Halftime Entertainment Shows, Ranked

One quick addendum: In the last article, we looked at trash talk that backfired. How about the entire city of Phoenix?

After the Suns cruised to a comfortable win against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Phoenix fans began “Suns in 4” chants.

The chants originated last year when a Phoenix fan fought a Denver fan during a series. Then, turning to a camera, the fan declared, “Suns in 4!” to the delight of Phoenicians across the country (and globe, perhaps).

To that fan’s credit, the Suns did win the series in four games, a clean sweep. Naturally, Suns fans wanted to keep the trend going this year, despite their team’s desperate request to stop chanting.

Alas, the Suns did not win in 4 this year against the Mavericks. After a 123-90 loss in Game 7, they did not even win the series at all. Ouch.

Anyway, here are the top halftime entertainment shows you might come across, ranked in order of enjoyment.

10. Simon Says

I just learned Simon Says was a thing at halftime shows, thanks to this great Scott Cacciola article in The New York Times.

Personally, I’m a fan of the game, which requires you to follow a leader’s moves, but only if they say Simon Says. However, wrangling 20,000 people in an arena to try and follow a singular person seems chaotic.

Plus, who’s keeping track of who’s in and who’s out?

9. Dance Crew

I appreciate people who know how to dance, but you can see a dance crew at any point in the game. They’re sometimes dancing on the baseline during the action.

Dancers can get out there during timeouts. Let’s get a bit more unique for halftime.

8. Marching Band

Like dancers, a marching band is something you can see at most sporting events. If you happen to be at a college or high school game, the band is playing during any break in the action.

You’ll most certainly hear marching band versions of classics like “Livin’ On a Prayer” and “Sweet Caroline,” but you’ll also get a few more recent pop renditions, such as “Shut Up and Dance” and “Levitating.”

And every time, you’ll be like, “Oh, that song. Huh. Kind of cool, I guess.”

7. Juggling Act

I took a college course in which the professor offered us extra credit if we learned how to juggle and performed a routine in front of the class.

I opted to forgo the extra credit.

6. Mascot Wandering Around Aimlessly

The Austin Spurs used to be called the Austin Toros. Their mascot is still a bull. During home games, the mascot wanders around and interacts with fans.

Occasionally, the San Antonio Spurs also donate their mascot, The Coyote. When that happens, the bull suddenly becomes incredibly inept. It will drum off-beat, fall over, and generally act like one or more of the Three Stooges.

Sometimes those shenanigans spill over into halftime. But this is still only a middling show unless it involves a mascot devouring a cheerleader.

5. Wardrobe Changes

It often takes me several minutes to simply choose an outfit for the day, so to see people go through, like, six different costumes in quick succession is impressive.

This act pairs fashion and magic, and that’s a winning combo.

4. Comedians/Jokes

It’s rare to see a headlining comedy act at an NBA game, but every once in a while, you get someone juuust corny enough to make everyone laugh.

At one of those Austin Spurs games, we watched two guys try to avoid laughing at dad jokes so they could win tickets to a John Mulaney show. It was a surprisingly entertaining time!

3. Acrobatics

You may encounter a wide variety of acrobatics during a basketball game. People balancing on top of furniture, perhaps doing archery, perhaps trapezing across the court — it’s all fantastic.

Trampoline folks are great, too. You’ll watch eight people in a row sprint downcourt, perfectly leap onto a bouncy surface, then seamlessly drop alley-oops to each other before the final person brings it home with a fierce rim-rocker.

I’m also counting the amazing Red Panda in this category. I’m not sure if riding a unicycle while flipping dinnerware onto your head is technically acrobatics, but it’s darn magical either way.

2. Children Playing Basketball (or Another Sport)

If you’re lucky enough to witness a children’s basketball game, you’re in for a treat.

The key is to pick out one player who very much wants to be there and is trying super hard and one who could not care less and would rather be anywhere else than on a basketball court right now.

Keep your eyes on both of those players, and you will have yourself a wonderful time.

1. Halfcourt Shots for Money

I mean, this montage sums up why halfcourt shots are the best.

How could you not delight in all of this joy?

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