Who were the first NBA basketball teams?

The NBA began in 1946-47 when it was still the BAA (Basketball Association of America). It changed it's name before the 1949-50 season to the NBA (National Basketball Association). The 11 teams that played in that first season that started it all in 1946-47 were:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Chicago Stags (folded 1949, replaced by Bulls in 1966)
  • Cleveland Rebels (folded in 1947, replaced by Cavaliers in 1970)
  • Detroit Falcons (folded in 1947. The Fort Wayne Pistons moved to Detroit in 1957)
  • New York Knickerbockers (Knicks)
  • Philadelphia Warriors (Moved to San Francisco in 1962, later changed name to Golden State Warriors; Syracuse Nationals moved to Philadelphia in 1963 to become 76ers)
  • Pittsburgh Ironmen (folded 1947)
  • Providence Steam Rollers (folded 1949)
  • St. Louis Bombers (folded 1949)
  • Toronto Huskies (folded 1947, replaced by Raptors in 1993)
  • Washington Capitals (folded, 1949, replaced by the Bullets/Wizards, that started in 1961 as a new Chicago Stags, became Baltimore Bullets (1963) before moving to Washington in 1973)

The first official NBA season, 1948-49, added

  • Minneapolis Lakers (moved to Los Angeles in 1960)
  • Rochester Royals (moved first to Cincinnati then Kansas City and eventually to Sacramento in 1985 and renamed the Kings)
  • Fort Wayne Pistons (moved to Detroit in 1957)

The Syracuse Nationals (eventual 76ers) and Buffalo Bisons (eventual Atlanta Hawks) started in a rival league, the NBL in 1946. The Nationals moved to the NBA in 1949, before moving to Philadelphia in 1963. The Bisons has a series of moves before settling in Milwaukee, St. Louis and eventually Atlanta.

Boston Celtics, Philadelphia (now Golden State) Warriors and New York Knicks are the 3 oldest franchises in the NBA, followed by the Lakers, Pistons and Kings. The Celtics hold the most championships won (17 of them), followed by Lakers, Bulls and Spurs.