Basketball travel diaries: An NBA treat as the Brooklyn Nets take on the Washington Wizards at the Barclays Centre

Posted on 4 January 2016
By Andy Johnson
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Even if you’ve never stepped foot in the Big Apple, we all feel like we’ve been there so many times, with movies featuring the famous sights and sounds of the city.

We recommend you try a different slice of the American dream and catch an NBA game.

For anyone taking a trip to New York, watching a basketball game is a change of pace from sight seeing and a delightfully offbeat day out.

Take yourself away from the maddening crowds of Manhattan and join the roaring crowds supporting the Nets.

The Brooklynites play at the brand spanking new Barclays Centre, which looks less like a stadium and more like a spaceship which has crashed landed in Downtown Brooklyn.

The locals really get behind their boys and the electricity in the air was palpable.

Even if you’re not a sports fan, we defy you not to get pulled in by the intoxicating atmosphere.

Plus you are more than likely to do a spot of star spotting. Hip Hop legend Jay Z is a part owner of the team and he is known to rock up to games sporting a black leather Nets cap and more often than not, with the most glamorous of accessories on his arm, the one and only Beyonce.

All celebrities at the game at some stage will be flashed up on the big screen above centre court to wave to the crowd. Amongst other famous faces spotted recently were David Beckham, Rihanna, Ben Stiller and Beatles icon Paul McCartney.

Nobody produces sporting events quite like the Americans, we’re talking about the razzmatazz, the moments in between the action. Part of the joy of going to an NBA game is being entertained during time outs.

The regular strategic breaks in play demand something to keep the crowd engaged and in high spirits. Besides the classic cheerleader routines, you will have tee shirts fired at you from mascots and also at any moment be projected on to the big screen dancing or on the Kiss Cam, which zones in on couples sitting together and requires them to pucker up.

The atmosphere also spills outside the hall and into the bar and food stall areas, which feel like a club, with fans watching any action they’re missing on TVs and mixing with each other, buzzing about the game.

Indeed, one of the most unusual things for an Englishman in New York, is to notice the dominance of the home supporters. Totally different to the Permiership. Largely due to the vast geography of the country. But this lends itself to the unique atmosphere.

But, probably due to the holidays and short flight time, we noticed there were quite a few Washington fans dotted about cheering on their team.

And to great effect, despite it being a close game for the majority of the match, the Wizards kept their composure and traded baskets with the home team throughout the game. Before capitalising on a clumsy streak by the Nets and taking a ten point lead in the final quarter past.

Despite die hard support from the home fans, veteran guard Joe Johnson and his Brooklyn team mates couldn’t fight back from the sudden turn in fortune and lost the game.

The final score was Washington Wizards 111 – 96 Brooklyn Nets.

So the home crowd filtered out slightly deflated, but we bounced back on to the streets of Bk with huge smiles and dreaming of our next NBA adventure.

Check out the teams where you’re travelling to, watch highlights and buy tickets www.nba.com