Call it ‘the Crypt’: Where does Arena rank among all NBA arena names?

A rendering shows Arena after its planned name change from Staples Center.
A rendering of the planned rebranding of Staples Center to Arena.

So it’s a done deal — Staples Center is changing its name to Arena.

Also NBA Twitter has signed off — its nickname will heretofore be “the Crypt.”

Of course.

The official name change doesn’t happen until Dec. 25, but folks in L.A. started using the moniker almost immediately after the news broke Monday night.

Just like that, the home of the Lakers, Clippers (for now), Sparks and Kings has one of the coolest sports arena nicknames around.


Which really helps make up for the new official name, which is kind of awkward.

With corporations owning the naming rights to most major sporting venues these days, a good nickname is crucial, although there are a few cases in which the official name is pretty spectacular itself.

Where does Arena/the Crypt rank among NBA arena names/nicknames (or potential nicknames)?

Here’s a completely subjective ranking, listed in reverse order:


30. Amway Center (Orlando Magic)

A Google search revealed one nickname for the Magic’s home: “Triple Crown for Downtown.” Here’s hoping the locals have a better name they keep to themselves.


29. AT&T Center (San Antonio Spurs)

AT&T is out as the namesake in 2022, so consider the name of the Spurs’ home an opportunity for future corporate sponsors and nickname makers.

The Clippers have not embraced Arena, the new name for Staples Center after AEG inked a naming rights deal worth more than $700 million.

Nov. 17, 2021


28. Scotiabank Arena (Toronto Raptors)

Known as Air Canada Centre until 2018, the nicknames “the ACC” and “the Hangar” have remained.


27. TD Garden (Boston Celtics)

Most locals call it “Boston Garden” (or just “the Garden”), which was the name of the arena this one replaced in 1995.


26. Target Center (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Apparently some Timberwolves fans tried calling it “the Den.” Not sure if it stuck. Doesn’t really seem worth finding out.


25. Moda Center (Portland Trail Blazers)

Was formerly called the Rose Garden. Chances are locals still call it that, based on the outcry from when the name changed in 2013.


24. Chase Center (Golden State Warriors)

The Warriors moved back to San Francisco just last year, so it’s understandable if there’s no cool nickname just yet. Hopefully it won’t just be “the Chase.”

The Staples Center will become known as Arena as part of a new 20-year deal between the Singapore cryptocurrency exchange and AEG, owner of the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks.

Nov. 16, 2021


23. Gainbridge Fieldhouse (Indiana Pacers)

Doesn’t really seem to have a real nickname other than just “the Fieldhouse.” But Gainbridge just took over as sponsor this year so perhaps in time ...


22. State Farm Arena (Atlanta Hawks)

Nicknamed “the Highlight Factory” back when it was formally known as Philips Arena, because Philips makes lights and numerous highlights occurred in the building.


21. Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia 76ers)

“The Center” has no zing to it. Would have been much higher on the list had it stuck with its working brand-free name from 1996 (“Spectrum II”).


20. Capital One Arena (Washington Wizards)

Bradley Beal and former Wizards teammate John Wall came up with the bank-related nickname “the Vault” after Capitol One received the naming rights in 2017.


19. American Airlines Center (Dallas Mavericks)

“The AAC” is functional enough. Not particularly clever, but it does roll off the tongue.


18. Barclays Center (Brooklyn Nets)

A crowd stands outside Barclays Center.
A view of the crowd outside during the memorial service for DMX at Barclays Center on April 24,.
(Arturo Holmes / Getty Images)

Some call it “Ballers’ Paradise.” That’s fine.


17. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Apparently it’s still widely known as “the Q,” a nickname given to the building when it was called Quicken Loans Arena. Certainly “the Rocket” or “the Rock” will happen eventually.


16. United Center (Chicago Bulls)

A lot of NBA history happened in this classic arena, which has had the same name since it opened in 1994. The only functional nickname seems to be “the U.C.,” which isn’t all that original but is kind of catchy.


15. FTX Arena (Miami Heat)

Until earlier this year, the Heat’s home was known as American Airlines Arena — and apparently it’s still commonly called that name (and, presumably, the traditional “Triple-A” nickname). But FTX does sound cool and could catch on.


14. Paycom Arena (Oklahoma City Thunder)

“The Thunderdome” is kind of an obvious nickname for any building a team called the Thunder calls home, but it works.


13. Little Caesars Arena (Detroit Pistons)

A couple of locals once pushed an excellent nickname that includes nods to the current corporate sponsor and Detroit’s old Joe Louis Arena: “the DoughJoe.” Sure hope that one caught on.


12. Intuit Dome (Clippers, scheduled to open in 2024)

Steve Ballmer speaks in front of an image of the Intuit Dome.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer takes the stage during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Intuit Dome.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Pretty cool official name — fans might really get, ahem, into it.


11. Footprint Center (Phoenix Suns)

Its most common nickname is “the Purple Palace,” but honestly the new corporate name (since June) is better.


10. Madison Square Garden (New York Knicks)

A venue with a name so classic that a corporation (now known as MSG Sports) was named after it, instead of the other way around. No need for a fancy nickname — “MSG” and “the Garden” are just fine.


9. Ball Arena (Denver Nuggets)

A basketball venue called Ball Arena really doesn’t require a nickname, does it?


8. Toyota Center (Houston Rockets)

Clutch City” might be the only arena nickname apparently recognized by the U.S. Postal Service as an actual address.

The Clippers’ new home arena in Inglewood will be The Intuit Dome, an 18,000-seat venue scheduled to open for the start of the 2024-25 season.

Sept. 17, 2021


7. Spectrum Center (Charlotte Hornets)

The Hornets’ home has two solid nicknames — “the Hive,” in honor of the NBA tenants, and “the Cable Box,” in honor of the corporate sponsor.


6. vivint arena (Utah Jazz)

Points for the all-lowercase name? OK, sure. Was once known as “the Dump” (a reference to hazardous waste) when naming rights were owned by EnergySolutions.


5. FedExForum (Memphis Grizzlies)

Points for making the name all one word? OK, sure. “The Grindhouse” also is a fantastic nickname, a reference to longtime player Tony “the Grindfather” Allen.


4. Golden 1 Center (Sacramento Kings)

Any nickname formed by combining letters and numbers sounds cool — that applies to “G1C” and “the G1” for the Kings’ home.


3. Fiserv Forum (Milwaukee Bucks)

The “Four-One-Forum” nickname (a reference to the 414 area code) is pretty original. Fiserv sounds cool as far as corporate names go, too.


2. Arena (Lakers and Clippers)

“The Crypt” is simultaneously the most obvious and most excellent nickname for a sports arena. It’s that bulky official name that’s keeping the downtown L.A. venue out of the top spot.


1. Smoothie King Center (New Orleans Pelicans)

Cars pull up to the Smoothie King Center
The Smoothie King Center, home of the New Orleans Pelicans, also has a solid nickname: “the Blender.”
(Rusty Costanza / Associated Press)

It’s a good thing “the Blender” is such a great nickname; otherwise the Pelicans’ home would be docked points for even having a nickname since the corporate name is so amazing.