What Are The NBA Teams In California?

nba teams in california

Key Takeaway: California's significant presence in the NBA, with four teams making up 13% of the league, is attributed to the state's large population and wealth. The Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Sacramento Kings have storied histories, with the Lakers leading the way with 17 NBA championship titles.

The NBA is the most well-known basketball league in the whole world. It has millions of fans supporting different NBA teams, which is the reason why the league is still alive. Every team has its stadium located in different states of America. In California, basketball is so popular that is why they have many teams standing and established there. 

California has a total of four NBA teams which means that the state makes up 13% of the entire NBA league. The number of teams in California is a big contribution to the NBA. If the four teams were removed, there would be twenty-six teams left, and is not enough to represent each state in America. 

We are going to discuss the four NBA teams in California and the reason why it is built there. I will also put some brief information about their team history and some of their achievements.

Why Does California Have Four NBA Teams?

Below are the different reasons why California has many NBA teams. Check them below:


California is a big state that has several cities inside. If you try to compare California from other states in America, you will find lots of differences between the population of California from other states. 

California has many populations, and it is large enough to support major NBA teams. The population is still growing, and that makes me believe that these four teams won’t run out of supporters soon. 


California is one of the wealthiest states in America. They have all the money to burn, and they have many icons living there. They also hold one of the largest homeless populations in the United States.

California will not have a hard time keeping these four teams on the mainstream because they have many dollars to spend. Los Angeles also has enough room to keep their two franchises, and these teams make more money than any other NBA teams. 

Below are the four NBA teams in California:

1. Sacramento Kings

  • Founded: 1945
  • NBA Championship Titles: 1 (Rochester Royals)
  • Notable Players: Demarcus Cousins, Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic
  • Notable Coaches: None

The Sacramento Kings were founded last 1923 as Rochester Seagrams and they are located in Rochester, New York. The Kings joined the NBA in 1945 and rebranded as Rochester Royals. They won a championship in their lucky season last 1951. 

They had a hard time making some profit because of the small market in Rochester. The Kings decided to relocate to Cincinnati for a chance to gain much more profit, and they rebranded as the Cincinnati Royals. In 1972, the Kings decided to relocate again, and this time to Kansas City, Missouri. They changed their team’s name along with their relocation and they were rebranded again as the Kansas City Omaha Kings. The team again failed to gain enough profit to support the franchise, and they moved again to Sacramento in 1985. 

After the Kings had successfully found a successful market at Sacramento, the team decided to be established there. However, the team’s success has not been abundant as the Kings fans hoped. The most noticeable year they had was last 2002 NBA season, where they are on the number one spot in the Western Conference. Sadly, the Lakers kicked them out of the playoffs after beating them in game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.

The Kings lineup today (2020) is not yet a super team that can surpass Lebron James and the Lakers. They are hoping to rebuild the team to get a chance to win a championship title.

2. Golden State Warriors

  • Founded: 1946
  • NBA Championship Titles: 6
  • Notable Players: Wilt Chamberlain, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Monta Ellis, Nate Thurmond, Draymond Green
  • Notable Coaches: Don Nelson, Steve Kerr

The Warriors team is based in San Francisco California today. The Warriors were founded in 1946 in Philadelphia, and they moved to San Francisco in 1962. Before they were known as the Golden State Warriors today, they first took the city’s name. They changed their franchise name from San Francisco Warriors to Golden State Warriors last 1971. 

After the Wilt Chamberlain trade, the Warriors had a hard time reaching the playoffs. The rebuilding period took time until 1975. The Warriors had an impressive year in the 1975 NBA season winning their third championship led by Barry and Jamaal Wilkes. After that impressive season, the Warriors were motivated to get another championship next year, but sadly they didn’t meet their expectations the following years.

The Warriors struggled again to get into the playoffs in 1980. In 1985, the Warriors drafted Chris Mullin, and they began to rebuild the team again. The Warriors team had many scoring leaders that led the team for a playoffs run. Tim Hardaway and Mitch Raymond play to their highest level to give the Warriors another chance for a title. However, the team did not manage to get a championship title again.

The Warriors struggled again in the 1990s because of the rising teams like the Bulls, Suns, Pistons, and Lakers. They haven’t won any single championship until in the early years of the 21st century.

The Warriors got lucky by drafting Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA draft. Curry is indeed an amazing basketball player who is always hot outside the arc. They rebuilt the Warriors again to win three championship titles led by Curry, Thompson, Green, and Durant for their 2017 and 2018 titles.

The Warriors set a record in 2016 for best team record, but they lost to the Cavs as they can’t handle the might of Lebron James. After that disappointing season, the Warriors added Kevin Durant and grabbed two straight titles in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

  • Founded: 1970
  • NBA Championship Titles: 0
  • Notable Players: Bob Mcadoo, Elton Brand, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan
  • Notable Coaches: Larry Brown, Bill Fitch, Doc Rivers

The Clippers were established in 1984 in Los Angeles after Donald Sterling decided to move the franchise from San Diego. They had a similar reputation with the Kings because the team always seems to be in the winning phase during the regular season but get choked during the playoffs. 

The Clippers were founded as the Buffalo Braves in 1970. They reached the playoffs three times during their eight seasons, which were led by Hall of Famer Bob Mcadoo. They relocated to San Diego California, after having some issues in 1978 and rebranded their team name with San Diego Clippers. In 1984, the Clippers were illegally relocated again to Los Angeles by owner Donald Sterling. The NBA took legal action against Sterling but was permitted to stay in Los Angeles after Sterling filed a counter-lawsuit.

The Clipper’s reputation improved during the 2010s led by Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan. The Clippers fans had high expectations for the Clippers team. However, the Clippers didn’t manage to make a playoff run to get a championship title. The Clippers had some impressive years but have never made it to Western Conference Finals. 

4. Los Angeles Lakers

  • Founded: 1947
  • NBA Championship Titles: 17
  • Notable Players: Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Gail Goodrich, Lebron James.
  • Notable Coaches: Phil Jackson, Bill Sharman, John Kundla

The Los Angeles Lakers are no doubt the most successful NBA team in California. Besides their rivalry, the Boston Celtics, the Lakers had many championship titles led by different best players. They have won a total of 17 championship titles.

The Lakers were founded in 1947 after the purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the NBL. The franchise started playing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a team name of Minneapolis Lakers. Before entering the NBA, the Lakers won the 1948 NBL championship and won five next of the six NBA championships in the BAA league. They struggled financially in the late 1950s that led them to relocate to Los Angeles before the 1960-61 season. 

Los Angeles made the NBA finals six times in the 1960s, which were led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. Sadly they lost each series to the Celtics, and that is the start of their rivalry. After acquiring Wilt Chamberlain, the Lakers won their sixth NBA title in 1972. Wilt Chamberlain retired, and the team obtained Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won multiple MVP awards. However, even though the Lakers acquired Kareem, they were still unable to make it to the finals in the late 1970s. 

The Lakers had a championship title run in the 1980s. They won five championship titles in nine years led by Magic Johnson, Kareem, Johnson, and James Worthy. After Johnson and Kareem retired, the Lakers struggled to get another championship title in the 1990s. However, in 1996, the Lakers acquired Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. They won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002 with the help of Hall of Famer coach Phil Jackson. 

The Lakers won two more championships in the 2009-2010 NBA season and struggled again after that two titles. After the disappointing years, the Lakers acquired Lebron James and Anthony Davis and claimed their 17th championship in the 2020 NBA finals. 

The Lakers were more successful than other NBA teams. I am sure that they will grab more championship titles in the next following years.

Final Words

The city of California is not only famous because of Hollywood, but they are also well known for having the best teams in the NBA. Their two teams, Warriors and Lakers, show more success than any other NBA team except for the Boston Celtics. These two teams are always striving for greatness and will surely get more achievements and titles in the following decades.

Which of the NBA teams in California did you love the most? Let us hear your favorite California NBA team in the comments section below!

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