You would never know it if you came here now, but once upon a time - or twice, actually, if you count the 13-game stint the Buffalo Bisons had before heading to the Tri-Cities of Illinois in their journey to becoming today's Atlanta Hawks - the dead industrial city of Buffalo, New York was a real basketball hotbed. Hell, all of Upstate New York loved its hoops. It still does, in fact; there are some great college teams here, and all hoops fans rally around the Syracuse University basketball team come March. The Orangemen are the one team every basketball fan in the state agrees on. But the purpose of this list is professional basketball - the NLL, BAA, and NBA. And as far as that goes, the region's most notable team is probably the Buffalo Braves, an NBA team that had the misfortune of getting in just after Buffalo's decline started and ran for only eight years. The Braves still have a visible imprint on the area, and Braves gear is fairly common. Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley has fond memories of his rookie year, which he spent with the Braves. "Aw man, it was wild. Them fans in Buffalo, they were crazy. They loved the Braves," Dantley said. Bob McAdoo, one of the NBA's underrated legends, spent his most prolific years with the Braves, and entered the Hall of Fame as a Brave despite his accomplishments with more prolific teams. "They called us thoroughbreds," was his remark. Dr. Jack Ramsay, the legendary coach who took the Portland Trail Blazers to their only title, had good years with the Braves, and Moses Malone also called Buffalo home for a brief time.
The departure of the Braves - and the subsequent refusal of the Los Angeles Clippers, who they eventually became, to refuse to acknowledge their past in Buffalo - scattered the loyalties of the area's NBA fans. There's barely any team uniformity for the league, but what little uniformity that does exist is for.... The Boston Celtics. Now, this is just absurd to me. No offense to the city of Boston, but sports politics quite clearly dictate that no Buffalo person shall, under any circumstances, cheer for the Boston Bruins or New England Patriots. Baseball loyalties tend to be more flexible, and while Buffalo is home to a large contingent of Red Sox fans, it's still dominantly Yankees territory. Therefore, I'll grant a pass to those fans of baseball and basketball who cheer both the Red Sox and Celtics. Those who like the Yankees and Celtics, though, come off as front-runners. I mean, we teach our kids in Buffalo to spend 15 minutes a day staring at pictures of Tom Brady, Zdano Chara, and David Ortiz, learning to HATE them, but when it comes to the Celtics, it's "oh, they're cool."? It doesn't wash. Maybe it's the Irish name or the 17 titles? Really folks, we have to stand up for our sports principles, so in the interest of trying to make Buffalo people into better basketball fans, here is a list of NBA teams Buffalo fans can (and SHOULD) place above the Boston Celtics.
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