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PRO BASKETBALL DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE NBA

Nets Are Quiet About Piping in Noise

March 22, 1997|Associated Press

Maybe Milli Vanilli can do a gig at Continental Airlines Arena.

It would only be fitting, now that the New Jersey Nets admit that phony crowd noise has been used to pump up the volume at the team's home games. The cheers were amplified through loudspeakers.

It wasn't clear how long the club has been engaging in the practice, what equipment was used or whether the Nets had tape-recorded arena noise and then played it back. Spokesman John Mertz declined comment Friday.

"Some of this stuff is embarrassing," Coach John Calipari told the New York Daily News in Friday's editions. "I just shook my head. I said, 'Do we need to do that?' " said Calipari, who learned of the high-decibel hoax early in the season.

The arena can hold 20,049 for basketball games. The average attendance at Nets games this season is 16,017, up from 15,564 last season. The team, which is 20-45, has only the 13th-best record in the 15-team Eastern Conference.

Many in attendance at the Nets' 99-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls March 14 said the artificial cheers were noticeable. They drowned out booing by Chicago fans trying to distract Xavier McDaniel, who made four foul shots in the final minute to win the game.

"I didn't notice that," McDaniel said. "Is that true?"

Nets guard Kevin Edwards said, "I guess it's like a game show, where they have those applause signs."

Many teams in other sports use electronic clapping sounds to spur on fans and some even flash cartoon cheer prompts on scoreboards. But there are no attempts to simulate crowd noise.

"We have rules about when and what decibel level but not the content of particular noise," NBA vice president Brian McIntyre said. "That's up to the individual teams."

Calipari said the bogus cheers eventually will be silenced.

"One day, you'll say, 'It was only three years ago that they were pumping in fake crowd noise.' You'll say, 'How far has this organization come?' " he said.

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