Shawn Kemp on why Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings were the toughest crowds to play in front off
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Shawn Kemp on why Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings were the toughest crowds to play in front off

Hopefully, we’ll see fans back in the stadiums attending the games with no restrictions next season at full capacity. Having fans in attendance brings another excitement to the game, and at the end of the day, the game, teams, and the players would be nothing without the fans. With that being said, some of the fans are nicer and more polite than the others, which is another aspect that makes the whole experience of attending live games so much more fun. Of course, the interaction between the fans and players can go both ways, but it’s interesting to hear from current and former players which NBA team has the toughest home crowd.

We had the opportunity to ask former NBA player Shawn Kemp this question in one of our interviews and received a fascinating answer which in some way wasn’t so surprising. Kemp had a longstanding career in the ’90s when things were slightly different around the league, and rules were a bit looser if fans interacted with the players. Nowadays, we see fans getting banned from the game if they insult players, but 20-30 years ago, that was one of the challenges of playing against those types of home crowds in the league.

For Kemp personally, the most challenging arena to play in was in Salt Lake City in front of the Utah Jazz fans. Kemp remembers the Jazz fans would go to extreme lengths to give their team an extra edge, like constantly calling the hotel room or waiting before the games.

The toughest city to play in was, no doubt Utah. They got some fans there that are relentless. They don’t stop. They will call your hotel room; they will meet you outside before the game.

Shawn Kemp, via 1-on-1 with Basketball Network

That doesn’t sound like a big surprise if you watched The Last Dance documentary and remember there is still a conspiracy theory going around how they poisoned Michael Jordan’s food during the 1997 NBA finals. The late great Kobe Bryant also said he loved the challenge of playing against the Utah Jazz and their fans because they would constantly trash-talk you saying some pretty nasty things. The Jazz arena is constructed in such a way you feel the fans are closer to the court, which is an aspect that adds to a more personal connection between the fans and the players.

They are relentless. And also the Sacramento Kings because they have the cowbells, and they ring those cowbells. It’s the worst sound ever. So the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz have the worst fans ever.

Shawn Kemp, via 1-on-1 with Basketball Network

Not all home crowds are the same, obviously, and some fans are more likely to push the limits on what is considered polite in the sports arena. Of course, going to the extreme is never beneficial but giving that extra edge to your home team definitely means a lot, and sometimes fans are creative in the way they doit it, no matter which country their from or which sport is played.