Cohen: NBA Finals Stadium Hopping?

By Josh Cohen
June 8, 2012

ORLANDO -- Imagine over 75,000 people present to watch the elite skirmish for championship dignity.

Envision all of the ambiance and entertainment encircling several of the nation’s modish cities over a two-week span.

Picture all the celebration and festivities and the enormous global media hype.

While NBA Finals games being played on the home floors of the participating championship-aspiring teams is appropriate and conventional, imagine a series that spreads across the country and stops at football-sized stadiums or other state-of-the-art buildings to create Super Bowl-like ambiance.

Irrespective of the involved teams vying for NBA championship decorum, the locations for each game throughout the NBA Finals can swing from North to South and East to West.

Like it is for the NCAA Final Four, which is customarily played at indoor football stadiums such as the Louisiana Superdome or Houston’s Reliant Stadium, would neutral sites be beneficial for the NBA Finals?

While I am always a proponent of home court/field/ice advantage in all levels of sports competition, the NFL Super Bowl’s hype creates extraordinary pageantry.

Cruising from city to city and stadium to stadium throughout the course of a seven-game series would allow for people from different parts of the country to enjoy all of the NBA Finals festivities and spectacles.

Here is an example of an NBA Finals timeline in a given year:

Game 1, June 5: Basketball returns to the house that Jerry Jones built as the NBA Finals tips off at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

Game 2, June 8: From delicious barbecue to scrumptious gumbo, Game 2 is set for battle at the Louisiana Superdome.

Game 3, June 11: For the first time since 1968, NBA hoops returns to the Independent City as a pivotal Game 3 is scheduled for the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Game 4, June 14: After sightseeing The Gateway Arch, the basketball universe can get a taste of the world’s best coffee when Game 4 shifts to Seattle and under the retractable roof at Safeco Field.

Game 5, June 17 (If Necessary): A return to more familiar hardwood territory, the world can discover the most technologically advanced building in the world when Game 5 tips off at the dazzling Amway Center in Orlando.

Game 6, June 20 (If Necessary): From a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse and Shamoo to a welcoming from the President of the United States, Game 6 will take place at the Verizon Center in the nation’s capital.

Game 7, June 23 (If Necessary): Rich in history, a champion can be determined at one of the eldest arenas in the world, Madison Square Garden in New York.

Undeniably, the locations and stadiums each year can change and it would have no correlation to which teams advance to the NBA Finals.

This escapade around the country to showcase the NBA Finals is obviously a bit far-fetched and perhaps financially impractical. But, again, this idea is meant to be creative and conjure up innovative proposals.

I still probably prefer the customary home-court system because it rewards the teams and fans that deserve to host the most significant games of the season.

Nonetheless, what do you think?


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