The 10 Most Passionate Fanbases in the NBA

Denim MillwardContributor IIISeptember 22, 2012

The 10 Most Passionate Fanbases in the NBA

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    A raucously supportive fanbase can be a priceless asset to many NBA teams.

    The home crowd can be the determining factor in many a close contest, providing the home team the extra motivation they need to gut it out for the last few minutes of a grueling, hard-fought contest.

    Certainly, every team has its fair share of fans who take their passion for the team to extremes, but the following 10 fanbases have been whittled down as the creams of the crop in terms of consistent and vociferous support.

Chicago Bulls

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    Bulls fans reign at the top of this list for a few reasons.

    First and foremost, Bulls fans stand head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of game attendance in recent memory.

    The Bulls have been No. 1 in attendance for the past three years, according to espn.com.  In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2004 to see a year when Chicago wasn't first or second in attendance. 

    They happened to be third in 2004. 

    In light of the fact that those years included some pretty bad Bulls teams, including one bad enough to land the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, Bulls fans have established themselves as anything but fair-weather.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Players in Rip City can always count on their fans' support to help them have a rip-roaring good time.

    Like the Bulls, the Blazers have sat atop the attendance rankings consistently, finishing in the top three every year since 2009. 

    Unlike Chicago, Portland doesn't have the gigantic market and huge population to help ensure every game at the Rose Garden is packed. 

    Rather, Portland's almost cult-like status is at least partially the result of the Blazers essentially being the only game in town, as the Trail Blazers are the only "Big Four" professional sports team in the state of Oregon. 

Utah Jazz

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    Sound the homer alarm, my beloved Utah Jazz have made the top half of the list!

    Despite my diehard allegiance to the Jazz, their fans have a legitimate claim to this spot. 

    Utah's attendance numbers have been no lower than the top seven since 2008, despite the fact that Salt Lake City is one of the smaller markets in the NBA.

    Similar to Portland, the Jazz is the only game in town in terms of a major professional sports team, and Utah fans pour every pure, unadulterated ounce of support they have into making the Zion's Bank Arena a playoff-like atmosphere nearly every single night. 

Dallas Mavericks

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    Sometimes it pays to have an outspoken owner who's not afraid to be under the constant scrutiny of the public eye. 

    Since 2003, Dallas has been, at worst, the fourth best team on the attendance list. The Nowitzki Nuts have always made things very difficult for visiting teams.

    What's refreshing about Dallas fans is that they still go to a basketball game to actually watch basketball and cheer on their team. With a market as big as Dallas, it's very nice to see that their games haven't turned into nothing more than social events attended by rich snobs who know nothing of the NBA and just want to be seen there. 

New York Knicks

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    To be frank, Knicks fans haven't had much to cheer about recently. 

    New York's last title came over 40 years ago, and their last finals appearance was by an eighth-seeded Knicks squad led by Latrell Sprewell that honestly had no business being in the NBA Finals. 

    Despite the distinct lack of rings and the myriad of activities/distractions New York offers, Knicks fans still loyally turn up to support their team. The Knicks have been no worse than seventh in attendance since 2009. 

    And you can have Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio. For my money, the single most popular NBA fan is movie producer and New York Knicks diehard Spike Lee. 

Boston Celtics

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    Boston's inclusion on this list is much more about the reputation of the average Celtics fan than their place on the attendance list. 

    Boston's had no lack of success in recent memory, triumphing over cross-country rival Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals. 

    Regardless of success, Boston fans' reputations precede them. It's probably a good thing Boston has four "big four" professional sports teams: the Celtics, the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots and the Boston Bruins. 

    If Celtics fans' attention wasn't being pulled in so many directions, the vitriol that would spew forth from the fanbase directed at opponents would increase tenfold. 

Golden State Warriors

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    Honestly, this is one team I didn't think would make the list. 

    However, looking over the solid attendance numbers in recent years—despite pretty pathetic efforts, including blatant tanking by the Warriors to retain a draft pick last year—there's no doubt the Warriors fans' support for their team dies very hard.

    Golden State has remained steadfast in the top 11 of NBA teams in terms of attendance since 2008, though that stretch of basketball did not see Golden State compete in a single postseason.

    With an influx of young talent, the Golden State Warriors are in the position to shock a lot of people, provided they can stay healthy. That would be very fitting for their deserving and loyal fans. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Oklahoma City makes the list despite fairly average recent attendance numbers.

    I'm partially crediting Oklahoma City for playing such excellent hosts to the New Orleans Hornets for a season after the Hornets had to essentially temporarily relocate to Oklahoma in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. 

    True, it's now easy to cheer for your hometown Thunder when they have one of the best teams in the league, but I would put Oklahoma City second only to Utah in terms of making a banal-seeming regular-season game feel like a playoff game. 

Toronto Raptors

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    From maniacally supporting keeping their team in Canada to harassing Grantland.com's editor-in-chief (Bill Simmons) over even the slightest perceived slight, Raptors fans are probably the most underrated in terms of fan support. 

    While it's true their attendance has dipped in recent years at least in part due to a lack of success, the passion of the average Raptors fan ranks right up there with just about anyone else in the league. 

    Sadly, the NBA experiment failed in Vancouver, but thanks to the support of the fans in Toronto, Canada can still enjoy having an NBA team. 

San Antonio Spurs

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    Last but not least, the loyal legion of Spurs fans have to be mentioned.

    Their attendance numbers are around the middle of the pack, but Spurs fans' continued support of their small-market juggernaut is a huge part of San Antonio's sustained success for the past decade.

    Yes, it undoubtedly helps to have a world-class star like Tim Duncan essentially fall into your lap, but the fans had an indelible role in the continuing success and popularity of the Spurs. 

    One of the more impressive things about the Spurs and their fans is that for a small market team, the Spurs have gained fans in a lot more places than just the greater San Antonio area. Having fans nationwide is usually something reserved for big-market teams with a gigantic payroll and a handful of recognizable names. 

    Just as they've done with their sustained success in a small market, the Spurs have bucked that trend.