Top 13 Oldest NBA Teams In The World

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NBA is one of the major professional basketball leagues in Northern America, with 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada). The league changed its name when it was merged with a rival league, the National Basketball League

The NBA has been in action since 1946. However, some teams were established way ahead of that time. Hence, let’s discuss the oldest NBA teams in the world.

The NBA was formed when the National Basketball League (NBL) and Basketball American Association (BAA) joined forces.

Before this time, each league was different and hosted different franchises. Of all these teams that played in both the company, very few have made it into the NBA.

Philadelphia Warriors As The Oldest NBA Team
Oldest NBA Teams (Source:

Further, preserving something for a long time and building its culture is tough. Something as operational as a team is much more complex than any other entity.

Hence, without wasting time, let us know how these teams survived for a long time.

The teams mentioned below are assembled based on their foundation period. In addition, they are also created based on the longevity of the National Basketball Association.

Most of them are collected from,, and

Further, before hopping into the details about the top 13 oldest NBA teams globally, let us quickly view the names in the list.

Quick View

Team Name
Year Founded Current Location
13. Phoenix Suns 1968 Phoenix, Arizona
12. Oklahoma City Thunder 1967 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
11. Houston Rockets 1967 Huston, Texas
10. Chicago Bulls 1966 Chicago, Illinois
9. Washington Wizards 1961 Washington, D.C.
8. Los Angeles Lakers 1947 Los Angeles, Lakers
7. Atlanta Hawks 1946 Atlanta, Georgia
6. Philadelphia 76rs 1446 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5. Golden State Warriors 1946 San Francisco, California
4. New York Knicks 1946 New York City, New York
3. Boston Celtics 1946 Boston, Massachusetts
2. Detroit Pistons 1941 Detroit, Michigan
1. Sacramento Kings 1923 Sacramento, California

Top 13 Oldest NBA Teams In The World

13. Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball NBA team that competes in the NBA as a member of the Western Conference Pacific division. They have been in the league long enough to be known as one of the oldest NBA teams.

Further,  they are the only team in their division that isn’t based in California. The rest of the four NBA teams are all based in California. Aside from that, Phoenix has not won championships in over 50 years of playing in the league.

The Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers are the only two teams in their division not to win a single championship since they played their first season in the NBA.

Nevertheless, the Suns were close to winning the titles various times. To elaborate, they have won three conference titles (1976, 1993, 2021) and eight division titles(1981, 1993, 1995, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2021, 2022).

Oldest NBA Teams, Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns Logo (Source:

Due to the franchise failing to capture the NBA championships, they have gone into various rebuilding.

They have had various Hall of Fame plays throughout the team’s existence. In total, they have had eleven Hall of Famers play for them.

Only Charles Barkley and Steve Nash have won an NBA Most Valuable Player award out of the eleven Hall of Famers.

The franchise has an up-and-coming trio of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Chris Paul playing for them.

Hopefully, they can deliver the Suns with their first NBA championship.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder is a western conference team that plays for the Northwest division. Further, they are the only major professional sports team located in Oklahoma.

Aside from that, they were previously known to be the Seattle SuperSonics from 1967 to 2008. SuperSonics was established in Seattle, Washington.

The transformation of Seattle SuperSonics to OKC happened in 2008 following the ownership change. In Seattle, the team won one NBA championship in 1979.

Moreover, the 1979 title was the last and the first NBA championship for SuperSonics. Ironically, that title might also be OKC’s last and first NBA championship.

Thunder OKC, NBA
Oklahoma City Thunder As Oldest NBA Team (Source: Wikipedia)

However, the franchise nearly changed this scenario when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook played for them.

Likewise, they also went to the 2011-12 NBA Finals, the first appearance since 1996. Nevertheless, the LeBron-led Heat beat them in the finals to claim their second title.

Currently, the team is in the mid of rebuilding its young core. Over the next five years, the franchise has an overwhelming 37 draft picks with multiple trades.

The draft picks contain 19 first-rounder and 18 second-round draft picks. Hence, OKC is looking into building a championship-caliber team in the long term.

11. Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets are a western conference team that plays for the Southwest Division. They were known as the San Diego Rockets, based in San Diego.

However, in 1971 the franchise relocated to Huston under the ownership of Tilman Fertitta. Despite being one of the oldest NBA teams in the league, they haven’t had much success.

In total, they have won two NBA championships. Similarly, both titles came before the relocation of the franchise to Huston.

Nevertheless, the team has won four conference titles and eight divisional titles. Besides that, they never had any major success with their star players.

Rockets Of The NBA
Houston Rockets Logo (Source:

They have drafted great players such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone, Yoa Ming, etc. However, each time they failed to make an impact.

With the rebuilding, they did land some good franchise players. Huston could never overcome great teams like the Lakers or Warriors.

They even messed up with James Harden, who showed signs of being a great franchise player.

10. Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls are an Eastern conference that plays for the Central Division. The Bulls entered the big market during the Michael Jordan era.

During that time, the Bulls won six NBA championships. Besides that, the franchise has six conferences and nine divisional titles.

Teams like the Bulls don’t shine in the market led by mega teams like Boston or the Lakers. However, the franchise became a leading NBA team due to Jordan.

Nevertheless, the team hasn’t been the same years after Jordan’s year. They drafted Derrick Rose, who instantly rose to fame and carried the team to a good playoff run.

Oldest Team Of NBA, Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls, As The Oldest Team (Source: Wikipedia)

Despite his best efforts, injuries toned him down. However, the team has outdone itself in rebuilding time and time again.

History is proof that the Bulls are great at rebuilding. Zach Lavine, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso have been tearing the Eastern Conference.

Similarly, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng made a perfect team that gave LeBron-led Heat a very tough time.

Everyone knows about the great partnership between Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman.

9. Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards are an Eastern conference that plays for the Central Division. Out of all the oldest NBA Teams, they have been relocated multiple times.

Similarly, the franchise has undergone multiple name changes over the year. The team was established as the Chicago Packers in 1961.

However, their name changed in the following season to the Chicago Zephyrs. Further, after two years, the franchise relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, as the Baltimore Bullets. 

The team moved to Washington as the Capital Bullets ten years after relocating to Baltimore. The team again underwent another name change, the Washington Bullets.

Oldest NBA Teams
Washington Wizards Logo (Source:

Furthermore, after four years, they rebranded as the Washinton Wizards. Ever since they became the Wizards, they have stuck with the name.

They only won one NBA title during this franchise change as the Washington Bullets. Likewise, they have been in the NBA Finals four times in their rich franchise history.

Moreover, they never had any player who won the league’s MVP award. Despite that, they have stuck long enough to be recognized as one of its oldest NBA teams.

8. Los Angeles Lakers

One of the most decorated teams in the NBA is the Los Angeles Lakers. They are one of two teams with the highest number of NBA championships, with seventeen titles.

As a result, along with being one of the oldest NBA teams, they are also one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA.

Many NBA players mention playing for the Lakers is the real American dream. Therefore, there is a huge list of great players playing on this team.

Further, the team was established after purchasing a disbanded National Basketball League team, the Detroit Gems. 

Los Angeles Lakers As The Oldest Team Of NBA
Los Angeles Lakers American Basketball Team (Source: Wikipedia)

As a result, they were named the Minneapolis Lakers, located in Minnesota. The team with great plays instantly had major success.

The mid-90s were about the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Lakers. Both teams had an amazing set of players that helped them win championships in different eras.

Players such as Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul- Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and many more.

Most of these players help create the nickname “Showtime Lakers.” They were so good that it was hard to imagine anyone else winning the title except them.

7. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks are an Eastern Conference team that plays for the Southeast Division. Initially, the team was established as the Buffalo Bisons in 1946 in New York.

Further, after 38 days of playing as the Bisons, they relocated to Moline, Illinois. Likewise, they rebranded as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks.

After merging NBL and BAA to form the NBA, they moved to Milwaukee and became the Milwaukee Hawks.

The franchise again relocated to St. Louis as the St. Louis Hawks. The team won one championship and went to the NBA Finals three seasons during this period.

Atlanta Hawks Is The Eastern Conference Southeast Division
Atlanta Hawks Was Established In 1946 (Source: Wikipedia)

After the owners sold the team to Thomas Cousins, they moved to Atlanta to become the Atlanta Hawks.

Furthermore, the Hawks as the second team to have the longest drought of not winning an NBA title. It has been over 63 seasons since they last won a championship.

However, the All-Star point guard Trae Young took the team to the Eastern Conference Finals in his second season. 

Nevertheless, Giannis-led Bucks were too much to handle for the young Hawk’s team.

6. Philadelphia 76rs

The Philadelphia 76rs are an Eastern Conference team that plays for the Atlantic Division. Primarily they were established as the Syracuse Nationals.

Further, the franchise is one of the oldest NBA teams that survive the league’s first decade. As a result, the 76rs have had a rich history of Hall of Famers playing for them, like Wilt Chamberlain, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Bobby Jones, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, George McGinnis, and Allen Iverson.

Besides that, the franchise has won three NBA titles, all in the mid-90s. Similarly, they have five conferences and twelve divisional titles.

Oldest NBA Teams
Philadelphia 76ers Is One Of The Oldest Teams In NBA (Source: Wikipedia)

Having only three championships is a harsh reality for a team in the league for so long.

Most players look for better pay or bigger teams in the market. Hence, various players dream of playing for the Lakers or the Knicks.

Keeping a drafted player for long seems impossible in such a thought competition. However, the franchise has now hardly committed itself to Joel Embiid.

Embed also wants to work things with the team for a long time. Also, the trade for James Harden has uplifted the teams’ offensive games.

5. Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are an Eastern Conference team that plays for the Pacific Division. They were previously known as the Philadelphia Warriors.

After twenty years, the team moved to San Francisco and became the San Francisco Warriors. Later the team changed the name on the geographic moniker to Golden State.

Initially, they used to play for the Basketball Association of America (BAA). During this time, they won two championships in 1947 and 1956.

GSW Logo
Golden State Warriors Logo (Source:

As the Golden State Warriors, the team won four titles in 1975, 2015, 2017, and 2018. The later phase of success happened due to the trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant.

The team is having a great regular season under the league’s best three-point shooter Steph Curry.

However, they lack the firepower to make the push for the playoffs. Undoubtedly, a good team addition will set them back at the top.

4. New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are an Eastern Conference team that plays for the Atlantic Division. Knicks is the short form for Knickerbockers.

As a result, the New York Knicks is just a shortened and more common name for the New York Knickerbockers.

Further, along with Boston, they are the only NBA teams that have never relocated in the year. Hence, the Knicks are a huge team in the basketball market.

Knicks Logo
New York Knicks logo (Source:

Likewise, the team plays its game in the great Madison Square Garden. Due to the rich history of events in this arena, MSG is one of the world’s most famous arenas.

As a result, many players perform great while playing in MSG. Besides, the team has won only two NBA championships through decades of operation.

Despite having a huge fan base, the team hasn’t been able to use star power in their favor.

3. Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are one of the most successful teams in the league and one of the oldest NBA teams.

Similarly, they are one of two teams in the NBA still in its original city. Also, they are one of two teams to win the highest number of NBA titles, with seventeen.

Further, they were founded in 1946 as one of eight NBA original teams. Due to the market Celtics being huge and having great players play for them, they had major success.

Boston's NBA Logo
Boston Celtics Logo (Source:

Until the mid-90s, the Celtics ruled the Eastern Conference. Players like Bill Russell helped set the tone for the franchise by winning eleven NBA titles.

Similarly, they are the only NBA team with the most recorded win in history. Moreover, the franchise is known for its rivalry with the Lakers.

Mainly when Larry Bird used to play for the Celtics and Magic Johnson for the Lakers; both teams have played each other twelve times in the NBA Finals.

2. Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are an Eastern Conference team that plays for the Central Division. Initially, the team was founded in Fort Wayne.

As a result, they were recognized as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons in 1937. Ten years later, they renamed their team the Fort Wayne Pistons.

Likewise, after joining the NBA in 1957, they relocated to Detroit and became the Detroit Pistons. Previously, they played for the BAA, where they won two championships.

Oldest NBA Teams
Detroit Pistons Logo (Source:

Further, as a part of the NBA, they have won only one NBA title in 2004. Point guard Chauncey Billups led the team.

The Pistons faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals. The Lakers were the favorites to win, but the Positions offered more than just an offensive game.

Their defense was on top of the world. Therefore, they never let opponents have an easy bucket while playing them.

1. Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings are a Western Conference team that plays for the Pacific Division. All the members of the Pacific Division are ranked amongst one of the oldest NBA teams.

Initially, they were set up as the Rochester Seagrams in 1923. Ten years later, the name was changed to the Rochester Eber Seagrams.

Similarly, they were again named the Rochester Pros, then Rochester Royals, Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City Kings, and Sacramento Kings.

Kings Logo
Sacramento Kings Logo (Source:

After joining the NBL in 1945, they won their first and only NBA championships. Further, they are the only team that hasn’t won a title in over 70 years.

As a result, they are the team with the highest NBA championship drought. Right behind them are the Atlanta Hawks.

Moreover, the team has failed in every aspect of rebuilding. It has been a very long since the team has produced any league’s MVP or Hall of Famer.


The teams mentioned above are the oldest NBA teams of them all. They existed before the NBA was even formed, before the three-point line was invented.

Moreover, let’s appreciate these teams for entertaining the viewers for multiple decades. Without these franchises, the NBA wouldn’t be what it is today.

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