The Gilbert and Caron-less Wiz had a mixed bag this weekend, winning at Toronto and losing to Charlotte to remain sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, but that’s not what this is about. This is about Washington Post Wizards beat writer Ivan Carter’s blog post following the Raptors game:
“It is games like last night’s when the difference most NBA arenas and the VC is shocking. The fans here in [Toronto] were nuts during the second half … and didn’t need piped in sound or goofy promotions to make noise. It was pure, honest to goodness enthusiasm. Or a whole lot of Molsons, whatever …
[Eddie] Jordan on the Air Canada Centre, where the Wiz had lost four straight: “It’s a great environment to play. This crowd gets into it man and you’re really at a disadvantage if you don’t have the confidence and the veteran poise to get through it.”
In three years covering the Wizards, I’ve never heard an opposing coach or player said that about Verizon Center, which too often resembles the gym in Vegas during summer league. At the VC, the staff has to put up a Duke logo or picture of the Dallas Cowboys to get fans to make noise. Pathetic.
I’ve been to many a Wiz game and thought the same thing, but isn’t that the norm in the NBA? It’s great that Toronto “gets into it,” but how many arenas are known for having intense, enthusiastic fans, especially in the 82 game regular season? Golden State’s the only one that comes to mind, and that may be the biggest reason why so many fans prefer the college game.
That said, I’ve only been to NBA games in D.C. If you, like I-Dot Carter, have been around the league, please inform as to whether the atmosphere in other arenas is more like the one Toronto is lauded for having or the one that’s maligned here in Washington. Obviously, I’m going with the latter.