ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon called out Barclays Center as “the worst home-court advantage” across the WNBA and the NBA. But the New York Liberty attracted a raucous crowd for their WNBA Finals win over the Las Vegas Aces.
Indeed, the 87-73 victory drew in 17,143 fans, setting a WNBA gate receipt record. No WNBA game ever has brought in more ticket revenue than Sunday’s contest, a sellout of Barclays Center.
“We knew that our fans were going to be behind us and New York was going to be watching and supporting and that’s what we wanted to do, go out there and play with a lot of pride and a lot of heart,” Liberty forward Jonquel Jones said after the game.
On Friday, Wilbon had picked the Aces to win the game and to sweep the best-of-five championship series on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.”
“They are barely awake in Brooklyn,” Wilbon said. “It is the worst home-court advantage, home-court situation in terms of spirit, in the entire NBA — all 30 teams (maybe Washington) — and the entire WNBA — all whatever it is, 12 teams?
“It’s the worst. There’s nothing to rally the Liberty. I want to see a series, it’s not happening. … Brooklyn’s home-court situation? It stinks. It’s dark and quiet, it’s like a library. … You hipsters better get a real arena because you stink right now.”
New York extended the series, proving wrong Wilbon’s prediction and assessment of the crowd. Rather than gloat over the accomplishment, Liberty owner Joe Tsai responded by extending an invitation to Wilbon for Game 4, which is set for 8 p.m. ET Wednesday at Barclays Center.
“We’d like to invite @RealMikeWilbon to his first WNBA game on Wednesday at Barclays Center,” Tsai wrote on X after the game.
Sabrina Ionescu also commented on the Barclays Center crowd after the win.
“It’s not always that loud at Nets games,” she said. “So for us to be able to see how much support women’s basketball has, the Nets are here in attendance, always all season long supporting us… we just have great fan base that we built here.”
We’d like to invite @RealMikeWilbon to his first WNBA game on Wednesday at Barclays Center. https://t.co/ORGtwWW5yU— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) October 15, 2023
We’d like to invite @RealMikeWilbon to his first WNBA game on Wednesday at Barclays Center. https://t.co/ORGtwWW5yU