What Happened to the Buffalo Braves?

in #blog9 months ago (edited)

The Buffalo Brave throwback uniforms dropped this year are straight fire. There’s no better way to celebrate the Braves with the new waves of fans on board the Clippers train with the addition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the roster.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise so the Braves throwback is perfect timing to introduce fans to the rich history of the team.

The franchise was founded as the Buffalo Braves and were active from 1970-78, joining as one of three expansion franchises in 1970-71 along with the Portland Trailblazers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Braves played out of the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium and made three consecutive playoff appearances through 1974-76. 

The team had only the third choice of scheduling dates at their arena, behind NHL team the Buffalo Sabres and Canisius Golden Griffins College basketball team.
From 1971-75 the Braves were forced to play 16 home games at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto with the franchise hoping to attract international exposure outside of Western New York.

Following the 1977-78 seasons Braves owner John Y. Brown Jr. swapped franchises with Boston Celtics owner Irv Levin following NBA owners voting 21-1 vote in favor of the move

The franchise was uprooted from Buffalo and across the country to California to become the San Diego Clippers.
Due to differing state regulations in Massachusetts and New York, changing the name of the owner was not a legal option so rosters, coaching staffs and the name of the franchise were exchanged.

“My understanding, as best as I can remember, is that the current Celtics team is a successor to the Buffalo Braves”

For this reason it’s argued that the Boston Celtics are actually a successor to the Braves as the the business entity owning the Boston Celtics in 1978 effectively moved to San Diego to become the business entity that owned the Clippers. 

“My understanding, as best as I can remember, is that the current Celtics team is a successor to the Buffalo Braves,’’ Russ Granik, former deputy commissioner of the NBA has said back in 2012.

The ‘Braves’ moniker was dropped by San Diego in favor of the Clippers in reference to the city being known for the great sailing ships that passed through San Diego Bay.

n 1981-82 Levin sold the franchise to Donald Sterling and in 1984 he moved the Clippers north to LA without league approval.

He was fined $25 million by the NBA for violating league rules and a lawsuit filed demanding the franchise be returned to San Diego. The league also threatened to dissolve the franchise. 

Sterling then filed his own lawsuit against the NBA for $100 million which was ultimately dropped when the league agreed to drop their own suit against him. The team stayed in LA and fines were decreased to $6 million. 

The Clippers who have remained in LA since ‘84 are legally and technically the true heirs to the Celtics and their 13 rings (prior to 1981) and it’s Boston which has the short track record of the Braves. 

The business entity that owned the Boston Celtics is now the LA Clippers, technically. Despite the facts, it’s not recognized in the NBA so the Clippers and legacy of the Braves still own zero championships.

Leonard and George will be hoping to change all of this and they’ll be doing it in pretty cool throwbacks of the Buffalo Braves. 

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My passion for sports led me to create Wolfgang Sports in 2017 as a way to connect American & British sports culture. 

My writing is driven by a fascination for sports culture focusing on popular culture, rookie players, data analytics and sports card collecting.