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What is the altitude of the Denver Nuggets arena? Does it give them an advantage?

The reigning champions’ Ball Arena, formerly Pepsi Center, is a versatile indoor arena located in Denver, Colorado. It serves multiple purposes.

Denver (United States), 04/05/2024.- Fans in the stands look over the t-shirts placed on their seats before game one of the Western Conference semifinal series between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena in Denver,Colorado, USA, 04 May 2024. (Baloncesto) EFE/EPA/DUSTIN BRADFORD SHUTTERSTOCK OUT

Constructed in 1999, the Ball Arena serves as the current home venue for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), having replaced the McNichols Sports Arena.

Denver is located at a high altitude, at 5,280 feet (equivalent to one mile) above sea level.

People from lower elevations may not fully respect the impact of altitude on their health and physical capabilities. Living at a high altitude can cause various unpleasant symptoms associated with altitude sickness until the body gradually becomes accustomed to the lower air pressure and decreased oxygen levels.

Suppose you have ever exercised or hiked at a location that is at a higher altitude than sea level. In that case, you may have experienced a noticeable reduction in your ability to breathe and maintain your endurance. Typically, it takes a few days for your body to adjust to the altitude and for you to feel comfortable.

Does altitude provide the Nuggets with a more substantial home-court advantage?

Living or vacationing at high altitudes can place additional stress on the body; thus, the evidence indicates a rather conclusive “yes.”

The Denver Nuggets have always embraced the advantages of playing at a high altitude, and the city proudly boasts its “Mile High City” nickname. The team’s home court even features a new design with the numbers “5280″ and “300″ inscribed on the sideline. While “300″ represents the number of sunny days Colorado experiences annually, “5280″ serves as a constant reminder to opponents of the city’s mile-high altitude and the resulting fatigue and breathlessness that can come with it.

Beyond the court design, the Nuggets have utilized their home court to their advantage by playing a fast-paced, run-and-gun style of basketball that keeps opposing teams on their toes and gasping for air during gameplay. This approach has historically been successful for the team and contributes to the intimidating reputation of playing in Denver.


The Denver Nuggets have a long history of taking advantage of their mile-high altitude. On home games, they have been in the top ten in 32 of the last 40 seasons and in the top five in 25 of those seasons. From 1980 to 1991, the team was first in the league for 10 out of 11 seasons in this category, showcasing their commitment to exploiting their home-court advantage.

This fast-paced style of play keeps opposing teams on their heels and puts added pressure on the players’ physical endurance as they must navigate the thin air at a high altitude. The Nuggets have proven themselves adept at capitalizing on this factor and using it to their advantage on the court.