Basketball Team Names Inspired By Boats

The Warriors beat the Celtics 107-88 in a game that was close in the first half, then suddenly was very out of hand by the fourth quarter.

But that’s not what this issue is about.

I was invited to a delightful boat party yesterday hosted by Float On Rentals (if you’re in the Austin area, feel free to check ’em out).

It was a fun day in the sun. More importantly, it got me thinking about pro and college team names that are inspired by boats. Let’s take a look!

Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Lakers are named after the lakes in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers are named after a popular kind of ship in San Diego during the 19th century. The Clippers moved shortly after they had just moved to San Diego from Buffalo. I suppose you could say the ships sailed off into the night.

Or you could say owner Donald Sterling wanted to move the team to his hometown. Either way works.

Valparaiso Beacons

This is the newest boat-adjacent team name, having just debuted in 2021. Valpo’s previous team name was the Crusaders, but there’s some highly questionable history among crusaders, so the school opted for Beacons instead. And now they have a delightful lighthouse as their logo, guiding ships to safety. How lovely!

Buccaneers, Pirates, Vikings (Multiple Teams)

Schools like Charleston Southern, Seton Hall, and Cleveland State have names that all basically fall under the “pirate” moniker. All these things ride (and sometimes pillage) ships, but I’m not sure what the best of the bunch is. I suppose it depends on where you grew up. For example, a Scandinavian fan would prefer Vikings, probably, while eyepatch wearers might opt for Pirates.

Let’s also give a shout-out to the University of New Orleans Privateers. Points for being unique. And the Wright State Raiders once had a red-headed Viking as a mascot.

Navy Midshipmen

A midshipman is a role within the Navy. Duties include instructing other cadets and making sure supply and reserve boxes are fully stocked. It’s also, per the dictionary, an “American toadfish with dorsal and anal fins that run most of the length of the body and rows of light organs on the underside.” What a fun dual name!

Vanderbilt Commodores

Vanderbilt’s mascot, Mr. C, is a reference to Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made his fortune in shipping. So, yes, there’s probably some railroading going on, but we’re also getting a bit of boat action in. Even better, Mr. C was voted Sexiest Mascot in America last year. That’s very impressive.

Long Beach State Beach

Cal State Long Beach University includes “beach” in the nickname, and the school recently introduced a shark as its mascot. That’s TWO nautical references from one school. Congrats on the victory, Long Beach State.