Chinese Names for All 30 NBA Teams | Chinese Language Blog

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Chinese Names for All 30 NBA Teams Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in Vocabulary

While China may be known more for kung fu (功夫 – gōng fu) and ping pong (乒乓 – pīng pāng) – both English words that were borrowed from Chinese, by the way – basketball (篮球 – lán qiú) is becoming more and more popular in the Middle Kingdom. Take a walk around any college campus in China, and you’re sure to find the ping pong tables deserted and the basketball courts packed. If you’re looking to make friends with guys in China, b-ball is a great topic of discussion. Of course, there are Chinese names for all of the teams and players in the league, so you’ll need to do a little bit of studying before confidently chatting about the NBA in Chinese. Here are the Chinese names for all 30 NBA teams to get you started:

Image by Hobbies on a Budget from flickr.com.

Eastern Conference
东部联盟
dōng bù lián méng

Cavaliers
Heat
Pacers
Bulls
Knicks
Celtics
Pistons
Raptors
Nets
Wizards
Magic
76ers
Bobcats
Bucks
Hawks
骑士
热火
步行者
公牛
尼克斯
凯尔特人
活塞
猛龙
篮网
奇才
魔术
76人
山猫
雄鹿
老鹰
qí shì
rè huǒ
bù xíng zhě
gōng niú
ní kè sī
kǎi ěr tè rén
huó sāi
měng lóng
lán wǎng
qí cái
mó shù
qī shí liù rén
shān māo
xióng lù
lǎo yīng

Western Conference
西部联盟
xī bù lián méng

Thunder
Warriors
Clippers
Lakes
Kings
Spurs
Mavericks
Rockets
Nuggets
Trailblazers
Suns
Grizzlies
Timberwolves
Pelicans
Jazz
雷霆
勇士
快船
湖人
国王
马刺
小牛
火箭
掘金
开拓者
太阳
灰熊
森林狼
鹈鹕
爵士
léi tíng
yǒng shì
kuài chuán
hú rén
guó wáng
mǎ cì
xiǎo niú
huǒ jiàn
jué jīn
kāi tà zhě
tài yáng
huī xióng
sēn lín láng
tí hú
jué shì

Technically speaking, you could add the Chinese word for team (队 – duì) after each name. That’s not really necessary, though, as long as it’s clear that you’re talking about basketball.

Image by Thomas Galves from flickr.com.

Sample Conversation

Here’s a sample of a short conversation you might have with someone about hoops in Chinese:

Do you like basketball?
你喜欢篮球吗?
nǐ xǐ huan lán qiú ma

Yes (I do). How about you?
喜欢. 你呢?
xǐ huan, nǐ ne

I like it very much.
我很喜欢.
wǒ hěn xǐ huan

Which team do you like?
你喜欢哪个队?
nǐ xǐ huan nǎ ge duì

My favorite is the Heat, and you?
我最喜欢热火队,你呢?
wǒ zuì xǐ huan rè huǒ duì, nǐ ne

I don’t like the Heat. I like the Bulls.
我不喜欢热火. 我喜欢公牛队.
wǒ bù xǐ huan rè huǒ. wǒ xǐ huan gōng niú duì

That should get you started talking about the NBA and the various teams. For some more advanced practice, check out this conversation video all about hoops:

Chinese Nicknames

Before we go, it’s worth mentioning that there are some interesting nicknames for NBA players in Chinese. Some are direct translations of their English nicknames, such as Allen Iverson AKA “The Answer” 答案 – dá’àn). Others are a bit more entertaining and definitely Chinese style:

LeBron James = “Little Emperor”
小皇帝 – xiǎo huáng dì

Dirk Nowitzki = “German Racecar”
德国战车 – dé guó zhàn chē

Tim Duncan = “Stone Buddha”
石佛 – shí fú

Carmelo Anthony = “Sweet Melon”
甜瓜 – tián guā

Richard Hamilton = “The Man in the Mask”
面具人 – miàn jù rén

Toss out some of those nicknames, and you’re sure to impress with your Chinese skills. Unfortunately I can’t help you with your on the court skills…

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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