NBA arena rankings: No. 4 Dallas Mavericks' American Airlines Center
The home of the Dallas Mavericks is one of the most architecturally distinctive arenas in the NBA (Photo courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks)
In sharp contrast to the sport of baseball — which enables architects to create quirky outfield dimensions and venues that sometimes employ retractable roofs — basketball arenas are inherently similar. Basketball courts always employ the same dimensions, and the arenas themselves always are closed to the elements. Designers also have to squeeze in a lot of functionality into a small land area.
But these arenas are special.
We're unveiling our picks for the NBA's top 10 venues.
To arrive at these rankings, we took into account an arena's location, the atmosphere created by the home team's fans, the aesthetics of the exterior, the aesthetics of the interior, its fan-friendliness and its place in the game's history.
This is a wildly subjective list. Hopefully, this will spark some serious debate. Disagree with a ranking? Then chime in with your opinion by writing in the comments field below.
American Airlines Center
Arena ranking: 4th
Home of: Dallas Mavericks
Capacity for pro basketball: 19,200
First NBA regular-season game: Oct. 30, 2001
Positives: If Orlando's Amway Center is the NBA's most technologically advanced arena, then Dallas' American Airlines Center is just one step behind. The high-definition scoreboard is crystal clear, and the arena's sound system is top-notch. . . . But the first thing anyone will notice with this building is its exterior architecture, which is accentuated by pale brick and an arched roof. It's beautiful — one of the few NBA arenas that is truly aesthetically pleasing on the outside. . . . The interior also is very nice and features superb sightlines. . . . Situated in Dallas' Victory Park, the city's downtown is a short walk away. . . . The arena has hosted two NBA Finals series, including the Mavs' upset of the Miami Heat this year.
Negatives: This is a quibble, but during games, the sound system booms out the sound when a basketball clangs off the rim on a shot or swishes through the hoop on a free throw. It gets annoying quickly.
Overall: Bravo to the Mavericks for putting as much care into the arena's exterior architecture as its interior.
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