There is no league remotely close to the NBA when it comes to basketball. The metric used in judgment doesn’t matter; whether it’s attendance, revenue generation, or sponsorship deals, the NBA is clear.
The NBA is in contention for the greatest sports league in existence. But what makes the NBA great? Many believe the action-packed games are a reason. Others believe that the players’ images and lifestyles affect the game. A select few are even of the opinion that NBA betting is a significant reason the league is so popular.
But people tend to ignore the most important factor in the NBA’s success, the fans. Without the thousands of fans travelling weekly to support their teams, the game wouldn’t have garnered today’s respect. That’s one of the major reasons why NBA teams spend a considerable amount of money on constructing basketball arenas for their fans.
Most Iconic NBA Arenas
In the end, while money might buy you the biggest arena with the flashiest designs, an arena will have to earn iconic status. The following are six arenas that have earned this status in the NBA.
1. Madison Square Garden
There is no doubt that the New York Knicks are not the team they used to be. Over the past decades, they have slumped, failing to emulate the success of their early years. But even with the woes that befall them, the Madison Square Garden is still the most iconic stadium in the NBA.
For starters, it is the oldest arena in the NBA. The stadium was commissioned in 1968 and has been hosting the Knicks ever since. With a basketball seating capacity of 19,812, it is one of the league’s biggest and has played host to iconic games like the 2013 Warriors-Knicks game that saw Steph Curry score 113 pointers in a single game.
Two NBA All-star games have been hosted in the Garden, and it’s one of the most challenging NBA arenas to get a ticket to.
2. Crypto.com Arena (Formerly the Staples Center)
The Crypt celebrated its 20th anniversary in October 2021, and in the two decades of its existence, it has played host to three NBA All-Star Games, 19 Grammy Awards, and seven NBA Final series.
Based in LA, the Crypto.com Arena is home to two top-flight NBA teams; the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 19,000-seating capacity is not the only reason it has made our list today. The arena’s sheer beauty and surroundings have made it a tourist location for millions of travellers, bringing immense popularity to the NBA. The great Kobe Bryant played his last game in this arena, where he signed off in style, scoring 60 points in his final game.
3. Oracle Arena
An arena’s quality is judged based on its history, iconic moments, and fans. The Oracle Arena in Oklahoma checks all these boxes. Home to the Golden State Warriors, the Oracle Arena has been around for over two decades, and in that time, it has earned the nickname ‘Roracle,’ testifying to the loudness of the arena.
The Warriors fans are one of the most passionate fans in the NBA. They are always ready to show their team significant support, which is why the Oracle Arena has been sold out for 230 NBA games. The tension in the arena drove the Warriors to break Michael Jordan’s Bulls 72 wins record.
4. TD Garden
TD Garden is the home of the Boston Celtics and one of the most expensive arenas in the NBA. The TD Garden ushered in a new era for the Boston Celtics after the end of the legendary Larry Bird Era, and it’s good to know that the arena is living up to its predecessor.
It hosted the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals and has a basketball seating capacity of 19,156. Though the former Boston Garden played a significant role in TD Garden’s inclusion in our list, the present arena still sends chills to anyone who visits.
5. United Center
The United Center was commissioned in 1994 as the home for Chicago Bulls, and since then, the arena has witnessed legendary moments.
Like the TD Garden, many fans have argued that the upgraded United Center doesn’t match the feel of the former Chicago Stadium. Although their complaints may be valid, they are also outdated.
Also, the United Center is the largest NBA arena based on capacity, with an ability to hold an impressive 23,000 spectators. They also have the biggest scoreboard in the NBA; 8,660 square feet in size. The arena was also where Michael Jordan completed his second three-peat. That is enough to earn a spot on our list.
6. American Airlines Arena
The American Airlines Arena is the home of the Miami Heat and has seen them win three championships since it was commissioned in 1999.
There is also a nightclub in the arena where fans can meet up and have fun after a game. This stadium boasts of a massive in-game atmosphere, and it is famed for conjuring a hostile atmosphere for away teams, which gives advantages to the home team.
Sports without fans is no fun, and that’s why NBA teams spend millions of dollars constructing the best arenas to host their fans. Some of these arenas have been around for a long time and have attained legendary status.