|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/05/14 11:29 北京青年报|
Two weeks ago, I discussed the meaning of the team names in the National Basketball Association's Eastern Conference. This week we move on to the Western Conference.
TheMemphisGrizzlies: Giant "grizzly bears" range the Rocky Mountains in the US and Canada. They do not live anywhere near the city of Memphis, which is on the Mississippi. Then why the name "Grizzlies"? The reason is that the Grizzlies were originally based in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Canada's Pacific coast, where grizzly bears do live.
TheMinnesotaTimberwolves: Minnesota, like Memphis, takes its team name from wildlife, but the Timberwolves' name actually makes sense. Minnesota, which is located on the border with Canada, contains large expanses of forested wilderness where timberwolves make their home.
TheSanAntonioSpurs: The mythology of the "cowboy", solitary, tough and self-reliant, has long been an important part of the American national identity, particularly in Texas, where San Antonio is located. While the average Texan today is far more likely to work in an office than on a horse, the cowboy remains an important cultural symbol in Texas. Spurs are sharp metal devices attached to a cowboy's boots. By jabbing a horse's flanks with the spurs, the cowboy can encourage his mount to run faster. The Spurs' team logo includes a picture of a spur.
TheDallasMavericks: The name of the Dallas team also reflects Texas' cowboy past. A "maverick" is a rebellious person who refuses to obey social norms. The word is derived from the name of Samuel Maverick (1803-1870), a Texas rancher who refused to brand his cattle.
TheHoustonRockets: The NASA Mission Control Center is located in Houston; hence the name "Rockets". Ironically, no actual rockets are ever launched into space from Houston -- launches take place at a separate facility in Florida.
TheUtahJazz: Jazz is a uniquely American musical style invented by African-Americans in the South. Utah is a deeply conservative Rocky Mountain state with few African-Americans and no connection to jazz music. The reason for the name? The team started in New Orleans, one of the birthplaces of jazz, and subsequently moved to Utah.
TheDenverNuggets: The city of Denver, Colorado, arose during a gold rush in 1859. Searching for nuggets of gold and silver was important in a Rocky Mountain state where even today mining plays a significant role in the economy.
TheLosAngelesLakers: A look at a map of the Los Angeles area shows that there are virtually no lakes in the metropolitan area. Why then the name "Lakers"? The name only makes sense if you know where the team was originally located -- Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" thanks to the abundance of small lakes within its boundaries. Minnesota is also on the world's largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior.
The Lakers' move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles parallels a general demographic trend in America over the last several decades: the nation's South and West have boomed, while the population in the North has grown relatively slowly. In fact, all of California's NBA teams (the Lakers, the Clippers, the Warriors and the Kings) originally played in Northern cities and then moved to California.
ThePortlandTrailblazers: During the 1800s, the United States expanded westward to the Pacific. As the pioneers traveled west, they blazed trails for others to follow. One of the most famous of these trails was the Oregon Trail, which led from the state of Missouri in the center of the country to the state of Oregon in its northwestern corner. Today Portland is the largest city in the state of Oregon. The name of its NBA team honors the pioneers who traveled on the Oregon Trail.
TheSeattleSupersonics: As a result of its association with Boeing, Seattle has long been a center of the airplane manufacturing industry. Although Boeing recently moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago, it maintains a large manufacturing presence in Washington State. The Boeing 747 and other jetliners are built in Seattle. The name "Supersonics" honors Seattle's contribution to the jet age.
TheLosAngelesClippers: During the mid-1800s, fast sailing ships known as clippers transported goods and passengers across the oceans. Before the building of transcontinental railroads, California too relied on such ships for much of its trade. The clipper ship era ended with the advent of steamships, but their memory lives on in the name of one of Los Angeles' two NBA teams. The Clippers first acquired the name when they played in the oceanside city of San Diego. The team later moved up the coast a bit to LA, but kept the name.
ThePhoenixSuns: The natural environment of Phoenix is a torrid desert. For its existence as a big city, Phoenix depends on the air conditioner and imported water. The team's name recognizes Phoenix's hot, sunny climate.
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