The NBA Finals are set, with Dallas heading to Miami for Game 1 on Tuesday. We can't tell you who's going to win, but thanks to an article Scott Allen wrote for us a couple seasons ago, we can tell you what both teams were nearly named:
A Dallas radio station sponsored a name-the-team contest and recommended the finalists to team owner Donald Carter, who ultimately chose Mavericks over Wranglers and Express. The 41 fans who suggested Mavericks each won a pair of tickets to the season opener and one of those fans, Carla Springer, won a drawing for season tickets. Springer, a freelance writer, said the nickname “represents the independent, flamboyant style of the Dallas people.” That’s certainly an apt description for current team owner Mark Cuban.
In October 1986, the owners of Miami’s expansion franchise selected Stephanie Freed’s Heat submission from more than 20,000 entries, which also included Sharks, Tornadoes, Beaches, and Barracudas.
If your team didn't make it this year but you're still curious about its nickname, here are the stories behind all 30 NBA team names.