Created in 1923 when Russia was part of the Soviet Union, Dynamo is among the oldest sports clubs in the country. Its name was chosen because Dynamo means 'power in motion'. The club was backed by the State Political Directorate (GPU), a police apparatus of the USSR. That is why the team has always been thought of as the police club, while cross-town rival CSKA Moscow was the army club. However, the connection between the police and the sportsmen at Dynamo has been almost non-existent in recent years. Dynamo quickly earned a reputation outside the Soviet Union borders due to its success in major sports such as football, handball, ice hockey and, of course, basketball. Dynamo Moscow won the USSR League championship in 1937 and 1948 and also made it to the final in 1944 and 1990.
Over the decades, Dynamo earned a reputation for being among the strongest teams nationally and around the continent. Dynamo finished third in the Soviet Union League standings in 1946, 1957 and 1958, as well as making it to the 1952 USSR Cup final. Years of domestic obscurity followed in which the team could not achieve any remarkable domestic success. A few former Dynamo players participated in some of the most historic moments in USSR sport. Aleksandr Boloshev was a member of the Olympic Team that won the gold medal in Munich 1972. Furthermore, Vladimir Zhigili, one of the most famous players in Dynamo's history, was World Champion in Puerto Rico in 1974.
The team found new success outside its domestic borders in the mid-1990s. Dynamo made it all the way to the Cup Winners' Cup semi-final in 1991, losing to eventual champ PAOK Thessaloniki. The team also qualified for the Korać Cup in 1992. 1994 and 1995 without much success, despite having players like Sergei Bazarevich, Pavel Astakhov, Sergei Babenko or Evgeniy Pashutin. Things changed in 1996, however, as Dynamo shone in the 1996 Saporta Cup. The club brought in players like Bazarevich, Vitaly Nosov, and Valeri Daineko. Dynamo went all the way from the previous round, survived the group stage and made it to the best-of-three semi-finals playoffs. TAU Cerámica swept the series with an 87-98 road win in Moscow and a 104-93 home thriumph in Vitoria, and it went on to win the title against PAOK Thessaloniki. The club could not live up to the expectations and one year after that, in 1997, Dynamo Moscow disappeared due to financial reasons despite having played the Euroleague for the first time in club history.
It was not until 2001 when Dynamo reappeared in the Russian basketball scene. MBC Dynamo Moscow was created under the support of the Dynamo society and its chairman Vladimir Pronichev. Dynamo entered the Russian League second division in the 2001-02 season and won the title that very same year, returning to the elite of Russian basketball. The club had to face new financial problems but once again the Dynamo organization, led by chairman Viktor Zakharov and his assistant Vladimir Mikhalevsky, stepped up to solve all troubles and give the team the economic stability it needed. MBC Dynamo Moscow joined the Dynamo organization in Moscow City and found a new president in his ex-coach Evgeny Gomelsky, brother of the legendary coach and former CSKA president, the late Alexander Gomelsky. Dynamo finished sixth in the 2002-03 Russian League with players like Nikita Morgunov, Martin Müürsepp, Bazarevich, Aleksander Milosserdov or Dmitri Domani, who remains now as the team captain. Dynamo did even better in the 2003-04 season, in which players like Nikos Ekonomou, Jimmy Oliver, Nikolay Padius, Damir Mršić and the late Kenyon Jones helped the team to make it to the Russian League semi-finals.
Dynamo continues taking steps forward and making a big financial effort to incorporate some of the best European players in the market. As such, for 2004-05, Dynamo signed the Euroleague all-time top rebounder, Mirsad Türkcan, the 2003-04 Euroleague regular season top scorer Lynn Greer, center Lazaros Papadopoulos and solid, well-rounded veterans such as Ariel McDonald, Trajan Langdon, Kšyštof Lavrinovič and Andrei Fetisov. Dynamo won difficult Group D in the ULEB Cup regular season and was considered a top candidate to go far in the elimination rounds, especially when the team won the first leg of the two-way eighth-finals series on the road against Hemofarm, 81-84, but lost 96-75 on their own home court. Dynamo once again has a competitive roster in which Papadopoulos, Domani and Valentin Koubrakov returned to be joined by some team-oriented players such as Ruben Douglas, Mire Chatman, Bojan Popović, Hanno Möttölä and Antonis Fotsis. Moreover, Dynamo landed one of the best head coaches in European basketball history, none other than the legendary Dušan Ivković. With the right environment, a solid roster, a great coach and the hunger to win its first-ever European title, in 2006 the team won the ULEB Cup. In 2006 the club moved to its new arena in the Krylatskoe Sports Center. In the 2006-2007 season, Dynamo competed in the ULEB Euroleague, reaching the quarterfinals under monster efforts from Fotsis and Papadopoulos. They lost to Panathinaikos B.C. 0:2. A poor finish in domestic competition (4th place) lead the team returning to the ULEB Cup. Before the 2007-2008 season, coach Ivković was replaced by Svetislav Pešić, and players like Miloš Vujanić, Henry Domercant and Robertas Javtokas, who replaced Papadopoulos, were signed. Heavy favorites to win, Dynamo struggled - they made the ULEB Cup Final Eight, but lost in the semifinals to CB Girona 78:81 in a huge shock, which lead to the firing of Pešić. He was replaced by Sergei Bazarevich. Dynamo finished in 3rd place in the PBL. In the 2008-2009 season, David Blatt became head coach, and solid NBA players like Jannero Pargo and Boštjan Nachbar were signed, along with stars in Europe like Hollis Price and Darjuš Lavrinovič. Dynamo was a heavy favorite to win the EuroCup Basketball tournament, formerly the ULEB Cup. Despite playing solidly most of the way, Dynamo was plagued by financial problems - Price and Pargo left the team in January, with Brian Chase signing to replace Price. Still a favorite to win the EuroCup, Dynamo suffered a fiasco in the Final Eight tournament, losing to Hemofarm 85:93 in the quarterfinals. In the PBL, Dynamo finished in a disastrous 6th place. The next two seasons, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, Dynamo didn't have any success in European competition, never reaching the playoffs in either the EuroCup and the FIBA EuroChallenge tournaments. In the PBL, Dynamo finished in 4th place in 2009-2010, thanks in most part due to efforts by Sergey Monya and Alexey Shved. In 2010-2011, in the PBL, Dynamo finished only in 9th place.