NBA

How Did the Golden State Warriors Get Their Name and Why Are They Called the Dubs?

For the modern NBA fan, the Golden State Warriors’ history may begin and end with the Steph Curry-led dynasty in the 2010s. But this would neglect a storied timeline full of great players and moments. The Warriors have a rich history worth celebrating well before Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson took the court. 

Anyone looking back at that history may wonder how the Warriors got their name. Let’s look back at how they got the name Warriors and also why they’re often called “The Dubs.” 

The Golden State Warriors’ history

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The most successful run of the Warriors history is when they won three titles in four seasons from 2015-18. That isn’t the only success they’ve experienced though. According to NBA.com’s Warriors History Index, the team has a long history with  some great players, including: 

  • Chris Mullin
  • Tim Hardaway
  • Al Attles
  • Mitch Richmond
  • Nate Thurmond
  • Rick Barry
  • Baron Davis
  • Wilt Chamberlain

Chamberlain may be the franchise’s greatest player. He scored 100 points while playing for the team in Philadelphia. Exactly 18 Warriors players have made the NBA Hall of Fame. They’ve won six championships and appeared in the Finals four other times. The Warriors won the league’s first-ever championship as well, raising the banner for the NBA’s inaugural 1946-1947 season. 

The Warriors have been around as long as the NBA has. But how did they come to be known as the Warriors? What’s the significance behind the team’s name? That story requires going further back into the history of the first city they played in: Philadelphia. 

How the Warriors got their name

Stephen Curry of the Warriors warms up | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

According to NBA.com, the Warriors were founded in 1946 when the city of Philadelphia was awarded a charter franchise. Philadelphia has quite a history to pull from, so the owners had plenty of ways they could go with the new team’s name. After all, in many respects, Philadelphia served as the home of the nation from the Revolutionary War period. 

The ownership settled on drawing from the city’s basketball history, however. They named the team the Warriors in honor of a previously established basketball franchise called the Warriors. That team had played in the now-defunct American Basketball League (ABL) back in 1925. 

The Warriors moved west in 1962, transitioning operations to San Francisco. The team kept the name and went by the moniker of the San Francisco Warriors. They’d move one more time in 1971, although this trip was much shorter. After moving to Oakland, the team settled on its final name: the Golden State Warriors. The “Golden State” portion of their name is a reference to the nickname for their home state of California. 

Why are the Warriors called ‘The Dubs?’

The Warriors are also often called The Dubs as explained by the website Dunk or Three. So what’s the story behind this alternative nickname? Well, it doesn’t quite have the history that the team’s official nickname as. This one sprang up as a result of a shorthand pronunciation of the first letter of their nickname.

Fans often shorten their team names as a way to refer to them. Think about the New York Yankees being called the Yanks or the New England Patriots being called the Pats. Dunk or Three pointed out that referring to the Warriors as the “Wars” doesn’t quite sound right.

So what are Warrior fans to do? They shorten the pronunciation of the first letter of Warriors. “Dub” is simply a shorthand way to reference “W.” So there you have it: that’s how the Warriors became both the Warriors and the Dubs.