Friday , Jan , 18 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

The NBA’s Rowdiest Crowds

The NBA's Rowdiest Crowds

I caught seven of the ten games tonight. Not bad. Quite hectic, actually, since I was doing homework and IMing three fellow hoops fans as well.

Naturally, you might think, “Why not just pick one game, and just relax with it? After all it’s Friday night!” Then you’d continue, “Why not get high and wasted like Hunter S. and write a great gonzo piece?”

Well, my friends, I don’t know.

Tonight begins an ongoing report of crowd support in NBA arenas around the nation.

Only one champion will be crowned per night, which obviously leaves many unhappy fans and supporters to ruminate about how incredibly pathetic they are…or at least how pathetic I think they are.

At the end of the season we’ll determine the city that really runs it! Or, even more interesting, we’ll pick the fans who couldn’t tell the difference between an 81-point performance and…well, Kwame Brown.

So without further ado, the list of last night’s home crowds in order of most to least rowdy…

1) Boston

The crowd seemed like one entity with its own smell, personality and farts.

Tonight, I got a good sense of the New England fan, and I liked it. Apparently, Boston safely packed away its rowdiness under a pillow for 20 years and brought it back again this season.

Early on, the crowd started its own chants almost every trip down the court. I was thoroughly impressed with how they reacted to every score. The only other contemporary team with a crowd so in-tune with the game was the Chicago Bulls during the glory days of the 1990s.

You could feel a higher level of sports intelligence circulating throughout the stands. There was always a consistent, wonderful din that made you want to be there. The Garden has a Wrigley Field atmosphere – being there is better than the game’s outcome, win or lose.

I loved how the fans even got up for Leon Powe during garbage time. Paul Pierce and the rest of the team were cheering along with their fans. Now, that’s support.

2) Detroit

If I had to play in an NBA arena, it surely wouldn’t be the Palace. These people seem like they had knives in their coat pockets, ready to stab at you…or maybe they were just taking a necessary precaution with Ron Ron in the building.

This was a close game throughout. The Pistons were playing catch-up against the Kings almost the entire game, and the crowd stuck with it, urging them on.

Of course, you have to have the “SHEED” chants. I used to hate it when I wasn’t a Pistons fan, so I know how annoying it is. Yet I too was chanting “SHEED!!” tonight whenever dude shot the big money ball.

Compared to Celtics’ fans, though, Detroit’s are bootleg.

At times you can tell most of the fans are from Very Midwestern Suburb Exhibit A – very reserved in their expensive jackets and scarves. Yet at other times, they completely shed this persona and got buck!

Still, I question this crowd. Even during close moments, you’d hear pockets of fans very audibly, creating a very hollow hiccup in the mood.

I’m thinking Detroit fans might be serious candidates for being the most overrated.


3) Toronto

Here’s where we fall into the NBA fan mediocrity, where the lines distinguishing teams begin to blur…a lot. However, it was clear tonight the Toronto crowd came to support its team.

The best word to describe the fans is “decent”. I mean, it sounds like they’re supporting the team via the sound system’s insistence. For example, DE-FENCE would only be cheered if the loud speakers were leading the way. 

However, as the game progressed into the third and fourth quarters, you could tell an NBA franchise can survive in another nation.

This crowd was quite possibly the loudest of them at tonight, when it literally growled like a tiger during the final minute. Certainly, Toronto fans love their Chris Bosh, who finished with another all-star performance.

Without the strong, redeeming support at the end, the Toronto fans would be much further down tonight’s list.




4) Phoenix

Phoenix has a solid crowd, yet tonight was never a game. I haven’t seen such a clinic in weeks, maybe months! The game was so one-sided that I think the fans got tired of cheering.

5) Washington

I took me until the third quarter to even notice any cheers from this crowd. I’ll chalk it up as an off night from an otherwise decent fan base. After all, they were playing the Knicks, who even New York fans can’t get up for these days. Still, I watch out for Washington fans to be among the most overrated in the long run.


6) Utah

Rather disappointing tonight, but what can you expect from a blowout over another mucky team? The crowd never seemed into it in the first place, though, which pushes Utah fans to number six. I wouldn’t be surprised if fans came directly from a long day at work and just wanted to kick back to some entertainment.

Salt Lake City embodied what I mean by having a very hollow atmosphere. Echoes were everywhere, making you wonder why only ten percent of the crowd was making noise.


7) New Orleans

Just a total disappointment. With the team winning like it is, having no fans would’ve been better than this measly turnout. Seriously, this has to be embarrassing for Paul & Co.

You can hear a pin drop even after a CP3 highlight.