7 NBA Teams That Desperately Need an Arena Upgrade
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Being the fan of an NBA team that desperately needs an arena upgrade is hard work.
Watching live NBA games is usually about as good as it gets. However, it's hard to have fun if you're in a terribly uncomfortable seat, can't actually see the game because your seat has no good line of sight, or are blinded by a truly awful court design (*cough* Minnesota Timberwolves *cough*).
At the end of the day, there are a few teams that need to get a new arena, or at the very least need to significantly upgrade their existing arena. And here they are:
(Note: Since it's kind of depressing to hear about how much your favorite team's arena stinks, a “greatest moments” section was added to make up for it. You're welcome.)
No. 7: TD Garden, Boston Celtics
The TD Garden is nice, but it's no Boston Garden.
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Is it weird if a team desperately requires an arena downgrade? Is that strange?
The TD Garden is actually a pretty nice arena. But its predecessor, the Boston Garden, was nothing short of sacred ground in Boston for decades. It's tough to top that.
A lot of what basketball is about today comes down to glitz and glamor. Teams are constantly pumping music through the loudspeakers during games (often even during play), there's always an obligatory “celeb-cam," and players are obsessed with their “brand.”
But basketball and going to basketball games used to be far different.
It used to be about the organ music and the heat and dreading spending the next two hours next to four way-too-sweaty guys—until about roughly midway through the second quarter.
Because then it was all about cheering and chest-bumping those same dudes after every made basket and not even caring that Guy No. 2's sweat was occupying the spot where your shirt used to be.
No arena better exemplified that feeling than the Boston Garden, and that's why Boston should get an arena downgrade (even though objectively it would probably break 500 different safety regulations).
A big part of this is probably just sentimentality, but the TD Garden, and really almost every arena nowadays, just doesn't have the same mystique that the real Garden did. Here's to hoping that changes.
Greatest Building Moment: Game 6, 2008 NBA Finals
No. 6: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans Hornets
Picture this, but in the shape of a giant pelican.
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The New Orleans Arena is actually a pretty decent place to play. But if the New Orleans Hornets are really going to change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans, then why not just go all the way with it?
What New Orleans really needs is a gigantic building in the shape of a pelican. Who cares if it's totally impractical? Don't tell me that you wouldn't want to go see an NBA game in a gigantic pelican. Because you would.
(By the way, I'm only half-kidding about this. You've got to admit, it would be pretty spectacular).
Greatest Building Moment: Game 2, 2008 Western Conference Semifinals
No. 5: Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit Pistons
It's sad, but The Palace is going to have to be replaced.
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Sadly, the Palace of Auburn Hills (despite still being by far the coolest name of any professional sports venue) is no longer a palace when it comes to current NBA arenas.
The Palace was one of the best, if not the best, arena in the league for years after it opened in 1988. And even now, it's still more than functional. It's just old.
Renovations continue to be done on the Palace to make it a serviceable place for the Detroit Pistons to play. But at a certain point you have to wonder if the Pistons should stop trying to fend off the inevitable and just build another arena (perhaps one in downtown Detroit).
The Palace has served the Detroit Pistons well, and they aren't really desperate for a brand-new arena. But at the same time, at some point a replacement will have to be built for one of the oldest arenas in the league.
Greatest Building Moment: Game 5, 2004 NBA Finals
No. 4: Target Center, Minnesota Timberwolves
Now that this guy's gone, there's no need for those horrible multi-colored floors.
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The Minnesota Timberwolves' arena, the Target Center, is actually already scheduled for some pricey renovations.
Overhauling the rather outdated and drab Target Center is definitely a plus, but the really important thing is for the contractor to remember to completely scrap the old floor design. That's vital.
Does anyone actually like the two-color wood design? It honestly seems like a total eyesore.
The one benefit is that the floor at least looks like it could provide is a clear indicator of whether a player is taking a two or a three-pointer.
But now that Michael “trust-me-guys-the-best-shots-are-always-when-your-foot-is-on-the-three-point-line” Beasley is taking horrible fadeaway jumpers for the Phoenix Suns instead of the Timberwolves, even that doesn't seem very important.
What, do you think that Ricky Rubio (when he returns from injury) is going to be setting players up for deep two-pointers instead of threes? Please. Ricky would never do such a thing.
So while it's good to see that the Target Center is seeing some renovations, the floor will have to see some work if we're to see real progress.
No. 3: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee Bucks
These are the kinds of fans that deserve a new arena.
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Let's just say that the BMO Harris Bradley Center (that's a mouthful) isn't the best arena.
Here's a quote from an article written by Fox 6 Milwaukee's Justin Williams and Angelica Duria:
Officials have said the nearly 25-year-old Bradley Center is in bad shape. It’s one of the oldest and smallest facilities in the NBA and needs to be replaced.
Well, that's inspiring.
Also, the Milwaukee Bucks are another team that uses two different colors of wood on the court, which just looks awful (again, though, that might just be a personal preference). So maybe get rid of that, too.
It is good to hear that the city of Milwaukee is looking into building a new facility, because the Milwaukee fans really deserve it. They were absolutely awesome during the 2010 “Fear the Deer” campaign and have seen far too many mediocre Bucks teams over the years.
A nice arena seems like a suitable reward.
Greatest Building Moment: 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 7
No. 2: Oracle Arena, Golden State Warriors
The new-look Warriors deserve a new stadium.
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The Golden State Warriors' Oracle Arena was originally constructed in 1966 as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena.
To put that in perspective, in the year 1966 the first ever Super Bowl was played, Star Trek first premiered on NBC, and dinosaurs were still walking the earth (one of those is made up).
The Oracle Arena interior was renovated in 1996-97, but that doesn't change the fact that Oracle Arena is old. And not old in the endearing, Boston Garden sense. It's just old.
The folks at Thesportsroadtrip.com ranked Oracle Arena as the worst arena in the NBA and summed up their experience there by writing:
Rumor has it that this place was renovated in the late 90s...they sure fooled us as the sightlines were wretched here. Did that sub five foot tall man in the row in front of us really block our view? Absolutely!!!
The problem is that Oracle Arena seems a lot nicer than it actually is because the atmosphere there is so great. The Warriors have some of the most rabid fans in the league, and the actual in-game experience at Oracle makes the arena seem really great.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson deserve to be shooting their perfect-looking jumpers in a new arena. Let's make it happen.
Greatest Building Moment: The Sleepy Floyd Game
No. 1 Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento Kings
These people desperately need a new arena more than anyone else.
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Could there be another team? The Sleep Train Arena (formerly the Power Balance Pavilion) is best summed up by Sactown Royalty writer Tom Ziller, who wrote:
The seats are mediocre. The aesthetics of the building are pitiful. The landscape is dire. The concourse smells bad. The food is hit-or-miss (for the standard fare). The pro shop is cramped. The "other" scoreboards (the one which shows assists, etc, and the ones which show the time and other scores) are in bad spots.
Let's put it this way—that was probably some of the nicest stuff that he said about the arena. Ziller's point was that Sacramento Kings fans make Sleep Train Arena the best arena in the nation (and Kings fans are admittedly awesome), but he's right when he characterized the physical arena itself as awful.
But the real reason that that the Kings desperately need a new arena more than any other team is because the fate of the franchise depends on it.
The Kings' owners, the Maloof family, seem intent on moving the Kings out of Sacramento (they've already backed out of one arena deal), and only a new arena could plausibly keep the Kings in the city for the long-term.
Kings' fans have already suffered a lot over the past few decades (sorry, guys), and they don't deserve to get shafted by the NBA once again. The Sacramento Kings need a new arena more than anyone else.
Greatest Building Moment: Mike Bibby's Game 5 game-winner