Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum: NBA arenas are now featuring the sounds of a very awkward silence

Trail Blazers

The new normal in NBA arenas is so different.

Where there was usually an almost painful amount of ear pollution from too-loud music, large-crowd reactions, referees' whistles and amped-up public address announcers, there is now an almost awkward silence.

It’s suddenly sounding like somebody dribbling a basketball through a library… with a few people commenting on it.

It was apparently especially quiet in Denver’s arena Wednesday night. No fans, no music and an almost distracting silence.

“You’re hearing everything,” said Portland’s CJ McCollum. “It's completely different than the bubble, because the bubble was smaller-scale arenas. They had the screens with the fans. They had the noise in there.

“There was no crowd noise last night. And when guys go to the free-throw line, I can literally hear the play-by-play people talking. I mean, you'd never be able to hear something like that in a normal game, but that just kind of tells you how quiet it is.

“Jamal Murray was at the free-throw line and he's like, ‘Can you guys turn some music on or something?’ -- because it is just awkward, to where it's just unusual.”


Coaches barking out plays can be heard all over the building, but McCollum says that’s not a big deal.

“Regular season, you scout so much that you really are familiar with the play,” he said. “Like they know our plays we know most of their plays, unless there's new stuff that's been put in. It’s more read and react to actions.

“Free-throw line stuff, you can't sneak any calls in off of free throws, because you can hear everything. So I guess that’s the positive, but also the negative, because normally you’ve got the crowd to kind of cheer and maybe get you to miss or get a momentum-swinging play.”

Now, it’s nothing. The sounds of silence.