There are 30 NBA teams playing in 30 arenas. One of them has to be the oldest arena in the NBA.
Your deductive reasoning is correct. But which one is it? That’s what we have gathered together today to determine.
The NBA was born August 3, 1949, when a three-year battle ended and the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball (NBL) combined to create the National Basketball Association. On June 6, 1946, though, is when the BAA began, and those first few years are still considered the beginning of the NBA.
The Chicago Stags and Philadelphia Warriors, two teams that no longer exist, either at all or in their previous form, met in the 1947 Finals, with the Warriors taking home the ‘ship, 4-1. A lot has changed since then, and especially a lot has changed in where the games are played. There are no venues still in use in the modern NBA from 1946, 1949 or many years after. But one stands out as the oldest, and you won’t be too surprised to find out which one it is.
The Oldest Arena in the NBA: Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden is by far the oldest arena in the NBA, hosting the New York Knicks since 1968 and beating out Target Center, the home of the Minnesota Timberwolves, by more than two decades for the title. But it hasn’t held this status for long.
The former Oracle Arena, now known as Oakland Arena, was the oldest arena still in use by the league. However, that changed when the Golden State Warriors moved to Chase Center in 2019. Oakland Arena was opened in 1966, just a few years before Madison Square Garden, but that slight difference is now moot.
The current Madison Square Garden is the fourth arena in New York to bear the name, with the first one opening in 1879 at East 26th Street and Madison Avenue, located across from the Madison Square Park. It was built before James Naismith invented basketball.
The other two iterations of MSG opened in 1890 and 1925, growing in prominence and popularity through the years, and the fourth and final (as of now) version is one of the holiest sites in basketball and a major cultural hub for this country and beyond. More unbelievable sports moments have occurred in that building than can be written down, from NBA Finals to Stanley Cup Finals to Big East Tournaments and more. Plus unforgettable non-sporting moments, too, from Andrew Dice Clay selling out Madison Square Garden two nights in a row in 1990, the only comedian to ever do so, to the 1984 Judas Priest concert that led to mass destruction and chaos.
Madison Square Garden is not only the oldest arena in the NBA, it is also one of the most famous and important venues of any kind in all of America.