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An unofficial ranking of NBA arena names

What’s in a name? Quite a lot, actually.

The #1 ranked arena name and initials has captivated generations of fans across many sports, but particularly NBA fans

Today, the Orlando Magic’s arena changed rather suddenly to the Kia Center after being the Amway Center for the last 16 years. I jokingly told J.R. Wilco (PtR’s editor-in-chief) that Kia Arena would have sounded much better - it rhymes!

In the ever-changing world of arena naming rights, I humbly submit my ranking of arena names, including today’s update.

Enron-esque: Questionable arena names based on what the sponsor does

29. Crypto.com Arena (Clippers / Lakers) - NOTE: The Clippers move into the Intuit Dome, which one can only hope is not too ‘taxing’ for them.

The Dregs

28. State Farm Arena (Hawks) - This moves to the bottom of the rankings due to the company’s incessant commercial ads year-round.

27. Spectrum Center (Hornets) - Given the amount of troubles the basic consumer has in dealing with cable companies historically, they can be #28.

26. Toyota Center (Rockets) - The team is insufferable, and personally, a woman spilled her entire Big Red soda on my pants in March, so there’s that.

25. Kia Center (Magic) - Kia Arena would have sounded so much better. #bitter

24. Paycom Arena (Thunder) - A name as boring as the team’s uniforms.

23. United Center (Bulls) - Points for sustaining the naming rights by United Airlines in the last 30 years.

Endless financial institution reminders of who has all the money

22. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (Cavaliers) - Like any financial contract, way too much verbiage in a name.

21. Capital One Arena (Wizards) - This is made worse by the news that the owner plans to move the team to Northern Virginia.

20. Chase Center (Warriors) - A tragedy that the team did not stay in Oakland, and Oracle Arena was an underrated name.

19. Fiserv Forum (Bucks) - Alliterative pleasantness, but I had to look up what Fiserv actually does.

18. Wells Fargo Center (Sixers) - The Spectrum was a top three arena historically. The team has backed up the Brinks truck for so many stars recently without a title in four decades.

17. Barclay’s Center (Nets) - It lacks a quippy nickname (‘The Barc’?)

16. TD Garden (Celtics) - One of the most underrated names currently.

15. Golden 1 Center (Kings) - If and when the Kings win their first West Coast title, the roster will be remembered as the “Golden 1’s.”

14. Scotiabank Arena (Raptors) - The coolest sounding of the banking/finance names.

13. Frost Bank Center (Spurs) - The Frost Forum would have been the Chef’s Kiss here.

12. Kaseya Center (Heat) - Numerous points awarded for replacing a dubious financial organization (FTX) with an Information Technology outfit.

11. Target Center (Wolves) - An apropro name for how well the young team is shooting this season.

10. American Airlines Center (Mavericks) - Credit given for keeping the same name for over two decades.

9. Moda Center (Blazers) - The debut of the Moda name occurred during the Spurs’ 2013-14 championship run. Good memories live here.

8. Gainbridge Fieldhouse (Pacers) - Though it has a financial company behind its name, the Fieldhouse fits the state’s passion for the sport.

7. Footprint Center (Suns) - The team has had so many name changes over the last two decades that this is just as nice as any name.

6. FedEx Forum (Grizzlies) - The winner of the Alliteration Olympics!

The Top Five

5. LIttle Caesar’s Arena (Pistons) - finally something to be cheerful about for Detroit’s fanbase. It’s just a nice sounding name that pops off the tongue.

4. Delta Center (Jazz) - Though the place has been a house of horrors for so many Spurs players and fans, this is an homage to a glorious era of NBA prominence.

3. Smoothie King Center (Pelicans) - Since I’m almost positive that Smoothie King is not the bad actors behind Zion Williamson’s ongoing weight management struggles, the name just sounds wonderful.

2. Ball Arena (Nuggets) - The World Champions play in an arena named after the very thing the players use. #sublime

  1. Madison Square Garden (Knicks) - The mecca of professional sports. The only way to mess up this grand name was shown during so many of Jackie Chan’s outtakes in the first Rush Hour movie.

Best Historical Name(s): HemisFair Arena. The Forum. Chicago Stadium. We can be partial, can’t we?


Pounders - Happy Holidays! What are some of your favorite arena names? What are some of your more despised ones? Please answer in the comments below.