Every team in the NBA have their own fans base on the population of the team rosters, location, and history of the franchise’s accomplishment.
However, how do we determine which home crowd is better than the other?
Is it the number of NBA Championships in the franchise, players, or coaches? We believe everything listed before will attract fans to support the team.
For example, if teams with one NBA championship will attract more fans to watch the game during home-court advantages. Needless to say Golden State Warriors with a history of six NBA Championships naturally attract fans to support them, and Stephen Curry is another reason Warriors is top 5 in our list.
A team with the potential to contend for the championship run will attract more fans too. Brooklyn Nets is such a team who gained many fans after the recent trade in the 2020-21 NBA season where James Harden joins Kyrie Erving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn Nets is currently number 2 on the Eastern Conference standings and it overshadows another local team New York Knicks.
Let’s get to our top 15 most popular team on the NBA with high fanbases
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Top 16 Most Popular NBA Teams
The ranking of our top 16 most popular NBA teams may be different from yours, but our ranking also takes the number of followers on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), and the most recent news from the team into the factors. The ranking goes from less to most popular.
16. Dallas Mavericks
- Facebook – 4.36 Million
- Instagram – 1.41 Million
- Twitter – 1.63 Million
- Championships: 1 (2011)
- History: Found in 1980-Present
- Arena: American Airlines Center
- Best Players: Dirk Nowitzki, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks is in the top 16 of our lift in popular NBA teams due to their overall fans in social network and the championship title in 2011. Mavericks’ icon player was Dirk Nowitzki helped the team won their first NBA Championship in 2011. With his almost unstoppable signature move fade-away shot won him the 2011 Final MVP, Most Valuable Player in 2007, and Three-point contest Champion in 2006.
From 2018 to the present, Mavericks enter the Luka Doncic era. Doncic game into the NBA league at the age of 19. His crafty dribbling, step-back three-point shot, and ability to drive by his defender won the crowd easier in his rookie year. He averaged 21.2 points per game in the 2018-19 regular season. Doncic had his career-high 46 points won against New Orleans Pelicans on February 12, 2021. He will be the new era of Mavericks and we expect Doncic to draw more fans to the team in years to come. We expect Doncic will be the next MVP player in Mavericks as he continues to mature in basketball.
15. Brooklyn Nets
- Facebook – 2.73 Million
- Instagram – 1.82 Million
- Twitter – 1 Million
- Championships: 0
- History: Found in 1967
- 1967-1968 New Jersey Americans (American basketball Association ABA)
- 1968-1976 New York Nets (ABA), 1976-1977 (NBA)
- 1977-2012 New Jersey Nets
- 2012-present Brooklyn Nets
- Arena: Barclay Center
- Best Players: Kyrie Irving, Kev in Durant, James Harden
Brooklyn made it to our top 16 most popular NBA teams due to the recent trade they made at the beginning of 2021. Yes, the Nets signed James Harden to join Irving and Durant. There were many talks on this trade that made the Nets become one of the top 3 teams in the eastern conference standing. Even though the Nets does not have an NBA Champion title or huge fan base, but the team is made up of superstars that will naturally draw fans to the team.
As of April 19, 2021, two of the three best players are out due to the injury. Harden is out of the game due to a hamstring injury, and Durant was put out of the game on Tuesday due to thigh contusion which put him in day-to-day status.
The Nets need both Durant and Harden to content for the 2021 championship title.
14. Philadelphia 76ers
- Facebook – 1.75 Million
- Instagram – 2.23 Million
- Twitter – 1.81 Million
- Championships – 3 (1955, 1967, 1983)
- History: Found in 1946
- Syracuse Nationals 1949-1963
- Philadelphia 76ers 1963-present
- Arena: Wells Fargo Center
- Best Player: Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers is one of the focus teams in the 2020-21 NBA season to watch in the Eastern Conference because they’re the current rank 1 (39-18) who is ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. Joel Embiid is the best player on the team that attracts fans to the game. He joined the 76ers in 2016 and he is averaging 24.9 points per game. Embiid was at the No. 1 spot in the 2020-21 NBA MVP ladder race before his injury. He joined the top 5 on the MVP race after he returned from 10 games of rest.
The franchise has 3 championship titles (1955, 1967, and1983) and 1967 was an unforgivable one because they successfully stop the Boston Celtics on their 9th straight championship title. Wilt Chamberlain led the team to their second NBA title. Chamberlain later trades to LA Lakers in the following season to acquire Archie Clark. The team’s performance went downhill like a waterfall for the next few seasons after they traded All start, Chamberlain, to La Lakers and Chet Walker to Chicago Bulls.
In 1976-1987, Julius Erving join the 76ers and excited the crowd again with his All-Star performance. He averaged 24.2 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game.
The team’s popularity decrease over time as the team’s performance became poor, but with the history of 3 championships and Joel Embiid’s performance, they’re rank 14 in our most popular teams in the NBA. Allen Iverson is also another icon player who lights up the stadium when he plays. Iverson was famous for his crossover on Michael Jordan.
13. Toronto Raptors
- Facebook – 2.67 Million
- Instagram – 2.99 Million
- Twitter – 2.11 Million
- Championships – 1 (2019)
- History: Found in 1995
- Scotiabank Arena (1995-present)
- Amalie Arena (2020-21) Located in Tempa, Florida. The reason the Raptors temporarily play in Amalie Arena is due to the travel restrictions mandated by the Canadian government during the pandemic.
- Best Player: Kawhi Leonard
In the history of the Toronto Raptors, there are a few stars who bring fans to support them, such as Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and Chris Bosh. But if we need to pick the best player in the history of Raptors who’s the fan’s favorite, we will pick Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard left San Antonio Spurs after seven years and joined the Raptors in the 2018-19 season. He helped the Raptors to obtain their very first NBA Champion in 2019 over Golden State Warriors. No one would have expected Raptors
12. New York Knicks
- Facebook – 5.8 Million
- Instagram – 2.31 Million
- Twitter – 2.15 Million
- Championships – 2 (1970, 1973)
- History: Founded 1946
- Arena: Madison Square Garden 1946-present
- Best Player: Willis Reed, Patrick Ewing
New York City is one of the most popular cities in the world and they’re in our top 15 for a reason. Willis Reed was one of the best players in NBA history who led the Knicks team to two NBA Championship titles. Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.
After Reed’s era, the Knicks goes into Patrick Ewing‘s era who was one of the best centers from the 1980s-90s. He bought excitement to the Madison square garden with his tough defensive plays and averaged 21 points per game. Knicks was one of the top contenders against the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan’s era.
Knicks continue to struggle in the playoff for years, but in the 2020-21 season, the Knicks is rank fourth on the Eastern Conference Standing. The Knicks is currently on their ninth winning streak in the regular season.
11. Milwaukee Bucks
- Facebook – 1.84 Million
- Instagram – 2.34 Million
- Twitter – 1.13 Million
- Championships – 1 (1971)
- Found in 1968
- H istory: 1968-present
- Arena: Fiserv Forum
- Best Player: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Milwaukee Bucks is on the no. 11 most popular NBA teams due to two key players. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was formally named Alcindor before but adopted his Islam name after his first NBA Championship. He joined the Bucks in the 1969-70 season and averaged 28.8 points per game in his rookie year. The Bucks end the regular season with a 56-26 record.
In the following season, with the leadership of Kareem, Buck had the second-best winning streak at 20 games follow after LA Lakers. They are 66-16 for the regular season, and they defeated Baltimore Bullets in a 4-0 series in the 1971 NBA Final.
Kareem is also known for his signature move “Skyhook” which excited the stadium during the clutch moment.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is also nicknamed the “Greek Freak” of the team due to his size, speed, and ball-handling skills which blow by his opponents. He averaged 20.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. He was named NBA MVP in 2019, 2020, and NBA defensive player of the year in 2020. Many Bucks fans believe Antetokounmpo will lead the team to their second championship title.
10. San Antonio Spurs
- Facebook – 7.01 Million
- Instagram – 2.86 Million
- Twitter – 3.47 Million
- Championships – 5 (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)
- Founded: 1967
- History: 1967-present
- Dallas Chaparrals – 1697-1970, 1971-1973 (ABA)
- Texas Chaparrals – 1970-1971 (ABA)
- San Antonio Spurs – 1973-1976 (ABA), 1976-Present (NBA)
- Arena: AT&T Center
- Best Players: “Twin Towers” Tim Duncan and David Robinson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili
San Antonio Spurs is the top 10 most popular teams in the NBA due to a few key players throughout the course of history. But the player who helps the Spurs win their fifth Championship title is Tim Duncan. He averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game before he retired in 2016. Duncan and David Robinson were known for “Twin Towers” (1997-2003), their presence under the basketball cause tremendous fear in their opponents. Imagine trying to score in the pain with two top defensive centers in the league.
After David Robinson’s retirement in 2003, the Spurs continue their dominance in the Western Conference with the “Big Three” (Time Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili). They excited many fans in the stadium with Duncan fundamental basketball, Parker ballhandling/passes, and Ginobili’s signature move “Euro Step”
9. Los Angeles Clippers
- Facebook – 3.80 Million
- Instagram – 2.67 Million
- Twitter – 1.53 Million
- Championships – 0
- Founded: 1970
- History: 1970-Present
- Buffalo Braves 1970-1978
- San Diego Clippers 1978-1984
- Los Angeles Clipper 1984-present
- Arena: Staples Center
- Best Player: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George
LA Clippers doesn’t have a championship ring in their franchise, but their fans on social medial earn the spot in no. 9 of the most popular NBA teams. Over the course of the years, the Clippers attract fans by players they acquired. When Chris Paul joins the Clipper with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, Griffin was so excited that he declared “Yeah! It’s going to be lob city!” In the 2011-12 season, Clipper went to their first playoff against Memphis Grizzlies. They defeated Grizzlies in round one but lost to San Antonio Spurs in the second round.
In 2019, the fans are once again drawn to support the Clippers after Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers. The previous season, Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to become the 2019 NBA Champion. Along with Paul George, both players help the Clipper to rank 3rd on the 2020-21 NBA Western Conference Standing.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder
- Facebook – 7.02 Million
- Instagram – 4.38 Million
- Twitter – 2.76 Million
- Championships – 1 (1979)
- Founded: 1967
- History: 1697-present
- Seattle SuperSonics – 1967-2008
- Oklahoma City Thunder – 2008-present
- Arena: Chesapeake Energy Arena
- Best Player: Russell Westbrook
Oklahoma City Thunder has over 14 million fans on social media, which makes them rank 8 on our Most Popular NBA teams list. Let us see what makes this team so special that fans support them.
Thunder was formal as the Seattle SuperSonic from 1967-2008, They were based in Seattle until the team owners moved the team to Oklahoma City in 2008. Prior to Thunder, the team went to the NBA playoffs 22 times. They won the division six times, NBA finals three times, and became the NBA Champion in 1979.
During 2009-2012, Thunder once acquired many All-Star players in one team. These players are the superstar in their own team, and who are these players? Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins were once played together. During the 2012 NBA playoff, they defeated the previous champion Dallas Mavericks in the first round. For the next round, they match up against La Lakers and defeated the Lakers in five games. Thunder advance to the western conference final against San Antonio Spurs which they defeated in game 6. In the 2021 NBA final, Thunder matches up against Miami Heat. They lost to Heat in a 1-4 series.
The present Thunder’s performance in the 2020-21 season is horrible. They are rank 14th on the Western Conference standings with a record of 14 straight losing streaks in the season. But the Thunder still hold the top 8 spots on our list with the most popular teams in the NBA
7. Cleveland Cavaliers
- Facebook – 8.53 Million
- Instagram – 7.45 Million
- Twitter – 3.25 Million
- Championships – 1 (2016)
- Founded: 1970
- History: 1970-present
- Arena: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
- Best Player: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love
Cavaliers or Cavs used to be regular contenders in the NBA playoff in the 1980s, and they advance to Eastern Conference Finals in 1992. But the team’s performance went downhill for many years without making it to the NBA playoff. The team’s popularity increase starting in 2003 when they acquired LeBron James. James is the rising star with many critics predict he will become the next superstar in the NBA. Cavaliers went back to contend for NBA playoffs and won their first Eastern Conference final in 2007.
LeBron left the Cavs in 2010 and return back to the team in 2014. He helps the Cavs won their first franchise NBA Championship in 2016. With the addition of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, the team’s social medial popularity went over 19 million and became the #7 spot on our list.
Cavs performance went downhill with the departure of LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving. But Kevin Love still remains on the team to attract fans to support the team.
6. Houston Rockets
- Facebook – 12.9 Million
- Instagram – 4.34 Million
- Twitter – 2.97 Million
- Championships – 2 (1994, 1995)
- Founded: 1967
- History: 1967-present
- San Diego Rockets – 1967-1971
- Houston Rockets – 1971-present
- Arena: Toyota Center
- Best Player: Hakeem Olajuwon, James Harden
Houston Rockets’ total number of fan bases in social media can easily win the top 5 on our Most popular NBA teams, but Boston Celtics outrank them with the number of Championships in the franchise.
Olajuwon is one of the best centers in the Houston Rockets’ history. He led the Rockets to a back-to-back NBA championship in 1994 and 1995. He was named both NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the year in 1994.
After the two championships in franchise history, the Rockets signed Yao Ming from 2002-2009 and Tracy McGrady from 2004-2010. McGrady and Ming paired up greatly because one is the scoring champion and while the older is great under the basket. They both help the franchise with a 22 winning streak in the 2007-08 season.
Rockets later signed James Harden 2012-2021, and his style of plays attract many fans to support the team.
5. Boston Celtics
- Facebook – 8.98 Million
- Instagram – 4.58 Million
- Twitter – 3.48 Million
- Championships – 17 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008)
- Founded: 1946
- History: 1946-present
- Arena: TD Garden
- Best Player: Bill Russell, Larry Bird
Boston Celtics are the top 5 most popular NBA teams with a franchise history of 17 championships. The last NBA championship was in 2008 where Celtics defeated La Lakers in a 4-2 series. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Piece “Big Three” bought many fans to support the team.
But Bill Russell is the best player in NBA history because he led the team to earn 11 NBA Championships from 1957-1969. He was named five-time NBA MVP (1958, 1961-63, 1965) and four-time rebound champion (1958, 1959, 1964, 1965).
Larry Bird is another player who was fun to watch and attract fans to support the team. Bird helped the Celtics to win three NBA championship titles. He named the three-times NBA MVP from 1984-86, and the three-point champion in 1986-88.
4. Miami Heat
- Facebook – 15.1 Million
- Instagram – 3.71 Million
- Twitter – 4.67 Million
- Championships – 3 (2006, 2012, 2013)
- Founded 1988
- History: 1988-present
- Arena: American Airlines Arena
- Best Player: Dwyane Wade
The Miami Heat is one of the top 5 most popular teams in the NBA because they won three NBA championships and they’re also on rank 3 with a most winning streak.
The team was founded in 1988, but the team’s performance is not as resultful. But the team’s popularity starting to climb in the 1900s after former head coach Pat Riley became the team president. Under Riley’s leadership, he recruited Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway to help the Heat advance to playoff contehttps://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/wadedw01.htmlnder.
After the departure of Mourning and Hardway in 2001 and 2002, the Heat drafted Dwyane Wade in the 2003 NBA draft. Wade instantly became the star of the team. Wade and Shaquille O’Neal team up to lead the Heat to their very first NBA Final against Dallas Mavericks in 2006. They defeated the Mavericks in a 4-2 series and became the 2003 NBA champion. Wade averaged 27.2 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game in the regular season. And 28.4 points, 5.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds per playoff game in 2005-06.
The Heat recruited superstar LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010. They created the “Big Three” with Wade, James, and Bosh. The “Big Three” led the Heat to back-to-back NBA Championship in 2012 and 2013. The fans supporting the team grew as the team achieved a franchise record of 27 winning streaks in the 2012-13 season. They became the 3rd team in NBA history to have the longest winning streak.
3. Chicago Bulls
- Facebook – 17.6 Million
- Instagram – 4.77 Million
- Twitter – 4.11 Million
- Championships – 6 (1991-93, 1996-98)
- Founded: 1966
- History: 1966-present
- Arena: United Center
- Best Player: Michael Jordan
The Chicago Bulls is one of the best teams in NBA history during the 1990s. They were known to have the greatest NBA dynasties history with six NBA championships (two three-consecutive NBA championships between 1991 and 1998). The man who led the Bulls to this achieved this accomplishment was Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, along with his partner Scottie Pippen, and coach Phil Jackson.
The Bulls were holding the best records with the most games won in one season. They won 72 games during the 1995-1996 NBA regular season until Golden State Warriors overtook them with 73 games during the 2015-16 NBA regular season.
Jordan was the icon player who draws a crowd to watch him every game. Jordan is also known for “Air Jordan” due to his signature dunk from the free-throw line in the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest. He averaged 30.1 points, 5.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game in his career. He averaged 33.4 points, 5.7 assists, and 6.4 rebounds per playoff game.
The video below was a documentary video of the road leading to Chicago Bulls 1998 championship which was not available until 2020.
The Bulls’ achievement during Michael Jordan’s era makes them our rank 3 with the most popular teams in NBA history. Even though they failed to live up to the expectation after Jordan’s era, but the fans found their player to support when Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah led the team to win 62 games in the 2010-11 season.
2. Golden State Warriors
- Facebook – 11.6 Million
- Instagram – 13.2 Million
- Twitter – 6.38 Million
- Championships – 6 (1947, 1956, 1975, 2015, 2017, 2018)
- Founded: 1946
- History: 1946-present
- Philadelphia Warriors – 1946-1962
- San Francisco Warriors – 1962-1971
- Golden State Warriors – 1971-present
- Arena: Chase Center
- Best Player: Stephen Curry
The Warriors have a history of six championships in their franchise. Their first championship was in 1947 (Basketball Association of America BAA). The Hall of Famers Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, and Neil Johnston led the Warriors to their second championship in 1956. After struggling for nearly 20 years, the Warriors once again obtain star players Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes to lead the Warriors to their third championship.
The team struggled for the next 40 years until they drafted Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA draft. Curry along with Klay Thompson help the Warriors to regain their former glory with their fourth NBA championships in 2015. The Warriors continue to win a back-to-back championship in 2017 and 2018 with the help of Kevin Durant.
But the player who helps led the team to their current glory is Stephen Curry. He is known for his long-range shot are close to the half court line. Curry naturally draws fans to support them, and that’s what makes the Warriors the second most popular teams in the NBA. Curry averages 31.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game. He is second in most three-pointer made in all-time in NBA history.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
- Facebook – 21.5 Million
- Instagram – 9.96 Million
- Twitter – 8.15 Million
- Championships – 17 ( (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020)
- Founded: 1947
- History: 1947-present
- Minneapolis Lakers 1947-1960
- Los Angeles Lakers 1960-present
- Arena: Staples Center
- Best Player: Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Anthony Davis
Los Angeles Lakers are on our top list for the popular teams in the NBA due to a number of factors. First is the 17 championships in the franchise history with the most recent one is 2020, second is the players throughout the course of history who attract many fans to support the team. The Lakers have the most fans bases across the social media platforms.
There are a few All-Star players in the course of Lakers’ history that draw fans to watch them. These players are Magic Johnson “Showtime”, Bryant & O’Neal duo, and James & Davis duo.
Johnson is definitely the star of the Lakers because his offensive playstyle as a point guard led the team to five championships. Although Johnson was listed as a point guard, his height at 6’9″ didn’t stop him from taking up the role as a starting center. During the 1980 NBA Finals, Johnson replaced injured Abdul-Jabbar in Game 6 as the starting center. He scored 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists to led the Lakers to become the 1980 NBA champions. He was named NBA’s final MVP in 1980.
After Johnson is the O’Neal and Bryant Dynasty from 1996 to 2004. Both great players help the Lakers to have a three-peats championship from 2000-2002.
The advantage of having home court during the NBA Playoff and NBA finals will boost the home team to another level. If you never been to a home game during opening season or playoff, we suggest you attend one to feel the energy the fans support.