When the NBA decided to do the Disneyland Bubble to continue the season despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the players’ initial concern was that no fans would cheer for them. LeBron James even said it was “impossible” to play without fans. Needless to say, the fans are as important to the game as the players themselves. The basketball crowd chants fire up (and piss off) teams bringing life to the game. Without that element in basketball, it’s not impossible to see why even “The King” thought he couldn’t play without fans in the arena.
Do you want to learn more about what basketball cheers and chants are all about? Please continue reading this article.
What is Crowd Chanting in Basketball?
Crowd chants for basketball games are short cheers, most often led by cheerleaders. It is the opposite of floor cheers, which are basically routines performed during game breaks or halftime. Leading basketball crowd chants requires a different skill from cheerleaders, but if done correctly, it can change the game’s complexion.
To get the crowd going, cheerleaders use their voices to set the tone and teach the crowd to cheer. With their own voices at the forefront, they must hopefully rile the crowd enough for them to follow along. Since this is a delicate art, cheerleaders often use short basketball cheers with simple words.
In a basketball game, these words could just be a chant of “Defense” or one that follows a rhythmic pattern such as “Let’s go Lakers,” or any other team for that matter (and a clapping sequence afterward).
To personalize the chants a little bit, some schools and their cheerleaders try to come up with original material instead of the usual. This primarily works during home games to which the crowd could relate to whatever motivational mantra they come up with. Outside factors like basketball cheers and chants could turn the tide and help the home team win in a hard-fought match.
More often than not, though, the fans do not need cheerleaders. Most of them are creative enough to come up with their own quips. When that happens, it’s either you grin from ear to ear or just shake your head in utter disbelief.
What Do They Chant at Basketball Games?
Believe it or not, fans chant whatever they want to. But when it’s up to cheerleaders to set the tone, the simpler, the better. That way, the crowd can get along in no time, and the place will be rocking in a couple of seconds.
Some of the most common crowd chants for basketball games are:
● Let’s go, (insert team name)!
● A jeer like “You suck!”
● Beat LA! (Every Laker road game)
● A short rhyme such as “Have a seat, we’ve got you beat/ We know you just can’t take the heat”
Speaking of the “Dee-fense!” chants, here’s something interesting about its history. It actually began during the New York Giants NFL reign as a super team in the mid1950s. In the 1956 season, bannered by future Hall-of-Famers Sam Huff, Emlen Tunnell, and Andy Robustelli, the team won the NFL championship (it’s not called the Super Bowl until 1967), many thanks to their stellar defense.
During one of the games in that season, on November 11th, the Giants hosted the Chicago Cardinals at the Yankee Stadium. These two clubs were the best Eastern Conference teams at that point, so, understandably, a lot of fans have circled the date on their sporting calendars.
Now, picture this: 61,000 paying patrons watched as the Giants try to finish the Cardinals, but they had to do it on the defensive end. As Chicago tried a late offensive push, the Giants fans tried to give their home team a little inspiration. Some of the patrons started chanting “Dee-fense!” and thus, a legendary chant was born. The defense chants can be commonly heard, not only in NFL games but also in basketball, hockey, and soccer.
Why Do People Chant Defense in Basketball?
“Defense” chants are done by home teams, and that’s pretty understandable and logical. The main reason people do defense chants is to encourage their team to keep their guard up on defense and rattle the offense a little bit.
On the other hand, the home team fans don’t chant “offense” because, naturally, they would want their team to execute without any distractions. In basketball, offense is primarily based on communication. If the crowds get really loud in the middle of a set, the players probably wouldn’t hear the instructions from the coaches or the point guard/ballhandler.
That is why home fans get loud when the visiting team has the ball (with chants of “Defense!”) and get quiet when their team is executing on offense.
5 Best Cheers and Chants for Basketball Games
The best basketball cheers and chants are the ones that are short and to the point. These mantras are easy to follow, so it’s not difficult to get the arena rocking in an instant. That is how “Dee-fense” became the most famous sports cheer ever.
Here are some examples:
1. The “Beat Em” Chant
B-E-A-T beat ‘em! B-U-S-T bust ‘em!
Beat ‘em, bust ‘em, that’s our custom!
Gooooo [Team Name]!
2. The “Fight” Chant
Fight, (Team Name), Fight!!! (And repeat as many as you want)
3. The “Let’s Go” Chant!
You may have probably heard this chant in every NBA arena, especially when the home team moniker has two syllables like “Lakers,” “Hornets,” or “Pacers.”
“Let’s go (Team Name)!”
3. The “Go” Chant!
Big “G” Little “O” / Go, Go, Go!
4. The “Louder” Chant
We are the [Team Name]
A little bit louder
We are the [Team Name]
We still can’t hear you
We are the [Team Name]
That’s right, that’s right, we win!
5 Funniest and Most Disrespectful Basketball Chants from Fans
When you watch basketball games, especially in the NBA, the fans can get very rowdy. Homes fans are definitely not afraid to cross the personal and trash talk line if it means they can get into the heads of the opponents. Here are some examples of the funniest and most disrespectful basketball crowd chants:
1. The Giannis Free Throw Countdown
It’s not really a chant, a cheer, or a mantra, but in last season’s playoffs, Nets fans attempted to rattle Giannis Antetokounmpo by counting down the seconds until he shoots a free throw. If you’re a casual basketball fan, the rule was to get a free throw attempt up in 10 seconds or that’s a violation. The Greek Freak often takes it to the limit and the fans aren’t shy to let him know.
2. “LeBron’s Going to Trade You”
Ths one is funny and disrespectful at the same time. And one of the most remarkable things is, Brandon Ingram, Jeff Green, and Lonzo Ball were once targets of this really cruel (but realistic) chant.
3. “Soundcloud Rapper”
Damian Lillard is a pretty good rapper, but the fans obviously are not about to let that go. Bucks fans let him hear it on this one.
4. “Not Worth Trading”
You know, Larry Bird is considered one of the best, if not the best, trash talkers in NBA history. Do you know where he is from? Indiana. That’s why don’t be surprised if many of these chants came from Indy.
5. “Traitor” and “Overrated”
NBA fans know too well the drama that Kawhi Leonard caused in San Antonio, and needless to say, that did not sit well with the fans. Leonard was called “traitor” and “overrated” in his return to San Antonio as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
What did we tell you about Indy? The Pacers fans made fun of D’Angelo Russell with the “hide Your Cellphones” chant, obviously referring to D’Lo’s snitching incident with Nick Young.
Wrapping Things Up: What Do Basketball Fans Chant?
Crowd chants for basketball games may or may not be incited by cheerleaders. If that’s the case, cheerleaders often set the tone by shouting short words that are easy to follow. They could just be short basketball cheers such as “Let’s go (team name)!” or whatever it is that may incite the fans to cheer.
One of the most common basketball crowd chants is the defense chants. This chant’s history is rooted in 1956 when the New York Giants played against the Chicago Cardinals at the Yankee Stadium. The Giants, led by three future Hall-of-Famers, was a team known for its suffocating defense. When the Cardinals made an offensive push late in the game, Giants fans spontaneously cheered the home team to turn on its defense. Thus, the “defense” chant instantly became an inherent part, not only in American football, but also in basketball, hockey, and soccer.
More often than not, though, the fans come up with funny basketball chants that sometimes cross the line or are just plain hilarious. It’s not uncommon for NBA fans to quip lines like “LeBron will trade you” to LeBron’s teammates or “Kobe is better” to LeBron James himself. Indiana Pacers fans are particularly savages when it comes to fabricating personal jeers– D’Angelo Russell knows. But whether we find basketball crowd chants disrespectful or not, it’s all part of the game. Without it, basketball wouldn’t be half as fun.