NBA teams face a lot of challenges on the court. There are tough injuries, heartbreaking losses, and even more instances that set teams back in their race to the NBA Finals.
Is it bad luck, or is there something a little more mysterious at play? Some fans believe there may be a supernatural power making it even harder for teams before they even set foot on the court.

With those mysteries in mind, we decided to crunch the numbers to see which teams deal with more bad luck than others.

We gathered data about loss rates, fouls, turnovers, attendance, and injuries.

From there, we conducted a weighted analysis to find out which NBA teams really are the most cursed and which are the luckiest in the league.

Most Cursed NBA Teams

Most Cursed NBA Teams

Two NBA teams share the title of the most cursed in the league. Based on a 100-point scale, the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks were the only two teams to get just 23 points. Fans are probably not surprised to see the Hawks top the list since the team has only won one championship, and not in this century. That win was way back in 1958.

Despite taking the trophy in 2020, the Lakers were hit hard by injuries in the 2021-2022 season. The team experienced 105 player injuries, earning them the dubious title of the worst in the league.

Other cursed teams include the Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, and Phoenix Suns, which all ranked 2nd with 31 points apiece.

NBA Team Rankings

Other teams have struggled to win much of anything over the past decade. The Orlando Magic lost a less-than-magical average of 53 games every season, the worst across the league. On average, from 2012-2022, the team has only won about 27 games per season. The Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons were just behind the Magic with 49 and 48 average losses, respectively.

The luckiest basketball team in the league is the San Antonio Spurs. The team had the lowest average foul rate and also had the third lowest loss rate, falling just behind the most recent NBA Champs, the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers.

Other lucky teams in the league you should bet on including the Charlotte Hornets, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics.

Most Superstitious NBA Fans

Most Cursed NBA Teams

Whether you believe teams are cursed or not, one-quarter of NBA fans are superstitious. Nearly 1 out of 4 (24%) think a player trade has cursed an NBA team, and 24% think it’s bad luck when NBA players date celebrities. Some survey respondents even called out those celebrities by name (the Kardashians, for example).

Nearly 1 out of 5 (18%) believe NBA teams face longtime curses. One of those mentioned was the curse of Billy Penn. Some Philadelphians believe their sports teams were cursed after builders broke an agreement to never build something higher than city hall. The curse was only (apparently) reversed in 2007, when a tiny statue of Billy Penn, the founder of Philadelphia, was placed atop the tallest and newest skyscraper at the time.

But not every curse is forever. In fact, 40% of fans think curses can be broken. Of those, 70% said the key to doing that is by winning the NBA championship. Half believe new players can help, and 41% feel a new coach can make all the difference.

The most superstitious fan bases are scattered all throughout the nation, but the biggest superstitious group is actually not even in the U.S. Toronto Raptors fans are the most superstitious, followed by New Orleans Pelicans, LA Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The least superstitious fan bases include the latest reigning NBA champions: The Golden State Warriors, at 8th least superstitious. Other fans who don’t believe in superstitions are Indiana Pacers fans (1st), followed by the Denver Nuggets (2nd), Detroit Pistons (3rd), Houston Rockets (4th), and Dallas Mavericks (5th).

Most and Least Supportive Fans

Most Cursed NBA Teams

When it comes down to it, fans play a big part in their team’s success. Not every fan base is the most supportive. While there may be curses looming overhead, fans may also be cursing their teams on the sidelines. Half of NBA fans admitted to verbally cursing the opposing team, and 55% said they’d cursed their own.

More than 1 out of 3 NBA fans admitted they only go to a game depending on how well their team is playing that season. We looked at the average attendance overall from 2012-2022. The worst supporters through the years have been fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, and Atlanta Hawks. Maybe that’s why they’re part of the top 10 most cursed teams in the league.

As for the best supporters, people in Florida are true NBA fans. The Miami Heat ranked first for the best attendance and Orlando Magic ranked third. Right in the middle of the two teams is the Chicago Bulls.

Whether you believe in curses or superstitions, we like to think it can’t hurt to cheer on your team. So, head out on out to the stadiums this year and support your favorite NBA team. Who knows? Maybe you’ll help break the curse and be the reason they make it all the way to the NBA Finals.


To come up with the rankings, we analyzed all 30 NBA teams in the league. To determine our ranking, we compared the 30 teams across five key metrics and graded each metric on a 100-point scale. The five metrics were:

  1. Average loss rate – 20 points

  2. Average fan attendance – 20 points

  3. Average foul rate – 20 points

  4. Average turnover rate – 20 points

  5. Number of Injuries in the 2021-2022 Season – 20 points

Sources included to determine the loss rate. The loss rate was determined by comparing the average number of losses from the 2012 season through the 2021 season. Data FOX Sports was used to calculate the number of injuries each team faced during the 2021 – 2022 season. ESPN data was used to determine the fan attendance average, average foul rate, and average turnover rate. The average was determined using data from 2012-2022.

In August 2022, we surveyed 1,004 basketball fans about sports superstitions and the NBA.
49% were women, 50% were men, and 1% were non-binary. Ages ranged from 18 to 77, with an average age of 37.

Featured Image: Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports
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