The National Basketball Association features only the best teams on earth, filled with world-class players and competitiveness. But what also makes this sport so popular are the diehard and loyal fans, those who stay with their franchises through thick and thin.
Needless to say, some teams are easier to root for than others, as they've been used to performing at a high level and dominating the rest of the league. That's why today, based on the numbers shown on Facebook, we made this ranking of the 25 teams with most fans in the NBA.
25. Detroit Pistons
Fans: 1.8 million
City: Detroit, MI
Founded: 1941 (as Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons)
The Pistons were not always located in Detroit. In fact, the team was founded in 1941 as the Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons, in Indiana. As a member of the National Basketball League, it won two NBL championships, and in 1948 joined Basketball Association of America.
In 1949, the Pistons became parted of the NBA, the merged league, and it wasn’t until 1957 that the franchise moved to Detroit. The team is a member of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Central Division and plays its home games at the Little Caesars Arena.
24. Memphis Grizzlies
Fans: 1.8 million
City: Memphis, TN
Founded: 1995 (as Vancouver Grizzlies)
The team was originally founded as the Vancouver Grizzlies and joined the NBA in the 1995/1996 season as an expansion team. It wasn’t after the 2000/2001 concluded that the Grizzlies moved to Memphis to become the NBA’s Western Conference Southwest Division team we know today.
An interesting thing about the Grizzlies is that they are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the city of Memphis and the only professional basketball team in the state of Tennessee.
23. Utah Jazz
Fans: 1.8 million
City: Salt Lake City, UT
Founded: 1974 (as New Orleans Jazz)
The team was founded in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz, as a tribute to New Orleans’ history of originating jazz music. Five years later, the team moved to Salt Lake City, and has been playing its home games at Vivint Smart Home Arena since 1991.
During the late 1980’s, the Jazz had one of the most famed point guard-power forward duos in NBA history with John Stockton and Karl Malone, led by coach Jerry Sloan. They reached two NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, but they lost both of them against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
22. Milwaukee Bucks
Fans: 1.8 million
City: Milwaukee, WI
The Bucks were founded as an expansion team in 1968 and former US Senator Herb Kohl was their long-time owner until 2016, when a group led by billionaire hedge fund managers Wes Edens and Marc Lasry agreed to purchase a majority interest in the team from Kohl.
Since its foundation, the team has featured many notable players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and Ray Allen, among others. Today, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the big star of the team and one of the most talented players in the NBA.
21. Phoenix Suns
Fans: 1.9 million
City: Phoenix, AZ
The Suns joined the NBA in the 1968/1969 season and were the first major professional sports franchise in the Phoenix market and the entire state of Arizona. The team plays its home games at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Charles Barkley and Steve Nash won the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award while playing for the team, becoming two of the most well-known stars in the history of the team.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
Fans: 1.9 million
City: Minneapolis, MN
The Wolves struggled in their early years after their foundation in 1989, but with the acquisition of Kevin Garnet, the team became more competitive. In 2004, they advanced to the Western Conference Finals and Garnet was named MVP of the season.
The team entered in a rebuilding mode for more than a decade and it finally ended a 14-year playoff drought when reached the postseason in 2018.
19. Denver Nuggets
Fans: 2 million
City: Denver, CO
Founded: 1967 (as Denver Larks)
Founded in 1967 as a charter franchise called Denver Larks, the team changed its name to Rockets before its first season in the American Basketball Association (ABA). It finally changed its name (again) to Nuggets in 1974.
The franchise joined the NBA in 1976 after the ABA-NBA merger and qualified many times to the playoffs, but it has not reached a championship round since its last season in the ABA. Today, the team shares the Pepsi Center with the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (NLL).
18. Portland Trail Blazers
Fans: 2.5 million
City: Portland, OR
The Blazers used to play their home games in the Memorial Coliseum before moving to Moda Center in 1995, which was called the Rose Garden until 2013. From 1977 through 1995, the team sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American major professional sports at the time, and only since surpassing by the Boston Red Sox.
Since their foundation, six Hall of Fame players have played for the Trail Balzers: Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Drazen Petrovic, Arvydas Sabonis and Scottie Pippen.
17. Toronto Raptors
Fans: 2.7 million
City: Toronto, ON
The Raptors have been the only Canadian-based team in the league since the 2001/2002 season, as the Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver to Memphis. The team plays its home games at the Scotiabank Arena, which it shares with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL).
In the 2019 playoffs, with Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Marc Gasol, the Raptors won their first Eastern Conference title and their first NBA championship by beating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
16. Brooklyn Nets
Fans: 2.7 million
City: Brookyln, NY
Founded: 1967 (as New Jersey Americans)
The team was founded in 1967 as a charter franchise of the NBA’s rival league, the American Basketball Association (ABA). During its first season, it played in New Jersey as the New Jersey Americans. In 1968, the team was relocated to Long Island, New York, and changed its name to New York Nets.
The Nets were absorbed into the NBA in 1976 and played as the New Jersey Nets from 1977 to 2012. In the summer of 2012, the team moved to Barclays Center and changed its name to the Brooklyn Nets.
15. Orlando Magic
Fans: 2.7 million
City: Orlando, FL
The Magic have been the second most successful of the four expansion teams brought into the NBA in 1988 and 1989 in terms of winning percentage, only after the Miami Heat.
Since their foundation in 1989, many notable NBA stars have played for the team: Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Dominique Wilkins and Hedo Turkoglu.
14. Indiana Pacers
Fans: 3.2 million
City: Indianapolis, IN
The teams became a member of the American Basketball Association (ABA) after its foundation in 1967. It wasn’t until the ABA-NBA merger that the Pacers joined the NBA in 1976.
Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Alex English, Mel Daniels, Roger Brown and George McGinnis are six Hall of Fame players that played for the Pacers for multiple seasons. The team is named after Indiana’s history with the Indianapolis 500’s pace cars and with the harness racing industry.
13. Los Angeles Clippers
Fans: 3.8 million
City: Los Angeles, CA
Founded: 1970 (as Buffalo Braves)
The team was founded in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves and joined the NBA that year, along with Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers. In 1978, the franchise moved to California and was renamed as the San Diego Clippers.
Six years later, the team was controversially relocated to Los Angeles without the approval of the NBA. The Clippers were ultimately permitted to remain in the city and have been known as the Los Angeles Clippers since then.
12. Dallas Mavericks
Fans: 4.4 million
City: Dallas, TX
The Mavericks set the NBA’s consecutive sellout streak record in February 2020, edging the Portland Trail Blazers from the top spot. Dallas has sold out 815 consecutive regular-season and playoffs games combined from December 15, 2001, to February 12, 2020.
All-Stars Rolando Blackman and Mark Aguirre led the team during the 1980s, but it wasn’t until Dirk Nowitzki became the leader during the most successful period in the franchise history, helping the team winning its first NBA championship in 2011.
11. New York Knicks
Fans: 5.9 million
City: New York, NY
The Knicks play their home games at the Madison Square Garden, which they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Alongside the Boston Celtics, they are one of two original NBA teams still located in their original city.
The team was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which became the NBA after merging with the rival National Basketball League (NBL) in 1949. It’s one of two NBA teams located in New York City, along with Brooklyn Nets.
10. San Antonio Spurs
Fans: 7 million
City: San Antonio, TX
Founded: 1967 (as Dallas Chaparrals)
The team is one of four former American Basketball Association (ABA) franchises to remain intact in the NBA after the 1976 ABA-NBA merger. Also, it’s the only former ABA team to have won an NBA championship.
It was founded in 1967 as the Dallas Chaparrals and changed its name to Texas Chaparrals in the 1970/1971 season in order to become a regional team. In 1973, the franchise moved to San Antonio and changed its name to the Spurs.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder
Fans: 7 million
City: Oklahoma City, OK
Founded: 1967 (as Seattle SuperSonics)
The team was founded as the Seattle SuperSonics and joined the NBA in the 1967/1968 season. In 2008, the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and their name changed to Thunder for the 2008/2009 season.
Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins are some of the notable NBA players who have played for the team since it moved to Oklahoma City.
8. Sacramento Kings
Fans: 7.5 millions
City: Sacramento, CA
Founded: 1923 (as Rochester Seagrams)
As the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues located in Sacramento, the Kings play their home games at the Golden 1 Center.
The team was founded in 1923 as the Rochester Seagrams, a semiprofessional team in New York. It joined the National Basketball League (NBL) in 1945 with the name of Rochester Royals and was relocated to Cincinnati in 1957, becoming the Cincinnati Royals. After moving to Missouri in 1972, it changed its name again to Kansas City-Omaha Kings, and in 1977 simply became the Kansas City Kings. It wasn’t until 1985 that the franchise was relocated in Sacramento and changed its name to the Sacramento Kings.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers
Fans: 8.6 million
City: Cleveland, OH
The franchise joined the league as an expansion team in 1970, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Buffalo Braves. Since 1994, the Cavaliers have played their home games at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which they share with the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League.
After LeBron James joined Miami, the Cavs finished last in the 2010/2011 season and endured a 26-game losing streak, the longest in NBA history for a single season and second overall. With James’ return in 2014, the team advanced to four straight NBA Finals and won the NBA championship in 2016.
6. Boston Celtics
Fans: 9 million
City: Boston, MA
The Celtics was founded in 1946 as one of the league’s original eight teams. They are one of the two original teams still located in their original city, alongside the New York Knicks.
They are the most successful basketball team in NBA history, winning most championships in the NBA with 17. They also hold the record for most recorded wins of any NBA team.
5. Golden State Warriors
Fans: 12 million
City: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 1946 (as Philadelphia Warriors)
The team was founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, and then it was relocated to the San Francisco Bay Arena in 1962 and took the city’s name. It finally became the Golden State Warriors in 1971.
In 2015, the franchise returned to championship glory with a team led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors also won the 2017 and 2018 championships with Kevin Durant in the squad.
4. Houston Rockets
Fans: 13 million
City: Houston, TX
Founded: 1967 (as San Diego Rockets)
The team was founded in 1967 as the San Diego Rockets and moved to Houston in 1971. The Rockets won the 1994 NBA Finals with Hakeem Olajuwon as their star player and then the 1995 Finals with the reinforcement of Clyde Drexler.
Moses Malone, James Harden and Olajuwon have been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player while they were playing for the Houston Rockets.
3. Miami Heat
Fans: 15 million
City: Miami, FL
The Heat joined the league in the 1988/1989 season as an expansion team. It wasn’t until former head coach Pat Riley was appointed as the team’s president during the 1990s that the Heat became playoff contenders.
In 2006, the team won its first NBA Championship with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal, with Riley as head coach. Four years later, Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh created the “Big Three” and led the Heat to four straight NBA Finals, winning the 2012 and 2013 editions.
2. Chicago Bulls
Fans: 18 million
City: Chicago, IL
The team saw its greatest success during the 1990s. Not a big surprise, right? Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson led the Bulls to six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998.
The Bulls are the only NBA franchise to win multiple championships while never losing an NBA Finals series in their history. Their success played a major part in popularizing the NBA worldwide.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Fans: 22 million
City: Los Angeles, CA
Founded: 1947 (as Detroit Gems)
The team began its existence in 1947 with the purchase of the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League (NBL). The franchise moved to Minneapolis and changed its name to Minneapolis Lakers. After struggling financially, the Lakers were relocated in Los Angeles before the 1960/1961 season.
They are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA with 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics. Some of the greatest NBA players ever have played for the Lakers, such as Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.