Taking Children to an NBA Game

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There are positives and negatives to every NBA viewing experience. If you sit at home and watch the action from the comfort of your armchair you can watch every replay in minute detail and keep up to date with the latest NBA player props on your phone.

Yet you don’t get to have the experience of seeing the greats of the game up close in front of your very eyes or the feeling of getting carried away by the chants of the crowd and feeling like a little kid again.

Speaking of which, your children aren’t going to remember sitting on the couch and watching the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN. Whereas they will always remember the first time you took them to the arena to watch a game live.

If you’re thinking of doing just that, read on to find out everything you need to know about taking kids to an NBA game.

What age should kids be brought to NBA games?

The length of time that the ball is on the court in an NBA game is around 48 minutes, but with time-outs and breaks a game can last anywhere from two to two and a half hours.

If you’re taking a child to the game, they should ideally have the attention span to sit through this without getting bored or too distracted. The last thing you want to do is spend half the game trying to entertain your kid.

So in terms of age, we’d say that 6 would be a good starting point as kids of that age are likely to be interested enough in basketball to be able to sit through the long, extended breaks. If you think your 4- or 5-year-old has the required attention span though bring them along with you.


We’ll get into travel and parking shortly, but the first thing you should be thinking about is making sure your kid or kids are watered and fed before the game. That’s because the cost of food and drinks inside an NBA arena is truly eye watering.

If you want to buy a hot dog for you and your two kids at a New York Knicks game, it’ll set you back a whopping $27. That’s before you even consider buying soft drinks and snacks.

So to avoid having to take out a bank loan, stock up on food beforehand, maybe by visiting a restaurant close to the arena. This will also help build your kids excitement level ahead of tip-off.

Travel & Parking

If you’ve been to a number of NBA games yourself it might sound boring to get to your seat an hour before the action sounds, but to most kids this is an absolute essential.

They will get to drink in the atmosphere as the excitement builds, keep an eye on their favourite players in the warm ups and ask you every burning basketball question they have.

Now to make sure that your kid has the chance to do this, you’re going to want to ensure that you get to the arena in plenty of time. If you’re traveling by public transport make sure you set off well before the crowds if you want to get their early.

The same goes for driving, work out what time you need to set off to get to the game an hour early and add an extra 30 minutes just in case of traffic.

Also, beforehand be sure to use an app like JustPark to rent a parking space near to the arena as official parking lots are even more expensive than arena food!


It might have already cost you a pretty penny to take your kid to the game, but you’re still going to need your wallet to hand after the game has finished.

Kids love souvenirs and mementos, so to make their day complete you’re going to need to head to the club store to pick up something they can cherish. Whether that be an official jersey of even a cuddly toy with the team crest on is up to you and your kid.

In Summary

It might sound boring, but spend at least 10 minutes the night before the game preparing what you’re going to do. That includes figuring out when to set off, booking a parking space and potentially even checking out the club store site to see what price certain items are so you can budget for your kid’s souvenirs.

That way you’ll eliminate as much stress as possible from the day and be able to enjoy the action alongside your kid.

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