This Saturday will mark the completion of my first season of youth sports.
My son, who is in fifth grade, participated in the Upward basketball program. The program’s focus is to teach the game through healthy competition while building athletic foundations that prepare athletes for the next level of play.
Youth in fifth through eighth grades “begin to build positive character traits that will allow them to encourage and strengthen themselves and their teammates.”
My son was a member of the Pistons team. I have no idea how they got the team names, because he played against the Monarchs, the 76ers and the Lynx.
My husband asked our son if he knew how the NBA’s Detroit Pistons got their name and then told us about them being located in the “Motor City.” A quick online search says they started out in Fort Wayne, Ind., where they were known as the Zollner Pistons after the team owner Fred Zollner. When the team moved to Detroit in 1957, Zollner was dropped from the nickname.
This website, Mental Floss, had a brief history of each team and I wanted to share some of the more interesting ones. It was like a little history lesson learning each of the teams’ name origins.
For instance, the Vancouver team was going to become the Mounties when they were awarded an expansion franchise in 1994. Plans changed after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and fans objected. A local paper held a naming contest and Grizzlies was selected over Ravens. The Grizzlies relocated to Memphis before the 2001-02 season.
The Denver Nuggets’ name is a nod to the city’s mining tradition and the Colorado Gold Rush during the late 1850s and early 1860s.
The Indiana Pacers were named in honor of the state’s auto racing history.
The Los Angeles Lakers had been in Minnesota, “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” before moving to LA.
The site says the New York Knicks is a throwback to the term “Knickerbockers,” referred specifically to pants rolled up just below the knee by Dutch settlers in the New World during the 1600s.
Many of these settlers found homes in and around New York City, where a cartoon drawing of Father Knickerbocker became a prominent symbol of the city. In 1845, baseball’s first organized team was nicknamed the Knickerbocker Nine and the name was evoked again in 1946 when New York was granted a franchise in the Basketball Association of America.
Orlando Magic was named after Orlando’s main attraction, Walt Disney World, despite the Challengers being the most popular name chosen during a name the team contest hosted by the Orlando Sentinel. The Challengers would have been after the space shuttle that exploded in 1986.
The Philadelphia 76ers were named after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776.
The Utah Jazz originated in New Orleans in 1974 and club officials decided to keep the name after relocating to Salt Lake City in 1979. The Jazz nickname was originally chosen through a name-the-team contest, which produced seven other finalists: Dukes, Crescents, Pilots, Cajuns, Blues, Deltas and Knights.
I would go through them all, but I doubt many have hung in there this long. Some of the names were meant to be ferocious, while others were historical or seemingly random. I’ve written about color names in the past and for me, this is similar. Each team name has an origin and history leading it to where it is today.
I’m happy to report that the 2018 Upward basketball Pistons had a great season. Every athlete improved.
My favorite part of each game was when the announcer would say each boy’s name in the microphone and they would run on the court. Both teams would meet in the middle, kneel and pray.
I loved watching students practice each week and play each weekend, getting better each time.
Sometimes, I found myself clapping for the other team because they made a good play . . . I know the more competitive among us are probably gasping, but I like to see the athletes have a good game.
I watched the older boys take the younger ones under their wing and encourage them, even when they were frustrated that the younger ones still needed a little (or a lot) more practice.
I watched them bloom in sportsmanship, in confidence and in athleticism. And for once, I finally understood what sports provides for youth growing up.
Editor’s Note: Credit: http://mentalfloss.com/article/23115/origins-all-30-nba-team-names.