The other day I was watching a LA Lakers game on TV when something struck me. Why in the world are they called the Lakers when there is barely so much as a puddle in Los Angeles?
The answer, as many of you know, is that the team wasn’t always from Southern California. Originally, they hailed from Minnesota, self-described land of 10,000 lakes. The team kept its old nickname rather than change it. But, the Lakers aren’t the only team to have a nickname that makes no sense.
Consider the Utah Jazz. Salt Lake City is a great place, full of beauty and wonderful people, but, near as I can tell, it’s not particularly known for its thriving jazz scene. So, what’s the deal here? Like the Lakers, the Jazz moved to Utah from somewhere else — namely, New Orleans, where jazz is an art, religion, business, you get the idea.
And there are more. The Grizzlies, another NBA team, used to be in rugged Vancouver, Canada. Now they play in Memphis, where Elvis sightings are far more common than fearsome bears. And what about the Colts of the NFL? Is Indianapolis really a horse racing town? Nope, but Baltimore is. The Colts used to play in Baltimore (home of the famous Preakness Stakes) before moving to the Hoosier State.
One of the most popular teams in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, has a similar story. Originally, the Dodgers hailed from Brooklyn, New York. According to the official site for club, the team’s nickname was originally “Trolley Dodger,” “due to the complex maze of trolley cars that weaved its way through the borough of Brooklyn.” The name stuck even when the team moved to California.
Some team nicknames match perfectly with the their cities. The San Francisco 49ers come to mind. Ditto with the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Phoenix Suns, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Got any other thoughts on team nicknames that either make perfect sense or no sense at all? Leave a comment below.
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