Barnstorming: The unofficial 2019-20 hashtag for every NBA team


To get you ready for the 2019-20 NBA season, we’ve crafted unofficial hashtags to better represent the goals of each squad.

Atlanta Hawks — #InTheAirTonight

Can you feel it? Do you hear those atmospheric synth chords as Trae Young brings the ball over halfcourt? Can you feel the tension building as he runs his man into a vicious John Collins screen, languidly dribbling sideways as Collins slips down the lane? Phil Collins starts pounding those drums, the ball goes up, Collins slams it down. I can feel it coming #InTheAirTonight.

Boston Celtics — #Beochaoineadh

Beochaoineadh is an ancient Celtic word. According to the irrefutable Mental Floss, it means, “An ‘elegy for the living’ — in other words, a sad lament for someone who has gone away, but who has not died.” It seems apt then, using this word to represent this season, which the Celtics hope to turn into a giant metaphorical middle finger to the dearly departed Kyrie Irving.

Brooklyn Nets — #ThirdEye

This Nets season will be defined by Kyrie Irving and the interplay of his constructive and deconstructive tendencies on the rest of this Brooklyn roster. Perhaps nothing represents Kyrie’s gobbledygook New Age world view more than his fascination with the #ThirdEye which, according to one of his Nike ads, “Third Eye [Vision] represents the truth, the power that is internal that you share with the world.” No word yet on whether his #ThirdEye vision finds it ironic that he loves Semi-Charmed Life.

Charlotte Hornets — #GetStung

Because watching the basketball Hornets is going to feel a bit like getting attacked by actual Hornets.

Chicago Bulls — #SayHelloToTheNewBoss

Same as the old boss.

Cleveland Cavaliers — #LoveLikeNoOnesWatching

Kevin Love is going to have a huge season, rebounding like no one is boxing out, shooting like no is guarding him. But the Cavaliers are bad and no one is going to be watching.

Dallas Mavericks — #Goaticorn

If the Mavericks do anything meaningful this season, up to and including making the playoffs, it’s going to be because of the on-court chemistry of Luka Doncic (Goat) and Kristaps Porzingis (Unicorn). You never know what you’re going to get when you crossbreed mythical beasts but it’s going to be a spectacle.

Denver Nuggets — #OverwhelmingFavorites

The Nuggets are absolutely title contenders this season and acting like they’ve been there before should be a key part of their identity, even if they’re breaking new ground.

Detroit Pistons — #8orBust

I know it seems like several other Eastern Conference teams made moves of significance, while the Pistons are putting a lot of faith in Derrick Rose and the development of some young players. But if you think Detroit is taking a step back, if you think they don’t have what it takes to make it back to the No. 8 seed in the playoffs, well, buddy, you’re sorely mistaking.

Golden State Warriors — #TarpsOffBoys

Kevin Durant is gone. Klay Thompson is out for the season. Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green have everything to prove. I think you know what means, TARP’S OFF BOYS.

Houston Rockets — #Sisyphus

Russell Westbrook might not be the best 3-point shooter or the most diligent defender or the most thoughtful when it comes to shot selection in general. But if you need to roll a rock almost to the top of the hill, his passion, physicality and general battering-ram mentality should be a huge asset.

Indiana Pacers — #TwoTowers

It may seem like this is a reference to the Pacers doubling down on big men, extending both Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. But really it’s a reference to J.R.R. Tolkein’s classic The Two Towers, and this quote in particular: “And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy?” That’s how I feel about this Pacers season, enjoy it for what it is because it probably won’t have a happy ending. You know what … maybe that is actually about Sabonis and Turner…

Los Angeles Clippers — #SLOBCity

The Clippers used to be known for their lobs. With the precise isolation skills of Kawhi Leonard, the sharpshooting of Paul George and Landry Shamet and the devastating pick-and-roll combination of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, the Clippers could be the best in the league at SideLine Out-of-Bounds set plays. #SLOBCity baby!

Los Angeles Lakers — #SpeakItIntoExistence

The collective will of Lakers’ fans is the most powerful force in the universe. It was enough to bring in LeBron James. And then Anthony Davis. Keep speaking it into existence and a title is next in line.

Memphis Grizzlies — #Rawr

What sound does a Grizzly bear make? #Rawr.

Miami Heat — #Herroic

Having Tyler Herro sitting on the bench, waiting for an opportunity to come in throw fireballs is the gastronomical equivalent of keeping a bottle of ghost pepper hot sauce in a hip holster. You are prepared for anything. And the Heat should be prepared for a #Herroic season.

Milwaukee Bucks — #TheGoodLand

The French missionaries and explorers were coming here as early as the late 1600s to trade with the Native Americans. In fact, “Milwaukee” is an Indian name. Actually, it’s pronounced “mill-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land.”

Minnesota Timberwolves — #ThisIsFine

The beauty of this is that it can effortlessly flip back and forth between sarcasm and humble honesty. Andrew Wiggins goes 3-of-13 with four turnovers and no assists? #ThisIsFine. Karl-Anthony Towns is draining step-back 3s in a 20-point win? #ThisIsFine. Traded Robert Covington for a late first-round pick and some cap relief? #ThisIsFine.

New Orleans Pelicans — #IronLikeALion

Zion Williamson may not be able to go on opening night but the path forward for the Pelicans is absolutely clear — Be iron, like a lion, in Zion.

New York Knicks — #StraightShot

Everyone in New York knows their role this season. Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Kevin Knox — shoot straight. Knicks’ fans — don’t waste calories on mixers or chasers, the only way to feed the beast of hopeless optimism is undiluted brown liquors. James Dolan — just keep wailing away on that harmonica, my dude.

Oklahoma City Thunder — #FailinForJalen

The “tanking for a specific prospect” hashtag is a well-worn trope but with the Thunder holding an enormous war chest of draft picks stretching well out into the future, they can put a unique spin on it. In this case, the Jalen they’re failin’ for is Jalen Duren, a 6-foot-10 high school sophomore and the No. 2 ranked prospect in 2022 NBA Draft class.

Orlando Magic — #FultzHeartsCantLose

Long arms, Fultz hearts. Can’t lose.

Philadelphia 76ers — #ThirstFor3s

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are both shooting better than 40 percent on 3-pointers this season. Write it down. (In pencil).

Phoenix Suns — #PlayingCheckers

The Suns don’t get why everyone keeps saying they’re playing checkers when everyone else is playing chess like it’s some kind of bad thing. Checkers is a fun game. It’s portable. You get to jump over people. The rules aren’t hard. Who needs chess? Checkers is awesome!

Portland Trail Blazers — #Multiverse

If you believe in the theory of infinite versions of the universe then somewhere there is at least one where the Trail Blazers will win the title this year. Who’s to say it’s not the universe you’re sitting in right now?

Sacramento Kings — #NoPineappleOnMyPizza

The Sacramento Kings are coming off a surprisingly strong season and decided to use their accumulated fan capital to stake out a strong political position. Kudos to the Kings for standing up for what they believe in.

San Antonio Spurs — #WhiteWalkers

All due respect to Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan but Derrick White and Lonnie Walker is the backcourt potential with the most exciting potential. Also, this whole organization is a relentless, ageless zombie that just keeps coming back.

Toronto Raptors — #DefendingChamps

The Toronto Raptors are the defending champions and they have exactly eight months to remind the rest of the league. They simply can’t miss an opportunity.

Utah Jazz — #TotesAdorbs

The Jazz have designs on a title this season but, despite what appears to be a surplus of parity, they still look like a longshot (just the sixth-best title odds in the Western Conference, per 538). There’s nothing more adorable than neverending optimism and we’re all going to love loving on the Jazz this season.

Washington Wizards — #NotTheRedskins

No matter how bad it gets for the Wizards this season, the organization and their fans can take comfort in the fact that a) they are not run by Dan Snyder and b) their mascot isn’t a legacy symbol of racism. There may not be many wins but at least they’re #NotTheRedskins.

Barnstorming is an irregular column series, willing to go anywhere and take on anything. Check out the entire project at A Unified Theory of Basketball.