NBA Experience Tips Off At Disney Springs

 The much heralded NBA Experience opened to the public at Disney Springs this week. Disney and the NBA have teamed up for an interactive basketball-themed experience that should have hoops fans lining up at the door.


It features about a dozen B-ball type activities that either simulate the big-league experience, improve player skill sets or tweak regular basketball play.



An area devoted to dunking allows the rim to be lowered 3 feet (short people rejoice!) and the ensuing action to be photographed for posterity.

Nearby, giant slingshots are aimed at multiple backboards, with 14 players competing at the same time.


“It is an experience, and that’s what we’re about,” said Matt Simon, vice president for Disney Springs. He said skill level did not really factor in how much a visitor might enjoy the new offering.


“They will have that experience of what it’s like to feel like an NBA star,” Simon said.



Monday’s opening was attended by longtime hoop superstars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Grant Hill. Other players on the stage included Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon; Victor Oladipo, formerly of the Magic and now with the Indiana Pacers; and Dwyane Wade, a former Miami Heat star who retired after last season.



Most of the activities are on the second floor of the attraction. The ground floor features exhibits about players, a chance to compare wingspans with a picture of 7-footer Mohamed Bamba of the Orlando Magic and a retail space. A sports bar / restaurant called City Works Eatery & Pour Hour is scheduled to open in the building later.



Oladipo, who said he still owns a house in Orlando, said the attraction creates another way to connect with NBA enthusiasts.

“Fans make our game,” he said. “All they want to do is to interact with us in any way possible.”

A ticket for a one-day visit to NBA Experience is $34 ($29 for ages 3 to 9). It is expected the attraction will open around noon through the late evening hours.