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New Jersey Nets pumping up the crowd noise with fake cheers

March 21, 1997 GMT

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ If it seems there’s more people cheering the New Jersey Nets than there are fans in the stands, there’s a simple explanation: The basketball team pumps up the volume with crowd noise from loudspeakers.

Team officials acknowledged the deception Friday after it was reported in the New York Daily News, but they would not provide details on how it’s done or when it began.

``Some of this stuff is embarrassing,″ Coach John Calipari told the newspaper. ``I just shook my head. I said, `Do we need to do that?‴

The team plays its home games in Continental Airlines Arena, which seats 20,049. But with the team mired in 13th place in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Division, empty seats are not uncommon.

The artificial cheers were noticeable during the Nets’ 99-98 victory over Chicago on March 14. They drowned out booing by Chicago fans trying to distract Xavier McDaniel, who made four foul shots in the final minute to clinch the victory for the Nets.

``I didn’t notice that,″ he said. ``Is that true?″

Said guard Kevin Edwards: ``I guess it’s like a game show, where they have those applause signs.″

While sports teams often use organs, driving rock music and scoreboard signs to get the crowd pumped up, the Nets appear to be alone in admitting to using fake crowd noise.

NBA spokesman Brian McIntyre said he knew of no other teams that used artificial crowd noise. He said the practice would violate NBA rules if the noise was blared during free throw shooting. Otherwise, the home team can broadcast whatever it wants over the public address system.

Calipari said the Nets’ bogus cheers will eventually be silenced.

``One day, you’ll say it was only three years ago that they were pumping in fake crowd noise. You’ll say, `How far has this organization come?‴