Basketball and music go hand in hand. NBA arenas use music almost non-stop to pump up the crowd.
But the NBA tried something new earlier this year: a game with no music for the first half. That happened at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Supporters claimed it would help fans “experience the game in its purest form.”
No wonder it's so quiet in here. Thank you NBA & Knicks. No bells & whistles, just basketball. pic.twitter.com/oLJZXRG04r
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 5, 2017
But the reaction from players and fans was not great. They called it "weird," "pathetic," "sloppy," even "disrespectful." Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said it was like going to church. And everyone agreed, it was very, very different.
The NBA season is back, so we wanted to know what the Denver Nuggets thought about the prospect of playing a game with no music. We visited them at their practice court at the Pepsi Center, as part of our recent interview series on Denver athletes talking about why they love music.
Forward Kenneth Faried was shocked at the idea.
"That sounds terrible!" he says. "Sports and music, they go together! That's everything everybody’s wants: Listen to good music, watch good sports."
Guard Will Barton says it would be "lethargic." And center Mason Plumlee was glad he didn't play in that game in New York City.
"It’d be disappointing if that was at the Garden," he says. "You get used to the same sounds at the Garden."
The Nuggets agreed it would take away from the fan experience. But would it affect their performance on the court during the game?
Gary Harris, who recently signed a four-year extension with the team, wasn't sure.
"We’ve been playing without music our whole life before we got to the NBA," he says. "It could go either way."
Plumlee says a lack of music "wouldn't matter at all." Barton says he wouldn't let it get to him.
"Not at the end of the day. We’re still professional athletes we’re getting paid to do our job and we gotta do it."
The NBA doesn't have any immediate plans to remove music from a game again. That’s good news for Faried.
"I think it gets rid of the hype," he says. "It's tough. I don't think I could do it."
We've got more interviews in our sports in music series coming up from the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche. Check back soon.