Trivia: Original 4 West-of-the-Mississippi NBA Teams
Two years after Charlotte, N.C., was granted an expansion franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats played their first regular-season NBA game on Nov. 4, 2004. In doing so, they officially became the league's 30th team, the 17th east of the Mississippi River.
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Seventeen years later, the NBA hasn't expanded again and the only relocation–Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008–didn't change the east-west balance. A majority of the league's teams still reside east of the Mississippi, and barring a dramatic change in geographical landscape, that won't change in the coming decades, if ever.
The NBA, and its predecessors, the NBL and BAA, have always leaned east. And in the NBA's first season, 1949-50 after the BAA absorbed the NBL to create the NBA, only four of 17 teams were located west of the Mississippi.
Do you know any of the four original west-of-the-Mississippi teams?
One team folded and another changed leagues (and their name) after one season. Another folded after two seasons, and another relocated in 1960.
Denver Nuggets: The original Denver Nuggets moved to the NPBL in 1950 and became the Denver Refiners, though that lasted only one season. They folded a year later.
Minneapolis Lakers: The Lakers moved to Los Angeles in 1960, leaving the Twin Cities without an NBA team until the Timberwolves were established in 1989.
St. Louis Bombers: Founded as an NBL team in 1946, the Bombers folded in 1950.
Waterloo Hawks: The Hawks were also founded as NBL team and spent one season in the league before joining the NBA in 1949. They folded in 1951.
Photo Credit: NBA