National Basketball Association: Team Relocation Controversies

The official basketball league of South America is known as the National Basketball Association. It comprises 29 teams from the United States and 1 team from Canada.

The National Basketball Association was initially known as the Basketball Association of America. It was founded in New York on 6 June 1946. The league changed its name in 1949 after it combined with the National Basketball League. The National Basketball Ball Association has been subject to several controversies. It also received severe criticism over the years. Sports publications, basketball lovers, and team members have bitterly criticized the league. The NBA  got involved in team relocation controversies.

The Shift of Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis

The Vancouver Grizzlies shifted after the NBA session of 200-2001 to Memphis, Tennessee. In 2001, an announcement on 25 January specifying that the Grizzlies would get sold to Michael Heisley by Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment. The initial decision was to keep it in Vancouver, but it had to be shifted. The team’s shift from Vancouver was because of the weakness of Canadian dollars, the refusal of players to stay in Canada, and no local ownership.


 A bidding war occurred and finally Memphis was selected for the Grizzlies in March 2001. Memphis was chosen as it offered better local leadership and better deals. The Board of people of the NBA approved the decision to shift the Grizzlies to Memphis, which was renamed the Memphis Grizzlies for the next season.

The Shift of Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City

After the NBA season of 2007-98, Seattle SuperSonics shifted to Oklahoma City. The ownership team of SuperSonics tried to convince the government officials of Washington state to give funds of US $500 million for updating KeyArena, but they failed. So, the ownership group, headed by Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, decided to sell the SuperSonics team to PBC (Professional Basketball Club LLC). The Bennett’s group announced its intention of shifting the team of SuperSonics to Oklahoma City and also asked to release arbitration with Seattle from the lease with KeyArena. A judge rejected the request. However, Seattle took help from Bennett’s group to carry out the lease. 

On 2 July 2008, the team got permission to shift under some conditions. Further, a notification specifying that the PBC would have to pay $45 million to the city of Seattle for disobeying the KeyArena lease and an extra $30 million if Seattle didn’t have a replacement team in the upcoming five years. The name and colour of Sonics had to be disowned by the Oklahoma City team, but a team of Seattle could take it in the future. The team of Oklahoma City would continue to have the SuperSonics’ history and have it “shared” with any future Seattle NBA team. The team shifted to Oklahoma City and got its new name, “the Oklahoma City Thunder”. It started playing for the NBA season of 2008-09.

These two team relocation controversies of the NBA received mass-scale criticism. Also, there were other controversies related to racial and cultural issues.

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