Origins of Famous Sports Team Names
April 15, 2015

Georgetown Hoyas – From the Latin phrase and school motto Hoya Saxa!, meaning “We’ll Come Up With Something Better Later!”

Purdue Boilermakers – Contrary to belief, the name is not derived from the alcoholic beverage, but from the local craftsmen who built furnaces and boilers while severely intoxicated.

Minnesota Timberwolves – The only Lower 48 state with free-roaming packs of wolves, the name references the animals that killed and ate the winner of the name-the-team contest.

Washington Capitals – Signifying Washington, D.C., the nation’s epicenter for old people to send their angry emails written in all capital letters.

Portland Trailblazers – A reflection of the pioneers that forged the Oregon Trail and the formal sports jackets they were buried in after perishing from dysentery.

Denver Nuggets – Alludes to the Rush of 1850, when prospectors flocked to the area to mine the hills for small pieces of fried chicken.

Minnesota Twins – Located near the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the name refers to the area’s extremely high rate of conjoined births.

Cleveland Indians – Honoring the proud peoples who used to inhabit the land after they emigrated from Mumbai, India and kicked out the Iroquois who lived there first.

Washington Wizards – Stems from a dark part of the team’s history when it was owned by the leader of the KKK who was way-too-fucking-into Wizards of Waverly Place.

Tampa Bay Rays – A shortening of the team’s original name, the Tampa Bay Ray Romano Rays.

Los Angeles Lakers – Formerly located in Minnesota, the franchise’s name draws on the state’s famous slogan, “The Land of 10,000 Ricki Lake Fans.”

New York Yankees – Owners chose this classic American moniker to differentiate themselves from the other pinstriped team of the time, the New York Slavery Supporters.

Green Bay Packers – Named after the team’s first sponsor, Indian Packing Company, whose employees frequently packed up their shit and left after one winter in Green Bay.

Philadelphia Phillies – No crazy backstory here. Phillies is simply short for Philharmonic Orchestra of the Philippines, where the team played their home games before a stadium was built.

Indianapolis Colts – Designed to honor Indiana’s tradition of horse breeding and the Colt pistols used to put down horses that were no longer good at football.

Duke Blue Devils – From the French “les Diables Bleus,” the nickname of a World War I French infantry battalion possessed by the ghosts of time-travelling members of the Blue Man Group.

Indiana Hoosiers – A nickname for the employees of Indiana businessman Samuel Hoosier who owned a mill that manufactured inspirational sports movie screenplays.

Washington Redskins – This currently controversial name is far less offensive than the original: the Washington Small Pox Blanket Gaylords.

Cleveland Browns – Named after original owner, Paul Brown, who loved poo.

Tony Alfieri is a syndicated columnist for

The Higgs Weldon is a humor website with funny articles, cartoons, and one liners. It was started by the Los Angeles stand-up comedy community, but takes submissions from everybody. Please read and enjoy our jokes!


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