Texas has a strong and prominent sports culture that doesn’t lack in the basketball area. There is an abundance of basketball teams in the state, including those in big leagues like the NBA and aspiring superstars in college leagues. There have been some notable NBA franchises establish and grow from Texas to the giants they are today.
Texas has also produced many great and legendary basketball players that are an integral part of the history of basketball in the state.
We’ll show you some of the biggest and most popular basketball teams in Texas, as well as some legendary Texas basketballers.
NBA Basketball Teams in Texas
NBA is comprised of 30 teams across America, with almost every region having a representation. Apart from the Northwestern part of the US, the league is generally well balanced in its national footprint. However, Texas is a notable exception as it has three teams in the NBA. Perhaps because of the sizable population, more customers are paying to watch the game.
Check out the NBA Teams in Texas:
Championships: 1 (2011)
Location: Dallas, Texas
Arena: American Airlines Center
The Dallas Mavericks were founded in 1980, making them the most recently established franchise in Texas. Like so many other expansion teams, there were notable bumps early on in their journey. Just three years into the league, they got into the second round of the playoffs and made a lasting mark on fans promising the team will not be irrelevant in the league for the coming decades.
During their prime years with Dirk Nowitzki, they developed a strong culture and fanbase that helped them sell out many tickets. They have one Championship game in their belt, gotten in 2011 by derailing the Miami Heat, which was headlined by the Big Three (LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade) at the time. It was then that Dirk Nowitzki was awarded the NBA Finals MVP and proved that he is one of the best players to play in the league and also becoming an immediate Mount Rushmore level athlete in Texas state.
The Mavericks play in the American Airlines Center, and their players have won various NBA season awards. Jason Kid and Luka Doncic won the Rookie of the Year in 1995 and 2019, respectively. Also, Avery Johnson won the Coach of the year in 2006. Mark Cuban is the team’s owner, often seen as passionate and opinionated, which keeps the team in the spotlight. Actions like big free agent signings and quotable interviews in the media about the NBA keeps the Dallas Mavericks on the news.
However, they have been struggling with inconsistent performance in subsequent years. More recently, they have acquired Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic, some of the most promising players today, so their future seems bright.
Championships: 2 (1994,1995)
Location: Houston, Texas
Arena: Toyota Center
The Houston Rockets was founded in 1967 with the name San Diego Rockets. This team played basketball in San Diego till 1972, when the team was bought and moved to Houston. They then became the first Texas team to join the league and has had a long history of ups and down depending on the years:
From 1976 to 1987, the Houston Rockets got to three Conference finals in the 1976-1977, 1980-81, and 1985-86 seasons. The star of the team Moses Malone went on to win the MVP in 1979, and the era of Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson dubbed the “Twin Towers” helped them stay competitive for the rest of the decade. The media labeled them the next biggest NBA dynasty after they got to the finals in 1986, but they couldn’t sustain the momentum because of injuries and widespread drug use in the league.
From 1993 to 1995, they won Championships back-to-back and established their position as a league-wide dynasty even though it was short-lived. Since 2012, James Harden has taken the lead as the team’s leader and one of the most energetic scorers in the NBA. His mastery on the court and support from other role players has given the team a string of successes taking them to the 2017-2018 finals.
The Houston Rockets are historically known as one of the most successful teams in the league, with 4 NBA Finals appearances and winning 2 of them. Additionally, their players Moses Malone, James Harden, and Hakeem Olajuwon have won league MVPs, while Steve Francis and Ralph Sampson have won the Rookie of the Year awards.
San Antonio Spurs
Championships: 5 (1999,2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Arena: AT&T Center
San Antonio Spurs was initially called the Dallas Chaparrals when they were founded in 1967. They played in the AMA league, a competitor of the NBA in the 1970s. By 1973, they had changed their name to San Antonio Spurs after the former owners leased the team, and they moved. Today, they are the most decorated Texas-NBA team, having won five titles since 1999, giving them the highest win percentage in the whole league.
In their first 20 years, they were relatively unsuccessful, and the major aspect of their games that stood out was George Gervin from 1976-1985. In the 1977-1978 season, they got to the Eastern Conference Finals only to lose even after leading the Washington Bullets three games to one. In 1989, the draft of College Superstar David Robinson ushered in a new era for the team.
David Robinson almost single-handedly changed the game for the Spurs, which led them to win their first division title in 7 years. For the rest of the 1990s, the Spurs finished at the top of their Western Conference in almost all the years until Robinson’s back injury in 1995-96 season that sidelined him, and as a result, there was a decline in their success.
In the years after that, from 1999 to 2014, the Spurs played in 6 NBA Finals and won the title 5 of those times in:
This constant slew of success also affected their players and coaches as Tim Duncan got 2 MVPs and their coach Greg Popovich won 3 Coach of the Year awards. New talent coming into the team like Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, and Tony Parker was also a huge factor in the team’s success.
Popular College Basketball Teams in Texas
The Baylor Bears represent Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and they play in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball competition. They typically compete as one of the teams in the Big 12 Conference, and their home games are held in Ferrell Center, and their present coach is Scott Drew. You can spot them by their unique green and gold colors.
Houston Cougars men
The Houston Cougar’s men basketball team reps the University of Houston on Texas with its first season in 1945. They play in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball competition, and the university is part of the American Athletic Conference. They have made a record six appearances in the NCAA Tournament Final Four, which is the 10th most of all time. Houston Cougars use a unique scarlet and white color combination that has been part of their image over the years.
Texas Longhorns men’s basketball
The Texas Longhorns men’s basketball represents the University of Texas in the NCAA Division I intercollegiate men’s basketball. They have a rank of 17th in their overall victories among all of the NCAA Division I college basketball participants. Known as one of the most popular college teams in Texas, the Longhorns have 28 conference championship wins with a total appearance of 35 in the NCAA tournament.
Legendary Texas Basketball Players
You can barely make a list about the basketball legends without his name popping up, so it’s only natural that it will come first in this list of basketball players from Texas. Kevin Durant was one of the best freshmen in basketball back when he started his career. The Longhorns will always remember him as one of, if not the best, players to go one-and-done in their history.
He played only one season as a Longhorn player, and his stats were incredible. He had an average of 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and almost two blocks every game. His performance in his freshman season was so impressive that his No. 35 jerseys were retired before he got drafted into the NBA. Notably, he was also the first freshman player to win the Naismith Award. Kevin Durant went on to perform and set impressive records in the NBA.
Grant Hill is one of the league’s “what if” stories. He was once considered the player to carry on from Michael Jordan as the most talented player, but he could never live up to the hype because of constant injuries throughout his career. However, it doesn’t mean Grant Hill wasn’t a great player by his own right because he was an exceptional player.
He was so creative with the rock on his hands as a point forward and always surprised with the way he scored. Grant Hill is still considered by many as an underrated defender and has average career stats of 16.7 points, six rebounds, 4.1 dimes, and 0.6 blocks per game. He has made it to the 7 All-Stars, the Rookie of the Year award, and Olympic gold.
Chris was mostly held back by his sub-par team- the Toronto Raptors as they weren’t all that good in the league games. His later career saw him a part of the Big Three in the Miami Heats. Even though he played a lesser role as the third scoring option, they were on a path to the Championships. Overall, he displayed impressive gameplay throughout his career that has earned him a spot on this list.
Bosh was aware of his game’s defensive side and could stretch the floor with his excellent three-point shots. Even with a below-average height in basketball, he was an impressive ball-handler, showed great skill in bouncing, and was a dominant rebounder. His career averages are 19.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, and two dimes per game, earning him a 2-time NBA Champion and an 11-time All-Star.
Texas has a strong fanbase for each of the above teams and has shown a strong love for the game. Texas state has eight championships combined, making them the third in the NBA. When next you’re in Texas, be sure to check out any of the teams and experience it first-hand.