Playing without fans will be a brand new experience for many NBA players when 22 teams descend on Walt Disney World Resort in Florida later this month to resume the 2019-20 season.
Boston Celtics point guard Brad Wanamaker actually knows what it's like to not play with fans in the crowd.
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Wanamaker faced the situation in high school and while he was playing professionally overseas.
"I played a few games overseas where we couldn't have fans because of some violent things fans did in previous games," Wanamaker said Friday in a video conference call. "So they banned fans because some fans got in fights before (the game). And also in high school I played a few games with no fans because the team that was our rival, the year before we played each other in the championship game and a big riot broke out after the game. So the next year we had to play with no fans. AAU basketball is very similar to this situation, too. I guess once the ball tips off it feels normal."
What's it like playing with no fans? Wanamaker stressed the need to bring your own energy to the court because you won't get any boost from the crowd.
"It's self motivation, in a way, because you don't have the fans to get you going on a highlight play or something, so you really have to be strong within the team," Wanamaker explained. "I think we have a good team here, and I think we have a good bond. I think that would be to our advantage.
"But it was definitely different. You couldn't get hyped for certain plays as you usually get. The energy was different in the crowd. Your own energy you have to bring. We're human -- you're not always up to par to playing in the games sometimes and you need little things to get you going. Sometimes the fans help out with that. Here it's got to be your teammates that you lean on more."
Wanamaker is confident the Celtics have a strong enough team chemistry to help pull each other through any challenges that await them in Orlando.
"It's very unique. We all cheer for each other," Wanamaker said of the team's bond. "We all want each other to do well, whether we're playing the bulk of the minutes or somebody else. As you've seen throughout the season, we're constantly cheering each other on, and giving each other advice throughout the game. Obviously there are egos on a team, but ours don't stand out as much because everyone wants to see each other win and do well. That's another advantage for us."
Training camps for the 22 teams are expected to begin late next week, with the first seeding games taking place on July 30. The Celtics' first seeding game is set for July 31 against the first-place Milwaukee Bucks. Every seeding game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Boston.