It is the place where the great athletic events take place. Whether it is Madison Square Garden or FedEx Forum in Memphis, the arena is the spot where teams embark on a march towards the title. There are 30 teams in the league with 29 different arenas (Sorry Clippers).
They are all state of the art buildings that can take on thousands who are ready to divulge in some entertainment we like to call basketball. Prior success of the team or a history of good play in the arena plays a major role in the outlook of an arena. New amenities added to prior buildings also must factor in as valuable to the discussion.
Due to the standards David Stern has set in his arenas, many of the classic buildings are gone from today's play. So, it comes to taking in the new, state of the art buildings in their own greatness. With that in mind, here are the top ten arenas in the league.
Opened: October 1, 2010 (Most Likely)
Construction Cost: $480 Million
This season Orlando moves into the newly formed Amway Arena. Even tough they have yet to play in it, with its updated features it gets a nod at the number ten slot.The original Amway Arena was built in 1989 for the expansion Orlando Magic.
The 2012 NBA All-Star game is planned to take place here as it will follow the 1992 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando. That game featured Magic Johnson's MVP game after learning he had HIV. I am somewhat getting ahead of myself with this high praise without even a game being played here to date. Still, with Dwight Howard still having a great decade of play left in him, this building should be bumping for the imminent future.
Opened: July 17, 2001
Construction Cost: $420 Million
American Airlines Center not to be confused with American Airlines Arena is located in Dallas, Texas as home of the Mavericks. The recent host of the All-Star Game has been a spot of success since it opened.
Dirk Nowitzki was coming into his own as this building was put into place with his supporting cast of Michael Finley and Steve Nash. Having owner Mark Cuban around has upped the facilities within the locker rooms and brought a winning fashion to the building.
Opened: December 31, 1999
Construction Cost: $213 Million
This place will be rocking and rolling this year with the new trio formed. A favorite part of this arena I love is the flame that runs through the red seats with an orange hue. It gives the interior of the stadium a little more flavor.
This building replaced Miami Arena which was where the Heat began playing as an expansion franchise. The arena which also known as the Triple A or A Cubed has a unique scoreboard which changes colors by the given atmosphere. LeBron should make the scoreboard burn this season.
Opened: October 4, 1991
Construction Cost: $93 Million
Going and playing in the Jazz building in no small task. The difference between the win loss record at home and away for the Jazz is startling. Part of that is the raucous, off the wall fan base who is entirely behind their team.
The setup of the buildings is great for this. The outside statues of John Stockton and Karl Malone which have become fixtures of the Jazz. This team began in New Orleans, but a different kind of Jazz has developed in Salt Lake City first as the Delta Center and now as Energy Solutions Arena.
Opened: June 1, 1992
Construction Cost: $157 Million (With Renovations)
This has been a gym with a lot of points scored within it. Since Charles Barkley joined the team when it was called America West Arena, there has been energy throughout the building. This building has been host to the 1995 and 2009 All-Star games. Thus showing that the event does not get to every city evenly in the NBA.
The energy in the crowd can be felt all around and brings a truly festive atmosphere. Allowing the Suns to shine in Phoenix under Steve Nash today.
Opened: October 18, 2002
Construction Cost: $186 Million
The Spurs AT&T Center was originally called the SBC center and changed its name in January 2006. This building has been witness to three of the Spurs four titles since its opening less than a decade ago. Constantly being in the Playoffs and finding success has made a show for many moments in this building, whether good or bad.
The 0.4 game winner by Derek Fisher or the Spurs stellar Finals play is another reminder of great memories in the Center. There was also Tim Duncan's three pointer in overtime of the first game of the 2008 Playoffs against the Suns which the Spurs would eventually win. Prior to the SBC Center, the Spurs played in the Alamodome where they received one title in 1999.
Opened: September 30, 1995
Construction Cost: $160 Million
Many call it the Garden, the Fleet Center or by its old name, the Boston Garden. While this building hasn't had success like the original Garden, it still has been host to many memorable games over its 15 years.
The Playoff comeback by the Celtics over the New Jersey Nets in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 comes to mind as one great moment. There is also the the energy that has been flowing through the building since Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were traded to Boston. Bringing an enjoyment to games in Boston that hadn't been seen since the original Boston Garden.
The recent 2008 and 2010 Playoff pushes to the Finals have made this building as relevant as any in terms of excitement on the floor. It will be intriguing to see if that trend continues in the 2010-2011 season.
Opened: August 18, 1994
Construction Cost: $175 Million
Chicago, Illinois is the spot here. The spot has not been as illustrious this decade as it was in the 90's, but it still holds strong. The imprint from Jordan and Pippen's three titles in this arena and the three in Chicago stadium can still be felt.
The stadium now is filled by the play of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, but the passion of the fans lives on. On the court and outside, there will now be statues of Jordan and Scottie Pippen to outline the stadium. It should be similar to the look of Stockton and Malone outside Energy Solutions Arena.
Opened:October 17, 1999
Construction Cost: $375 Million
The Staples Center has become the arena of the NBA the past decade. With the Lakers making the Finals seven out of the last eleven years, it has been host to numerous important games. This building has been host to the Shaq-Kobe teams and the Pau Gasol-Kobe Bryant teams.
When you enter this building, it feels almost like a museum with the sharp wooden outline lining the interior of the building. It is used for numerous reasons, but none bigger than the Los Angeles Lakers games.
Outside the building stands Wayne Gretzky, the hockey great and of course Magic Johnson; who was a force on the Lakers previous court, the Great Western Forum.
Opened: February 11, 1968
Construction Cost: $123 Million
The Big Apple, New York city still has the arena of arenas in the NBA. Madison Square Garden in all its luster. With the Knicks being dreadful the last decade as a whole, MSG became the focus of positive correlation with any talks of the team. Madison Square Garden has been in four locations in its history from 1879, 1890, 1925 and 1968.
There have been countless acts that have occurred on these grounds outside of basketball. The Ali- Frazier bout is just one example of events that have taken place. Speaking strictly on basketball terms, this is the place where visiting stars are showcased by the media.
Like theater, this is where a star shines. Any time LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade had came in, they were highlighted. There's also always Reggie Miller's exploits here as a Pacer. As Michael Jordan stated: "There's something special about playing at Madison Square Garden".