The NBA is going to experiment with virtual fans using large courtside screens for games played at Disney World in Orlando. The fans will be real people and could include members of players’ families. 

Wizards guard Ish Smith wonders if that is a good idea. He has no problem with the league experimenting with the arena atmosphere, he just sees some potential drawbacks.

“You’re doing too much, man. Just hoop,” he said. “I’m sure nobody wants their grandma in a rocking chair talking trash. ‘Get my baby the ball, you aren’t getting my baby the ball.'”

Smith said both of his grandmothers are still alive; one is 90 years old and the other is 80. He said he feels “blessed” to have both of them still around.

But he can’t picture them out there virtually.

“They would be excited. They would go in and out [of watching the game],” he said.


The NBA is expected to have about 300 fans for each game. They will begin to appear for the regular season games which begin on July 30. The Wizards’ first game that counts is July 31 against the Phoenix Suns (4 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington).

The fans can cheer virtually through the league’s website and app. Exactly how they could talk trash is hard to predict, but surely someone will figure it out. Maybe it will be a grandma, as Smith predicts.

“To each his own. Look, I’m out of it, man,” Smith said.

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Trash-talking grandmas? That is what Wizards’ Ish Smith envisions with virtual fans at NBA games originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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