20 cars for the ultimate basketball fan

The NBA season just wrapped up, and the Toronto Raptors are the 2019 Champions, bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy to Canada for the first time ever in a hard-fought series against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Even though their previous jerseys featured a fearsome prehistoric predator, we can’t help but think of Ford’s capable and fun off-road F-150 whenever we hear the word “Raptor.” It’s just ingrained at this point.  

Automobile marketers tend to select dynamic names for their cars with connotations of speed, strength, and athleticism. It’s not at all surprising that professional sports teams landed on a lot of the same monikers. We put our heads together and quickly came up with 19 from just the NBA and WNBA; 21 if you allow us to take a couple of reaches.


2007 Saturn Sky
2007 Saturn Sky GM

Despite being the younger of the two pro basketball leagues, the WNBA has three teams that predate the vehicle models that share their name. There’s the Los Angeles (Chevrolet) Sparks, the New York (Jeep) Liberty, and Chicago (Saturn) Sky. The Seattle (Geo) Storm postdate that entire brand.

That isn’t the only defunct brand represented, because they really pilfered the Mercury lineup—rest in peace. Houston has the Comets, Sacramento has the Monarchs, Minnesota has the Lynx, and an entire team, Phoenix, is named Mercury.


1976 AMC Pacer
1976 AMC Pacer Mecum

The NBA is full of retired brands and models with the Dallas (Ford) Mavericks, Indiana (AMC) Pacers, Charlotte (AMC) Hornets, Atlanta (Studebaker) Hawks, Cleveland (Chevrolet) Cavaliers, and the Los Angeles (Packard) Clippers. For more modern vehicles, there’s the Toronto (Ford) Raptors, of course, as well as the Portland (Chevrolet) Trailblazers, Utah (Honda) Jazz, and Sacramento (Karlmann) Kings.

There is also the Houston (Oldsmobile) Rockets, which was Oldsmobile’s high-power 88 model, and the Washington Bullets, which is pretty close to the Mustang Bullitt. If we count that, then we’ve got to include the Washington (Isuzu Mysterious Utility) Wizards, because we’ll take any excuse we can to mention that ridiculous name. Oddly enough, the Japanese-market MU Wizard, which we know in the U.S. as the Isuzu Rodeo and Honda Passport, was also sold in Japan as the Honda Jazz—the name currently used for the Fit hatchback in many markets.

Naturally, our brainstorming led us to explore other shared team/model name overlaps in other sports leagues, but we’ll save those for later. In the meantime, which current or past NBA team name do you think would work best on a new vehicle? Could you picture the Chevrolet Thunder or the Ram Warrior? Let us know in the forums.

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS Chevrolet
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