The Big Lead


Despite a lack of an NBA team in the state, Iowans haven’t been deterred from following NBA basketball: instead showing their fandom for a wide variety of teams.


If you’re an NBA fan in Iowa, it probably isn’t a stretch to say it feels like a ‘no man’s land.’ But despite a lack of an NBA team in the state, Iowans instead show their fandom for a wide variety of teams. Iowa has become a melting pot for fans of different teams for that very reason.

Personally, as a native of New England and Iowa, and an avid Boston Celtics fan, I’ve had opportunities to meet fans of teams from across the country, which makes me feel less isolated in my own fandom.


By virtue of not having a team within the state, this gives a sense of freedom for NBA fans based out of Iowa to choose their own team to support based on merit instead of geography. 

According to data supplied by Vivid Seats, which breaks down the most popular teams in the country by county, Iowa’s breakdown shows majority support for 14 different teams across 99 counties, one of the most varied results of any state, with an overwhelming amount of support shown to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls.

As with most sports cultures, geography plays a huge role in the shaping of fandoms. The closest NBA team to Wartburg College is the Minnesota Timberwolves, and it is predictably the most popular as well, according to Vivid Seats and the NBA’s self-reported data.

While the Timberwolves are the closest team to Waverly, at 184 miles of travel according to Google Maps, there are still a variety of other choices that are close to home for NBA fans.

The Milwaukee Bucks, based in Wisconsin, are estimated to be 284 miles away. Slightly farther still are the Chicago Bulls, which lie 289 miles away

With only 3 NBA teams within a five-hour drive of Waverly, many Iowans are unable to attend NBA games. However the NBA does have a G-League team housed within Des Moines, IA, the Iowa Wolves.

Iowa-based NBA fans have never had the opportunity to house their own NBA team, and are left either having to travel several hours to view the nearby teams, or must settle for the G-league Iowa Wolves. Fortunately for us Wartburg fans, we get to enjoy some great basketball from the Knights all season long. 

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