Most Popular NBA Teams
Step into the world of basketball fandom as we explore the captivating topic of the most popular NBA teams. On this page, we’ll reveal which storied franchises reign supreme in terms of popularity. From the perennial powerhouses to the underdog darlings, we’ll answer all the burning questions surrounding these iconic NBA teams. Get ready to witness the allure, passion, and unwavering devotion that sets the most popular NBA teams apart from the rest of the field!
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Before we dive in and share the contenders for the most popular NBA team, let’s first explain a bit about what we mean when we say a team is “popular.” How do you determine which ones are the most popular? And how does public opinion play into it?
Well, public opinion is everything that establishes popularity in the first place. That said, there are many ways we could measure popularity:
- The teams that are the most liked
- The teams that are the most watched
- The teams that draw the biggest crowds
- The teams that attract the highest engagement on social media
- More popularity factors
What Are The Reasons For Their Popularity?
As to what makes NBA teams popular, a lot of factors can play into that. Many people are drawn to frequent champions and back teams that are successful. Other teams build a fan base around their approach to team building and their on-court tactics. Still, others attract fans by recruiting top players.
Here are the 20 most popular basketball teams as of Q4 2022, according to YouGovAmerica. The percentages tell you what portion of people from the data set held a positive opinion of each team. So, where you see 49% for the Chicago Bulls, for example, that means 49% of people in the data set held a favourable opinion of the Bulls.
Chicago Bulls: 49%
Boston Celtics: 42%
Los Angeles Lakers: 40%
Golden State Warriors: 40%
Miami Heat: 38%
Philadelphia 76ers: 36%
New York Knicks: 36%
San Antonio Spurs: 35%
Orlando Magic: 35%
Milwaukee Bucks: 35%
Denver Nuggets: 35%
Utah Jazz: 34%
Phoenix Suns: 34%
Los Angeles Clippers: 33%
Dallas Mavericks: 32%
Minnesota Timberwolves: 32%
Cleveland Cavaliers: 32%
Atlanta Hawks: 31%
Toronto Raptors: 31%
Houston Rockets: 31%
According to the same data set, some of the least popular NBA teams include the Washington Wizards, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Sacramento Kings.
Now that you have an overview of the most popular NBA teams, let’s check out the most popular franchises in different regions.
What Are The Most Popular Teams in Each NBA Conference?
The Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers are two of the most popular teams in any sport, so it’s not surprising to see them show up here on this list.
- The most popular NBA team in the Eastern Conference is the Chicago Bulls.
- The most popular NBA team in the Western Conference is the Los Angeles Lakers.
What Are the Most Popular Teams in Each NBA Division?
There are six different divisions across the NBA. As you can see above, each division has at least one team that is well-known across the country. This means that there is a team that everyone can follow and have lots of fellow fans.
- Central Division: Chicago Bulls
- Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics
- Southeast Division: Miami Heat
- Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets
- Southwest Division: San Antonio Spurs
- Pacific Division: Los Angeles Lakers
Where Are The Most Popular NBA Teams Located?
The most popular NBA teams are distributed pretty widely across the United States. The Chicago Bulls, for example, are in the middle of the country, while the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are both on the East Coast. Likewise, the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors are both on the West Coast.
Based on this information, we can also answer the question, “Where do the most popular NBA teams play their home games?” For example, the Bulls play in Chicago, the Celtics in Boston, the Miami Heat in Miami, the Lakers in L.A., and the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco.
Where do the least popular NBA teams play their home games? For example, the Washington Wizards play in Washington D.C., the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma, and the Kings in Sacramento.
Let’s take a look at the financial impact of the most popular NBA teams, including merchandising, ticket sales, sponsorship deals and salaries.
Merchandising of Popular NBA Teams
According to AS, here are the top NBA teams by merchandise sales in 2023:
Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors
New York Knicks
The NBA Attendance Report for 2023 lists these as the teams drawing the biggest crowds:
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Chicago Bulls
- Dallas Mavericks
- Toronto Raptors
- Miami Heat
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- NY Knicks
- Denver Nuggets
- Boston Celtics
- Portland Trail Blazers
You will notice significant divergences here from the most popular teams list we shared at the start of this article. For example, the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers were near the bottom of that list. Yet they rank high for bringing in money through ticket sales and filling seats.
Here are some of the current sponsors of the most popular NBA teams:
- Chicago Bulls: Motorola
- Boston Celtics: Vistaprint
- Los Angeles Lakers: Bibigo
- Golden State Warriors: Rakuten
- Miami Heat: United Kronos Group
- Philadelphia 76ers: Crypto.com
- New York Knicks: Pending
- San Antonio Spurs: Self Financial
- Orlando Magic: Walt Disney World
- Milwaukee Bucks: Motorola
Player & Coach Salaries
As of September 2022, were the highest-paid coaches in the NBA:
- Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs: $11.5 million
- Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors: $9.5 million
- Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers: $8.5 million
- Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat: $8.5 million
- Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks: $8 million
- Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors: $8 million
- Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets: $8 million
ESPN offers data on 2022-23 player salaries. Here are the highest ones:
|No 1||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors||$48 millions|
|No 2||LeBron James||Los Angeles Lakers||$44,4 millions|
|No 3||Kevin Durant||Phoenix Suns||$44,1 millions|
|No 4||Bradley Beal||Washington Wizards||$43,2 millions|
|No 5||Damian Lillard||Portland Trail Blazers||$42,5 millions|
|No 6||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks||$42,5 millions|
|No 7||Kawhi Leonard||LA Clippers||$42,5 millions|
|No 8||Paul George||LA Clippers||$42,5 millions|
|No 9||Klay Thompson||Golden State Warriors||$40,6 millions|
|No 10||Kyrie Irving||Dallas Mavericks||$38,9 millions|
As you can see, the top NBA teams draw millions of fans across their top social platforms. The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors especially have a lot of followers on these social media sites.
What Are The Most Popular Teams’ Home Arenas?
Here are the names of the arenas where the most popular NBA teams play.
- Chicago Bulls: United Center
- Boston Celtics: TD Garden
- Los Angeles Lakers: Crypto.com Arena
- Golden State Warriors: Chase Center
- Miami Heat: Miami-Dade Arena
- Philadelphia 76ers: Wells Fargo Center
- New York Knicks: Madison Square Garden
- San Antonio Spurs: AT&T Center
- Orlando Magic: Amway Center
- Milwaukee Bucks: Fiserv Forum
Star power is a major draw in the NBA. So, naturally, players who perform well tend to boost the popularity of the teams for which they are playing.
Who Are The Most Popular Players in Each Team?
Here are some of the best and most beloved players on the most popular NBA teams.
- Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine
- Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum
- Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James
- Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry
- Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler
- Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid
- New York Knicks: RJ Barrett
- San Antonio Spurs: Keldon Johnson
- Orlando Magic: Paolo Banchero
- Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic
- Utah Jazz: Lauri Markkanen
- Phoenix Suns: Kevin Durant
- Los Angeles Clippers: Kawhi Leonard
- Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell
- Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young
- Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet
- Houston Rockets: Jalen Green
The popularity of the top NBA teams and players has had the effect of increasing the popularity of the NBA as a whole. The Athletic reports, “The league’s national games on ABC, ESPN and TNT are averaging 1.6 million viewers, which the NBA said is up 1 percent over last season, per Nielsen data.” In short, ratings and popularity for the league are increasing. Meanwhile, popular NBA teams also excel at attracting top talent, which in turn fuels fierce competition. This further boosts ratings.
Now that you know more about the top players and their impact, let’s go over some history and facts concerning popular NBA teams.
Championships: How Many Championships Have The Most Popular NBA Teams Won?
As of the time of this writing, here is how many championships each team has under its belt (ranked in order of team popularity):
- Chicago Bulls: 6
- Boston Celtics: 17
- Los Angeles Lakers: 17
- Golden State Warriors: 7
- Miami Heat: 3
- Philadelphia 76ers: 3
- New York Knicks: 2
- San Antonio Spurs: 5
- Orlando Magic: 0
- Milwaukee Bucks: 2
What Are The Most Popular Teams’ Rivalries?
Some of the biggest rivalries between popular NBA teams include:
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs
- Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
- Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
- Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks
- Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons
- Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic
- Dallas Mavericks vs. San Antonio Spurs
- New York Knicks vs. Denver Nuggets
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
- Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks
- Minnesota Timberwolves vs. San Antonio Spurs
- Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics
- Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
- Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls
Who Are the Most Popular Coaches?
These are the most popular coaches in the NBA right now:
- Gregg Popovich
- Erik Spoelstra
- Steve Kerr
- Billy Donovan
- Nick Nurse
- Monty Williams
- Taylor Jenkins
- JB Bickerstaff
- Tyronn Lue
- Doc Rivers
Who Are the Most Popular Team Owners?
Some of the most popular team owners in the NBA include:
- Michael Jordan: Charlotte Hornets
- Mark Cuban: Dallas Mavericks
- Micky Arison: Miami Heat
- Robert J. Pera: Memphis Grizzlies
- Vivek Ranadivé: Sacramento Kings
Conclusion: The Most Popular NBA Teams
Backed by legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Steph Curry, the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State Warriors lead the pack as the most popular NBA teams. These teams not only command loyalty but also have a significant financial advantage through merchandise sales, ticket sales, and sponsorship deals as a result of being in major markets. The popularity of the NBA as a whole has been bolstered by the allure of these top teams and their ability to attract star talent, fueling intense rivalries and captivating viewers worldwide. Given their storied legacies and association with NBA icons like MJ and LeBron, it comes as no surprise that these franchises have emerged as the most popular NBA teams.More info on Rowan Fisher-Shotton
To wrap things up, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions about the most popular NBA teams.
If we base success off of championship wins, then the most successful teams in the NBA are the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics (17 wins each), followed by the Golden State Warriors (7 wins), the Chicago Bulls (6 wins) and the San Antonio Spurs (5 wins).
Again going by championships won, the all-time top teams in the NBA are: Los Angeles Lakers: 17 wins, Boston Celtics: 17 wins, Golden State Warriors: 7 wins, Chicago Bulls: 6 wins, San Antonio Spurs: 5 wins, Detroit Pistons: 3 wins, Philadelphia 76ers: 3 wins, Miami Heat: 3 wins, New York Knicks: 2 wins, Houston Rockets: 2 wins, Milwaukee Bucks: 2 wins. We have shared 11 teams here since 3 teams have 2 championship wins.
To answer this question, we can turn to the information we shared earlier in this post regarding social media followers for popular NBA teams. Some of the teams with the largest followings include the L.A. Lakers, the Golden State Warriors, the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets.
Some of the least popular NBA teams include the Washington Wizards, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Sacramento Kings. It stands to reason that these teams may not be as popular as some others in their own cities.
The most popular NBA team in China is the Golden State Warriors, followed by the L.A. Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets. Some of the most popular NBA players among Chinese fans include Stephen Curry, James Harden, Mo Bamba, Klay Thompson, Derrick Rose and Ja Morant.
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Rowan is a sports betting journalist with an established presence in the sports media industry through his thought-invoking coverage and commentary surrounding major leagues like the NBA, NFL, and NCAA. While Rowan specializes in NBA, NFL, and NCAA college sports coverage, he consistently follows and reports on every major sport in North America.