not the worst thing ever, if it weren’t totally cursed). Meanwhile, the Lakers, kind of like the Jazz, have had so much success with the name, they can’t really give it up at this point. Still, I have been to LA, and finding a non-reservoir lake is almost as hard as finding drinking water from a tap you’d want.
Possible new name: Los Angeles Centers
Minnesota Wild: What the hell does that mean? Can you even pluralize that? Minnesota lost it’s original hockey team (a common theme for poor MPLS), the North Stars, and was forced to re-enter the league and pick a new name, after their previous name was kept by the Dallas Stars (who wisely dropped the North). North Stars was a cool name, but with that off the table, things got… wild. So they are just, what, a difficult part of nature? Are they wild? Why are they always so bad if they are so wild? That movie about them with the Wilderpeople was ok I guess. Love Taika Waititi.
New name: Minnesota Timberwolves 2: The New Pack
Buffalo Bills: This team was named after Buffalo Bill Cody and I am just going to stop there. Why? He was not really known for being from Buffalo. He was known for shooting Buffalo. Beyond that, Buffalo most likely never even had Buffalo, and if they did, it was so long ago no American living or dead remembers it. Also, Buffalo Bill is singular. Does this imply some sort of early American cloning science? I, for one, am really hoping they change their logo from a Buffalo to 100 dollar bills so fans can pretend to “make it rain” with “Benjamins” every week while it snows.
Possible new team name: Lackawanna Lake Effect
Anaheim Ducks: In the most uncomfortable corporate synergy in my lifetime, the Anaheim Ducks were originally an expansion franchise, owned by the company (Disney) that made a movie about a hockey team NAMED the Mighty Ducks which clearly needed more marketing. Since Disney has left, the Mighty has been removed, and the team managed to win a solitary Stanley Cup, so they at least have some legitimacy. Still, it is hard to separate the idea of a hockey team being some sort of global branding expansion from the current iteration that finishes last every year, since they still have the Ducks name. Beyond that, LA/Anaheim isn’t known for its majestic ducks or anything. It’s definitely not known for it’s team names.
Possible new team name: Anaheim Angels
Boston Celtics: This is on here solely because for the entirety of their run, they have mispronounced the word Celtic, despite it being logistically used to honor the people who were originally the most hated in Boston. Given how Irish Boston eventually became, I find it totally befuddling that this was never corrected. This would be like a team using a Native American name but not actually honoring native heritage to the point of it being disrespectful. Totally befuddling I say.
Possible new team name: Boston Keltics
Los Angeles Clippers: Another case of a team on the move, the Clippers were originally from San Diego, a famous port, and kept the name Clippers on their ill-fated trek to Los Angeles. The name Clippers isn’t that great, as it connotes a ship (not exactly synonymous with the up and down, athletic, versatile, quick twitch game), not something interesting. Worst of all, this was created by Donald Sterling, a human refuse pile whose racism and vileness knows no bounds. It’s probably time to hang up the sails (wait that doesn’t work) on this one.
Possible new team name: Los Angeles’ Other Basketball Team
Cleveland Browns: I know scatological jokes aren’t the height of comedy, but given this team’s history up until (checks notes) last year, all this makes me think of is a poop. Brown is not much of a color. It lacks the poetry of a rainbow, or the toughness of your blacks and grays. Of course, the team wasn’t named after the COLOR Brown, but original coach Paul Brown. This makes a tiny bit of sense, since they were playing for him, but as soon as he left, they stopped being Brown’s… and that is especially true with Brown because he became the owner of an equally awful team in the SAME STATE. It would have been okay for them to move on when they re-joined the league after the evil Art Modell left town, but nope, like a dog returning to its… something… Let’s just say there is a reason Art left the Brown in Cleveland.
Possible new team name: Cleveland Rocks
Tie Orlando Magic/Miami Heat: These two NBA expansion franchises both came into the league at the same time with the same stupid idea. Let’s name our team after abstract things that aren’t capable of being pluralized. I went back and forth here to try to figure out which was worse, and it was pretty much impossible. The Heat forces fans to root for a horrible natural thing that kills people (similar to other brilliant names like Hurricanes… also a Miami special). Meanwhile Magic is such an overtly obvious nod to corporate Orlando behemoth Disney (who now sponsor the jersey) that it might just as well have been the Ducks story. Let’s just agree whichever one you think is worse is definitely worse.
Possible new team names: Orlando Families and Miami Tsunami