Why is the NBA Draft Held at Barclays Center? Full History of NBA Draft Locations

Barclays Center will host the 2024 NBA Draft.
Jun 23, 2022; Brooklyn, NY, USA; A general view as NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks before the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2022; Brooklyn, NY, USA; A general view as NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks before the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NBA Draft will open on June 26 with the Atlanta Hawks on the clock with the first pick. The event will, once again, be held at Barclays Center. It is the 11th time the arena has hosted the draft and, other than the 2020 COIVD year, the NBA has held the event there annually since 2013.

The history of NBA draft hosts is fascinating as the event has moved around a lot over the years before settling in the greater New York area. Now it is firmly entrenched at Barclays Center. The NBA has never explicitly stated why the arena has been chosen, but it's easy to read between the lines and come up with an answer.

Why Is the NBA Draft at Barclays Center?

Barclays Center is located in Brooklyn not far from the NBA's headquarters in Manhattan. The league's global HQ is at 645 Fifth Avenue, Olympic Tower, New York, New York. It also has a headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey, which is home to the NBA Replay Center.

It makes sense for the league to have the draft close it its headquarters. On top of that, given that it's also a televised event, having it in a major city is a smart idea to get as many players in attendance as possible. Having a packed green room full of potential draftees available to be interviewed is a key part of the broadcast. It's much easier to get those players to New York than it would be if it was in a smaller city like Sacramento.

History of NBA Draft Locations

The NBA draft has been at Barclays center every year -- excepting 2020 -- since 2013. Before that it was at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for two years because apparently the Nets are great hosts. Prior to the two years in New Jersey, Madison Square Garden played host to the event every year from 2001 to 2010.

Before 2001, the draft moved around every year from 1992 to 2000, like the NFL draft does now. From 1981 to 1991 it was held at the Felt Forum in New York City. A look at all the NBA draft locations since 1981 are below.

Year(s)

Location

City

1981-1991

Felt Forum

New York City, New York

1992

Memorial Coliseum

Portland, Oregon

1993

The Palace of Auburn Hills

Auburn Hills, Michigan

1994

Hoosier Dome

Indianapolis, Indiana

1995

SkyDome

Toronto, Ontario

1996

Continental Airlines Arena

East Rutherford, New Jersey

1997

Charlotte Coliseum

Charlotte, North Carolina

1998

General Motors Palace

Vancouver, British Columbia

1999

MCI Center

Washington, D.C.

2000

Target Center

Minneapolis, Minnesota

2001-2010

Madison Square Garden

New York City, New York

2011-2012

Prudential Center

Newark, New Jersey

2013-2019

Barclays Center

Brooklyn, New York

2020

ESPN Studios

Bristol, Connecticut

2021-2024

Barclays Center

Brooklyn New York

2024 NBA Draft Will Be Two Day Event

The 2024 NBA Draft will be a two-day event for the first time and will move to a secondary location for the second night. The first round will be broadcast on June 26 from Barclays Center, and the second round will be held on June 27 at ESPN's Seaport District Studios in Manhattan.

Teams will have five minutes to make selections in the first round, but will be given four minutes to make second-round picks. That is increased from two minutes previously.

The Hawks will have the No. 1 pick. The Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons will round out the top five.


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Ryan Phillips

RYAN PHILLIPS

Ryan Phillips is a senior writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining SI in 2024. Phillips also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. He is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism program.