Here are the 12 best team fandoms in the NBA

The 2017 Fandom 250 features the fans of 12 NBA teams.

Rankings are coming. Specifically, FanSided’s Fandom 250, the ultimate ranking of fanbases, sports-related and otherwise. Turns out the NBA, being a sports league, is a particularly great incubator for fandoms, 12 of which, listed below, made the master ranking.

The qualifying fandoms in the NBA category are all professional basketball franchises, complete with the historical banners and baggage their fans carry. (There’s a time and a place to talk about the Jordan diehards, LeBron evangelists and Steph stans. It’s called the Sports Figures category.)

NBA fans find their teams in a range of ways and they commit themselves for a number of reasons. Some are born-and-raised fans, from cities with a dearth of professional sports teams or a dearth of professional sports successes. Some inherit fandoms; some form their own. Some, many (maybe even all, in some way), latch onto a transcendent star or dynasty, drawn in by a particular moment in sports-time, only to wake up seasons later, trusting the process or scouting Latvian draft prospects. Because the best fans are married to their teams, for better or worse.

The NBA is one of the most accessible professional sports. Not in the sense that playing in the league is especially achievable for the average sports fan — though there’s an argument to be made that Stephen Curry changed those optics, too — but accessible in the sense that fans know their teams, form attachments to their teams, on personal levels that feel unique to the NBA. The 5-on-5 format, the size of the court and the way the sport is shot for TV, combined with the relatively lax regulation of players’ personal lives and individual teams’ own embrace of social media branding has resulted in a league known for being, in a word, fun.

And fans who are having fun — even when their teams are utter garbage — are happy fans. They’re good and loyal fans. They’re the best fans.

Here are the 12 best NBA team fandoms — unranked and in alphabetical order — you can expect to see on the Fandom 250 this year:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New York Knicks
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Toronto Raptors

Check back in December to see where each of these NBA team’s fandom ranks.

What is the FanSided Fandom 250?

The Fandom 250 is the ultimate ranking of fandoms. From sports teams and movie franchises to Instagram celebrities and brands, if something has an avid, sometimes rabid, fanbase, FanSided wants to honor those fans and — in the spirit of healthy competition — rank ‘em.

The Fandom 250 is divided into 16 categories: NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, Soccer, NCAA, Sports Figures, Celebrities, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Comics, Gaming, Brands, Internet Famous and Other. All 250 qualifying fandoms will be ranked both within their categories and against the field, so fans can see how the object of their devotion stacks up against its peers and in the fan landscape at large.

Qualifying fandoms will be announced by category every Tuesday through early December, with the official ranking — and the big reveal of No. 1 fandom — announced on Dec. 12.

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