The NBA has a rich history, one of the richest in the world of sports but they had to work hard to make it to this day when they’re one of the biggest and most famous brands in the world. In almost 80 years of existence, the league has witnessed some impressive records that show how big they are and how little they were. Something more common to see in other sports like football or soccer is the number of fans that attend games.
The association, just like the rest of major competitions in America, and the rest of the world has its own records of most and least attended games.
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The most attended game in the league’s history took place on March 27, 1998, between the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls. The Hawks used to play their games at the Omni Coliseum until they decided it was time to build a new arena. The last season they played at the Omni was in 1996-97. So, where did they play the next seasons and why did they record this attendance? Well, for two seasons, the Hawks played their home games at the home of the Atlanta Falcons, the Georgia Dome.
That said, that game became the most attended game in the history of NBA regular season and playoff games, with 62,046 people in attendance to see His Airness Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls taking on the Hawks. There is one game that broke the barrier of the 100K fans in attendance, the 2010 All-Star game, but given the nature of that match, it’s not fair to consider it over that Bulls-Hawks duel. Still, 108,713 people attended that match, where the East won, 141 – 139 and Dwyane Wade was named the MVP.
Now, on the other hand, the smallest NBA crowd ever recorded gives you an insight or how basketball was seen during the 60s. A game between the San Francisco Warriors (who later became Golden State Warriors) and Detroit Pistons in 1965 holds the honor with the lowest attendance ever recorded, 741. Some people would say it was a boring game with nothing to show but that’s far from reality. Dave DeBusschere was playing for the home Pistons and Nate Thurmond for Warriors, two of the best 50 players in the history of the game. However, that wasn’t enough to convince more people to attend the game.
These two games reflect two realities, how little the league was and the null attraction it has during the 70s and the global phenom it became during the 80s and 90s, especially after Michael Jordan’s arrival. Some could say the bubble is the perfect moment to break the record for the least attended game in history but we know these are extraordinary times and obviously, fans won’t skip going to arenas on purpose.
**Credit to Chris Cabrera**