8 Awesome Sports Mascots Named After Sharks

By AT&T Digital Media Productions editorial team



From the obscure to the mainstream, there are a lot of sports teams named after sharks. After all, they are the scariest predators of the sea so naturally they make the most intimidating mascots too.

Here are eight teams (in order from who? to duh!) named after sharks.


8. Sale Sharks

The Sale Sharks are a rugby team that play in the English Premiership. Founded in 1861, they’re one of the oldest clubs in English rugby. Emerging around 400 million years ago, sharks are one of the oldest species on the planet. England’s not exactly a shark hotspot, so it’s the only reasonable explanation for the nickname.

[Flickr user: Alex Matravers]


7. KwaZulu-Natal Sharks

Rugby, as it turns out, is a very popular sport for oceanic mascots. This South African team was formerly known as the Banana Boys, but was officially renamed the Sharks (with an aptly named mascot, Sharkie) in 1995. Considering South Africa is home to many shark species, including this team, the name is well-deserved.


6. USC-Beaufort Sand Sharks

While “sand sharks” are not a real species (the 2012 movie Sand Sharks notwithstanding), the nickname is typically used to refer to the sand tiger shark, a particularly aggressive species. It can be found in the coastal waters of the Carolinas, making this predator a perfect mascot for this NAIA school.


5. Shanghai Sharks

This Chinese basketball team is known for developing NBA Hall of Famer Yao Ming. Considering that China is home to a multitude of shark species, it seems only fitting. The 7’6” Yao protected the paint as a player. Now, as the team’s owner, he’s protecting its namesake, partnering with WildAid for an awareness campaign that has dramatically reduced shark fin soup consumption in China.


4. Jupiter Hammerheads

This minor league baseball team chose its mascot from one of the many species of shark found off Florida’s coast. Although they’ve never won the finals of the Florida State League, rest assured, their mascot is still totally tough.


3. Clearwater Threshers

Okay, Florida, we get it, there are a lot of sharks in your waters. The Threshers get an A+ for originality by choosing a lesser-known species. The thresher shark uses its gigantic tail to stun prey...sort of like an aquatic baseball bat? Right? Weirdly enough, the team is affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies—definitely not shark country like their hometown of Clearwater, Florida.

[Flickr user: Michel Curi]


2. Jacksonville Sharks

Baseball isn’t the only sport in Florida with shark-inspired teams. While a member of the Arena Football League, the Jacksonville Sharks preyed on their competition to the tune of four championships, but moved to the National Arena League in 2017.


1. San Jose Sharks

If you didn’t guess this one, it may be time to brush up on your hockey knowledge. By far the most popular of the shark-themed sports teams, this San Jose-based hockey team comes in at number one. Chosen from over 5,000 potential names submitted by fans, “Sharks” was inspired by the seven varieties of sharks living off the Northern California coast. In fact, one area of water near the San Francisco bay is known as the "red triangle" because of its shark population.

Before the Sharks joined the NHL in 1991, the last Bay Area NHL team was called the Golden Seals. It’s too bad they became the Cleveland Barons in 1976. Could’ve been a great rivalry (if a little one-sided).

[Flickr user: pointnshoot]


Bonus: Left Shark

Ok, so it’s not an official mascot. But this iconic shark took over the memesphere with its off-book dance moves during Katy Perry’s 2015 halftime show. Does anyone even remember who won that year? Left Shark, that’s who.

[Flickr user: Huntley Paton]


See why these sleek, fast, and powerful predators have inspired so many sports teams.


Tune in to Shark Week, only on Discovery.