What Are All Of The NBA Teams In California? (Listed & Explained!)

Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Alex PT

California has four NBA teams: the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and Sacramento Kings. These teams contribute to the state’s basketball prominence.

Four NBA Teams In California 

We’ve Made A Comprehensive List Of All The NBA Teams In California. Let’s Check Them Out! 

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Starting our list is the Los Angeles Lakers, who are a success story no matter how you look at it. Not only have they amassed a long list of accolades and successes but they have also remained relevant over the years including in more recent times. They are the most successful basketball team from California, with thirteen NBA championships since they were started in Minnesota in 1947. The Boston Celtics are the team against whom they measure their success; the two teams played each other in six NBA Finals. Since 2000, they have won five titles. 

1. First Year in NBA: 1958

2. NBA Titles: 16 (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954 – as Minneapolis Lakers, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010)

3. Franchise Highlights: Winning 16 NBA Titles – 2nd place all-time behind the Celtics

4. Notable Players: Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Jamaal Wilkes, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol

5. Notable Coaches: John Kundla, Bill Sharman, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson

2. Sacramento Kings

Although the city of Sacramento has been home to the Kings since 1985, they in fact have a storied history that stretches all the way back to their first days as the Rochester Royals. First coming into existence in 1948 and staying that way until 1957, they are most renowned for running an extremely long streak during this time and being led by Hall of Fame guard Oscar Robertson. The team moved to Kansas City after that stretch and was known as the Kansas City-Omaha Kings from 1973 until 1985 until they eventually were named only the Kansas City Kings from then on up to the present day. Sacramento has not won a championship since 1951 and has had losing records since then. Their rebuilding seasons have been going on since the team’s arrival in 1985, with an overall record of 995-799.

1. First Year in NBA: 1985

2. NBA Titles: 0

3. Franchise Highlights: Took Lakers to 7 games in 2002 Western Conference Finals

4. Notable Players: Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, DeMarcus Cousins

5. Notable Coaches: None

3. Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers are a professional basketball team based in the city of the same name. The Clippers, alongside the Los Angeles Lakers, are one of only two professional basketball teams that call Los Angeles home; they have been here since 1984 having moved from their previous location in San Diego. Over their 34 years in Los Angeles, they have played more seasons than any other team in the region but have never made it to the Western Conference Championship game as they have always found themselves suffering either a first or second-round exit during every playoff year.

1. First Year in NBA: 1984

2. NBA Titles: 0

3. Franchise Highlights: Reaching three Western Conference Semifinals (2012, 2014, 2015)

4. Notable Players: Bob McAdoo, Elton Brand, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

5. Notable Coaches: Larry Brown, Bill Fitch, Doc Rivers

4. Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have struggled to find playoff success, but some bright spots from the past show just how good the team can be. The Warriors won consecutive championships in 1975 and ’76 led by star big man Rick Barry. Despite their success, those were the only two times the Warriors tasted playoff victory until 2015. Amid their post-season drought, Golden State was buoyed by several star players including Stephen Curry who emerged as a superstar in 2009.

1. First Year in NBA: 1962

2. NBA Titles: 6 (1947 & 1956 – as Philadelphia Warriors, 1975, 2015, 2017, 2018)

3. Franchise Highlights: Winning 6 NBA Titles, 2016: Broke NBA regular-season win total (73)

4. Notable Players: Nate Thurmond, “Tiny” Archibald, Rick Barry, Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant

5. Notable Coaches: Don Nelson, Steve Kerr

Did Any NBA Franchises Move To California?

All teams from the National Basketball Association that are currently situated in California started out somewhere else. The Lakers relocated to Los Angeles from Minneapolis, the Warriors transitioned from Philadelphia to Oakland, and both the Sacramento Kings and the Clippers migrated from cities called Rochester. Not only is California home to more than a dozen teams, but is so for a variety of reasons: ranging from business opportunity to relocation based on climate preferences. Today, roughly comprising 13 percent of NBA teams in its own right, we recall where each team has resided before arriving in California. 

When it comes to relocating a team across state lines twice – as the Sacramento Kings later did – you’re likely up there with some of America’s most popular sports franchises concerning frequency! The L.A. Lakers have won the most regular and postseason championships of any NBA franchise, with a combined total of 32 titles and counting in both categories. The Warriors relocated to Oakland, California from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania twenty-eight years after the Lakers relocated to Los Angeles, California. Since making their move to California, the Warriors have won 12 of their own 28 overall titles as a franchise. The Clippers were established in 1970, two years after the team known now as the Kings came into existence themselves; their first season was also the same year that both teams officially moved to California.

Did NBA Teams In California Have Different Names In The Past?

Yes, some of the NBA teams in California have had different names in the past.

Golden State Warriors

  • Philadelphia Warriors (1946-1962)
  • San Francisco Warriors (1962-1971)

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Buffalo Braves (1970-1978)
  • San Diego Clippers (1978-1984)

Sacramento Kings

  • Rochester Royals (1945-1957)
  • Cincinnati Royals (1957-1972)
  • Kansas City-Omaha Kings (1972-1975)
  • Kansas City Kings (1975-1985)

The Warriors and Clippers were both founded in other cities before moving to California. The Warriors were founded in Philadelphia in 1946 and moved to San Francisco in 1962. The Clippers were founded in Buffalo in 1970 and moved to San Diego in 1978 before moving to Los Angeles in 1984.

The Kings have had the most name changes of any NBA team in California. They were originally founded as the Rochester Royals in 1945 and moved to Cincinnati in 1957. They then moved to Kansas City in 1972 and added “Omaha” to their name for the next three seasons. In 1975, they dropped “Omaha” from their name and became known simply as the Kansas City Kings. They moved to Sacramento in 1985 and have been the Sacramento Kings ever since.

Final Word – Wrapping Up! 

Basketball in California is clearly a hot topic. Organizations have been relocating for years, but it was not always like this. There was a time (35 years to be exact) between 1967–2002 when the NBA did not have four teams located in California. In the eyes of many people, those four teams are credited with helping to shape the game’s identity today. No matter what challenges these four organizations may face, they continue to help change the way basketball is televised and enjoyed today due to new technologies and new generations of fans year after year. It would be hard to imagine how things would be without California basketball!



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