- Ezra Shaw/Getty
The New York Knicks experimented with an interesting idea on Sunday vs. the Golden State Warriors, opting not to play music, video, or other in-game entertainment for the first half.
The announcement was made on the jumbotron, saying that it was an experiment to let fans “experience the game in its purest form.” The team added, “Enjoy the sounds of the game.”
After the game, however, a 112-105 win by the Warriors, players were not thrilled with the experiment.
Draymond Green had the most severe of reactions, calling the move “pathetic,” “ridiculous,” and “disrespectful” (via ESPN’s Chris Haynes).
“That was pathetic. It was ridiculous. It changed the flow of the game. It changed everything. You get used to playing a certain way. It completely changed it. To me, I think it was completely disrespectful to everyone from [NBA senior VP of entertainment and player marketing] Michael Levine to [Warriors president and COO] Rick Welts and all these people who’ve done these things to change the game from an entertainment perspective.
“[It] gives the game a great vibe. That’s complete disrespect. You advance things in the world to make it better. You don’t go back to what was bad. It’s like, computers can do anything for us. It’s like going back to paper. Why would you do that? So it was ridiculous.”
Green added that the first half was sloppy and that music helps players get into a rhythm.
While other players did not feel quite as strongly as Green, they still did not like it.
Stephen Curry said after the game, “It was weird. It was, like, back in middle school warm-up games, where it’s just you and the teammates … [and] there’s no music or entertainment whatsoever, so it was definitely different.”
Kristaps Porzingis also called it “weird,” saying, “I didn’t like it. It was weird for me. But I guess that’s how it was back in the day.”
Knicks guard Courtney Lee also said it affected the players’ rhythms, despite the Knicks actually leading the Warriors at halftime.
“It was kind of weird because that’s home-court advantage – having the crowd involved, having the music going and having that energy behind you. … “Imagine if we had that energy? You’d rather have that. It gets the fans into the game, it keeps them in tune with what’s going on as opposed to it being quiet.”
Even Warriors coach Steve Kerr did not love the experiment.
“It was really weird. You sort of take it for granted because every NBA game, you got all this stuff going on, music in the background. You don’t even think about it until it’s not there. It felt like church. It was very quiet. It is Sunday, after all. Maybe that’s why they chose it. It was strange. I kind of liked it better in the second half. It felt more normal with the music.”
Most reports indicated the crowd was fairly quiet without the music. Here’s a video of the scene, via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
Usually MSG has a performance/entertainment act in between quarters. This is what it was like between the first and second quarters today: pic.twitter.com/EgHitf1cqg
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) March 5, 2017
It’s an interesting experiment that didn’t seem to go over well with players. It remains to be seen if fans enjoyed the experience, but surely, the NBA will factor in how players reacted to a silent first half if they consider trying it again.