Sure, there are plenty of countries around the world where basketball is played. But nowhere else apart from in the US is it followed with quite as much fervour. From the legendary March Madness of the college game to the NBA Finals played across May and June, it’s hard not to get caught up in the general excitement.
There are some cities around the country where the levels of excitement reach fever pitch, not just at these big moments, but all season long and especially when there’s a local rivalry being played out.
So if you want to experience it for yourself, here are five US cities where they really do go nuts for the sport.
The LA Lakers are arguably the most famous basketball team in the country. This has been thanks to the stars that the team has attracted in the past. These include the legendary Magic Johnson who spent his entire playing career with the team to today’s “Face of the NBA”, a certain LeBron James. While he’s undoubtedly the highest profile name on the current roster other great performers include Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The team’s home is the Crypto.com Arena, formerly the Staples Center, with a capacity of over 19,000 – although games are usually sold out.
For fans traveling to the city, there are all of its other attractions to enjoy when you’re not watching the game, from the Universal Studios tour to the legendary Santa Monica and Malibu beaches.
Followers of NBA Championship odds will know that by mid-May the team had become firm favorites to win the title for the season, although Boston Celtics are also well in the running. Given that they earned their name from the 19th century prospectors who descended on the region, fans are hoping that they will strike gold again this year.
Their home games are played in the Ball Arena which is famous for the atmosphere that it creates. Their undoubted star player is the center Nikola Jokic who this season averaged 24.5 points per game and other leading names include Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray.
While the team have never won a Championship outright, there’s a strong feeling around the NBA that this really could be their season.
The team once known as the San Francisco Warriors changed their name before the 1971 season commenced to the Golden State Warriors. The thinking was that this would suggest they represent the whole state of California instead of just the city. Since 2019 their home has been the futuristic Chase Center with a capacity of 18,064 for matches.
The team is a regular fixture in the playoffs with their most recent championship, their seventh, coming last season when they defeated Boston Celtics in a closely contested series. If shirt sales are anything to go by, their fans are by far the most loyal in the NBA and star players include Stephen Curry, Kevon Looney and Draymond Green.
There is certainly no shortage of fans for the Windy City’s finest. In terms of social media across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram they come second only to the Lakers with over 25 million dedicated followers. They’re the team that Michael Jordan really put on the map during the twelve seasons he played for them – during which time he undoubtedly grew their fanbase hugely.
Known as one of the NBA’s noisiest crowds, they can almost raise the roof at home games played in the franchise’s 21,000 seat capacity United Center.
Current star players include Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. Unfortunately, the Bulls didn’t have a great 2022-23 finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference and missing out on a playoff place. But you can be sure that they’ll be back with a vengeance next season.
In terms of socials, Miami Heat are also up there in terms of followers with over 23 million fans always eager to get the latest news and gossip and other carefully-curated content.
Their home is the Kaseya Center which can accommodate 19,600 when filled to capacity – as it always is when the Heat are playing at home.
All teams have certain rivalries but the Heat seem to have more than most including with the understandably local one with Orlando Magic as well as with Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.
The backbone of the current team consists of the phenomenal jimmy Butler as well as Bam Adebayo.
Of course, with a grand total of 30 teams in the NBA there are plenty of other cites we could have mentioned including New York, Detroit and Washington. But it’s these five where you will probably find the biggest thrills and most die-hard fans – and isn’t that what every dedicated basketball follower is searching for?