CHICAGO — Slow news day. Optional practice for the Lakers. Watched lots of college basketball. Made a list of the best and worst arenas in the NBA. Various factors went into the judging, including atmosphere and overall impressions of the arenas. Don’t know enough about ticket or beer prices around the league, so that’s not factored. Neither is parking, but access to public transportation is weighed. Downtown locations preferred.
UPDATED: In response to anonymous’ complaint that this isn’t a list of the best and worst, it’s just about the fans. Guess you failed reading comprehension in school. Doesn’t it say in the paragraph above that “Various factors went into the judging, including atmosphere and overall impressions of the arenas.” Atmosphere equals fans. Right? Right? Right? C’mon people.We need more and better response to this blog. I’m doing my part. You people need to step it up. Thank you. Rant over.
The top 5
1. Conseco Fieldhouse (Indiana) … Made to look and field like a high school or college gym from the 1950s. The first and only retro arena. Too bad the team isn’t better.
2. EnergySolutions Arena (Utah) … Bad name, great fans. Steep pitch in the lower bowl of the arena makes it feel like the fans are sitting right on top of the court. Noisy and hot.
3. Madison Square Garden (New York) … The oldest arena in the league. Best and most appreciative fans in the league. Right in the heart of the city, which helps.
4. Arco Arena (Sacramento) … It’s small and loud and the fans are obnoxious. What’s not to like? OK, so it’s outdated and ownership desperately wants a new building.
5. US Airways Center (Phoenix) … Fans are right on top of the action. The building is right in the heart of downtown, with restaurants and bars within walking distance.
The bottom 5
1. Izod Center (New Jersey) … When the Nets move to Brooklyn, maybe then there will be a sense of place that’s lacking in the swamps west of New York. Until then … Boo.
2. Amway Arena (Orlando) … This must have been some kind of place before they invented electricity. No charm. Just loud. No surprise, the Magic want a new arena.
3. Target Center (Minnesota) … It’s not all that old, but it looks like it’s about to tumble to the ground when you walk inside. Great location fails to make up for lack of atmosphere.
4. AT&T Center (San Antonio) … Great, great fans in San Antonio. They deserved better than this dark and uninviting barn located on the edge of nowhere.
5. New Orleans Arena (New Orleans) … Fans have turned out in droves since the Hornets returned after Hurricane Katrina. They deserve more in their arena, however.
The OK 5
1. TD Banknorth Arena (Boston) … Used to hate it, but great fans make up for a fairly ho-hum design. Blandest exterior of any building in the league. Too bad.
2. Toyota Center (Houston) … Fans in one section behind the basket stand for most of the game, chanting and cheering. Sounds more like Euro soccer than the NBA.
3. Rose Garden (Portland) … Big arena, but the fans manage to make it come alive when the Trail Blazers are playing well. And they’re playing very well right now.
4. FedEx Forum (Memphis) … Just like the look of the place. Beats the heck of the Pyramid, the Grizz’s old home. Best place to watch bad basketball.
5. Time Warner Cable Arena (Charlotte) … Another hideous sponsorship title. Good barn, though. Good sight lines. Noisy. Beats the old place the Hornets used to call home.
The next 5
1. United Center (Chicago) … Seats like a million people, and feels like a hangar.
2. Verizon Center (Washington) … Right downtown. Easy access to the Metro.
3. American Airlines Arena (Miami) … Cool location right on the waterfront.
4. Oracle Arena (Oakland) … Warriors fans keep turning out to see bad teams.
5. Pepsi Center (Denver) … Gotta love all the Lakers haters in Colorado.
1. Staples Center (Lakers and Clippers) … Too big and uninviting, but it’s home.
2. American Airlines Center (Dallas) … Really looks like an airplane hangar.
3. Air Canada Centre (Toronto) … Good for hockey, but only so-so for hoops.
4. Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland) … Will it still hop if LeBron bounces in 2010?
5. Philips Arena (Atlanta) … Suites are all on one side of the building. Very odd.
6. Ford Center (Oklahoma City) … Good crowd, but a fairly routine building.
7. The Palace (Detroit) … Great crowd, but fairly ordinary design. Huge lower bowl.
8. Wachovia Center (Philadelphia) … Too big. Too quiet. Just a hockey arena, really.
9. Bradley Center (Milwaukee) … Yawn.