In light of recent news that Harvard plans to build a new basketball arena to house the Crimson, we decided to highlight a few of the nation’s best and brightest of arenas in order to get some idea of what features the new arena could have. The new structure will replace Ray Lavietes Pavilion, the second-smallest basketball facility in the Ivy League and projects to be finished in between 2017 and 2022. Here are a few of our favorite spots to catch a game of basketball:
Cameron Indoor Arena, Duke (North Carolina)
Cameron Indoor: home to the Cameron Crazies, one of the greatest college basketball student sections of all time. Also home to the Duke Blue Devils and USA Olympic men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Cameron Indoor is among the loudest and most fun arenas in all of college basketball. The student section can be an experience in itself. The engagement of the Crazies and the fans make Cameron one of the best in the nation and give the Blue Devils a great home-court advantage. Let’s not forget that the mascot has been a key fixture on the sidelines through many a March Madness. Will the Crimson men ever have a crazed, life-size mascot version of John Harvard run around a roaring student section?
KFC Yum! Center, University of Louisville (Kentucky)
The home of the University of Louisville Cardinals, this mega-arena opened in the October of 2012 and seats 22,000 fans. What makes the Yum! Center so unique is the variety of amenities that are available for fans and visitors. The lists include 2,084 club seats, 72 luxury suits, four club lounges, and over 25 permanent concession stands. Guests can choose between an 8750 square foot sports bar and concession stands that stock Yum! Brands KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. Oh, and don’t forget about the public food court area that gives fans an exhilarating view of the Ohio River. Could a Felipe’s and Noch’s located inside the new Harvard basketball arena be on the horizon?
Dean E. Smith Center, UNC (North Carolina)
Michael Jordan, Mitch Kupchak, Dean Smith. Many famous names reverberate throughout the arena. While the home of the North Carolina Tar Heels is certainly a lively atmosphere to watch basketball, it pales in comparison to the raucous Cameron Indoor Arena. What makes Dean Smith Arena so special are the historic moments captured in the rafters and in the showcases spread throughout the arena, bringing back memories of the Tar Heels’ long history of collegiate basketball. One particularly memorable collection of nostalgia: Dean Smiths original letter to Michael Jordan, and the original copy Jordan’s letter of intent to play for North Carolina. Is it possible that Tommy Amaker’s original letter to Houston Rocket and Harvard basketball standout Jeremy Lin can be retrieved and enshrined in the new arena? How about a copy of his patent office request to trademark the term “Linsanity”?