St. Louis NBA Team Info [Names, History, Future]

St. Louis is well-known for having energetic sports fans that are enthusiastic about a wide range of sports. But, due to market size, there can be some challenges when trying to attract NBA teams. In this article, we give a current outlook on the future possibilities of a St. Louis NBA team. This is where you can jump to the section where we discuss the chances that St. Louis gets an NBA team soon.

Does St. Louis Have an NBA Team?

No, St. Louis City does not currently have an NBA team. Although the city has made a push to be in the running to add an NBA team should expansion or relocation occur, there are no imminent plans for St. Louis to add an NBA team. This is where you can read more about the chances that St. Louis gets an NBA team soon.

Has St. Louis Ever Had an NBA Team?

Yes, St. Louis has had an NBA team in the past. The St. Louis Bombers played one season in the NBA from 1949 to 1950. The St. Louis Hawks played from 1955 to 1968. In 1968, the St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta, where they remain to this day.

The St. Louis Hawks, in their short existence, were known for a lot of things. They had a two-time NBA MVP in Bob Petit and went to four NBA Finals in five years from 1957-1961. They are also the franchise that traded NBA great Bill Russell to the Boston Celtics where he would go on to win 11 titles.

In 1958, the St. Louis Hawks won the only NBA Championship for the Hawks franchise and for the city of St. Louis. They beat the vaunted Boston Celtics in six games. Exactly one decade later they left for Atlanta.

Will St. Louis Get an NBA Team?

Currently, there are no definite plans for St. Louis to get an NBA team. However, that does not mean they won’t get an NBA team at some point in the future.

But, before St. Louis can even be considered, the NBA must first choose to expand, or an NBA team must choose to relocate. Before we discuss further the chances that St. Louis gets an NBA team, let’s discuss how probable it is that the NBA expands soon.

Will the NBA Expand with New Teams?

Before St. Louis can be considered to host a new NBA team, the NBA has to decide to expand to new markets with new teams. In recent years, especially after the pandemic hit in 2020, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has spoken with more frequency about the possibility of adding at least two additional NBA teams for a total of 32.

Adam Silver is quoted by CNBC as stating, “I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point. I’d say it’s caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion. We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.”

There are pluses and minuses to expansion, and clearly league officials are at least considering what an expansion of the current roster of NBA teams would look like.

Since the pandemic, the NBA has had to raise money to support current teams to the tune of $900 million. While there is an expected return to a post-pandemic normalcy, it could still take a while for the economics to catch up and for teams to become more profitable again. Economics is the main reason the NBA is potentially looking to expansion.

At the same time, however, there has to be new markets ready to accept new teams and there needs to be enough star power to support additional markets. The NBA believes they have done a better job of dispersing its star power, but to some the league still looks pretty top heavy.

Some of the most commonly mentioned markets that could get an NBA team (if expansion occurs) are Seattle and Las Vegas. However, at this point, this is all speculation and no official announcements or plans have been made.

What Cities Are More Likely to Get an NBA Team?

While St. Louis has a shot at getting an NBA team if expansion or relocation occurs, there are a couple cities that many experts feel are best positioned to get an NBA team: Seattle and Las Vegas.

Seattle has had an NBA team before with huge stars and a good fan base. There is money in Seattle to support an NBA team, and the city has a large television market and has proven to support other professional teams. Many believe that even if there is no expansion in the short term, Seattle could possibly lure a current NBA team to relocate there.

Las Vegas is another option. Vegas is quickly attracting many professional sports leagues. Ten years ago, and maybe even five years ago, Las Vegas would not have been an option. With all of the gambling and the nightlife in the city it seemed like a risk to put a major franchise there, but then the NFL did just that.

With the Raiders moving there just a couple of years ago, Las Vegas became a viable option for all three of the major sports and it is probably just a matter of time before a MLB and NBA team end up there (NHL also has a team in Vegas).

The Chances St. Louis Gets an NBA Team

There are a lot of reasons to believe that St. Louis will at least be in the running for an NBA team. The rich history of NBA basketball in St. Louis could be attractive to teams and owners who are looking to leave their current market. St. Louis is one of the largest metro areas without an NBA team, and they have proven capable of supporting professional sports.

With the NFL moving out of St. Louis, it may also signal to potential owners that the city has an open void that an NBA team could fill. If St. Louis were able to land an NBA team, the Enterprise Center could act as a home arena.

But there are other cities that seem more interested in attracting a new NBA team to their market. If the NBA expands by two franchises in the near future, expect Las Vegas or Seattle to be the most popular choices.

St. Louis NBA Team Names

What are potential names for a St. Louis NBA Team?

As far as nicknames for the team goes, the very first NBA team in St. Louis was the “Bombers,” a name that will likely not be used again. Some suggested names include the Ozarks, Stars, Lions, and Phantoms.

Where Would a St. Louis NBA Team Play?

If St. Louis were able to land an NBA team, the Enterprise Center could act as a home arena. The Enterprise Center is the home of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues and has a basketball configuration that has a 22,000-seat capacity, more than enough for an NBA team.

Assuming they were in the Eastern Conference, they have potential rivalries geographically close by in the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, and the city has a historical rivalry with the Celtics who they played multiple times in the NBA finals.

Paul Johnson

Paul has been with us from our beginnings. He focuses on a wide range of sports, including NFL, NBA, MLB and golf.

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