With the NBA finals in full swing and NFL preseason set to begin in less than a month, I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a crossover between America’s favorite sports. Most major cities across the country hold at least two professional sports teams. And, whether it’s LA bringing in stars, or Detroit never being good, the teams in each city have more in common with each other than you might think.
With that being said, I’ve listed the four cities that I think have the most similar NBA and NFL teams below. In my reasoning, I’ve factored in and compared a multitude of things such as competitiveness, roster makeup, and even playstyle. So, get ready to think outside the box and decide for yourself which of these cities has the most similar teams.
Note: This list is in no particular order
Houston Rockets X Houston Texans
The Rockets and Texans are similar to each other for all the wrong reasons. Both have simply just imploded over the course of the last year. They’ve gone from near championship contenders to being at the bottom of their respective leagues.
Things started to go bad for the Texans when they blew a 24-0 lead to the Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs. This was reminiscent of when the Rockets were up 3-2 on the Warriors back in 2018, but could not close out as they shot 7-44 from three in game seven. Despite these mishaps, the future still looked bright for both teams…until it didn’t.
In March of 2020, Bill O Brien and the Texans made one of the worst trades in NFL history, sending DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for a second-round pick. This can be compared to the Rockets getting rid of CP3 and eventually Russell Westbrook as well. In both cases, the Texans and Rockets got rid of players that their franchise guys depended on.
Speaking of franchise guys, the Texans would go on to lose JJ Watt, while the Rockets lost James Harden. Even just a few years ago, the idea that Watt and Harden would not finish their careers in Houston was incomprehensible. Unfortunately, this has become a sad reality.
The Texans also appear to have lost their other face of the franchise in Deshaun Watson. Harden and Watson both left through conflicts with the front office, seeking to be traded into better situations. Harden regularly caused problems and managed to force his way out. Watson on the other hand currently faces legal trouble but seemingly plans to hold out regardless.
Now, both teams are in a bad spot with no talent and limited draft capital due to aggressive trades. The GMs and coaches for each team were also fired. The only thing that’s clear now, is that Houston has two long rebuilds ahead of them.
Phoenix Suns X Arizona Cardinals
Unlike Houston, Phoenix hosts two sports teams with arguably the brightest futures of any. The Suns struggled for the latter part 2010s, not finishing above .500 from 2014-2019. The Cardinals also have not finished above .500 since their conference championship run in 2015.
These woes are coming to an end, however, due to the arrival of two young superstars. The Cardinals drafted QB Kyler Murray in 2019 who won Offensive Rookie of the Year. Murray is the perfect fit for the modern NFL as an athletic, mobile QB. The Suns drafted Devin Booker in 2015, who has recently exploded onto the scene as a talented guard who can score on all three levels.
However, young stars are not the only things that have put the Phoenix teams into title contention. Both teams have also been able to bring in game-changing veterans. In the 2020 offseason, the Suns traded with the Thunder for guard Chris Paul to pair with Devin Booker. Paul has proven to be a massive pickup and is on pace to lead the Suns to a championship.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins, giving Kyler Murray the most reliable weapon in the league to throw to. They also brought in JJ Watt to help defensively, and the hope is that he will be the piece that carries the Cardinals back into the postseason.
Interestingly, both Phoenix teams also share a similar play style, in the sense that they have modernized their offenses. The NFL has become all about the passing game and the Cardinals run Kliff Kingsbury’s famous “air raid” offense to put up points. The NBA has become all about three-pointers and the Suns have two guards in Paul and Booker that can shoot from anywhere. In fact, the Suns ranked sixth in three-point percentage this season.
Phoenix and the entire state of Arizona have a lot to look forward to, and I expect multiple NBA and NFL championships to be on the horizon.
Golden State Warriors X San Francisco 49ers
If there was one word to describe sports teams in the bay area it would be “dynasty”. The 49ers had one of the greatest NFL dynasties of all time in the ’80s and ’90s. The Warriors are slowly exiting a dynastic period following five straight finals appearances from 2015-2019.
In addition to cherished history, both San Francisco teams have many similarities in the present day. The 49ers feature one of the best rosters in the NFL when healthy with Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, and George Kittle. The Warriors roster, despite being somewhat depleted, is still talented as well. They have the splash bros in Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, along with Draymond Green.
As mentioned before, the Warriors have been in title contention for most of the 2010s. Not to be outdone, the 49ers haven’t been bad either, making at least the conference championship each year from 2011-2013. Most recently, both teams made their respective championship games in 2019.
Both teams have also had their runs as contenders paused due to injury. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant both got hurt in the 2019 NBA finals. Durant left in free agency, and Thompson has not been healthy since. The 49ers had the worst injury bug in the NFL this season with Jimmy Garoppolo, Richard Sherman, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, and much more missing time.
Despite these setbacks, both the 49ers and Warriors are set to come back healthy next season and hope to make a championship run.
Los Angeles Lakers X Los Angeles Rams
The LA teams always have a big market and attract the biggest stars. The Lakers and Rams are no exception to this. The Rams have (arguably), the most dominant player in the NFL in Aaron Donald, while the Lakers have (arguably), the most dominant player in the NBA in Lebron James.
Both teams disappointed their fan bases for most of the 2010s with the Rams not finishing above .500 from 2010-2017. The Lakers didn’t finish above .500 from 2013-2019. However, both squads have turned it around since, carried by their superstars. The Rams made the Super Bowl in 2018 and the Lakers won the NBA championship in 2020.
The Rams and Lakers have also been great at surrounding their superstars with talent. The Lakers brought in Anthony Davis to pair with Lebron James, which ultimately led to them winning it all. Meanwhile, the Rams have added CB Jalen Ramsey to pair with Aaron Donald defensively, a nightmarish duo. The Rams also fixed their quarterback problems by trading for Matthew Stafford earlier this offseason.
So, despite a bit of a fall-off since championship runs, both LA teams are part of a group of favorites to win their respective leagues this coming season.
Which city’s teams do you think are most similar? Did I miss any?