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Atlanta Hawks, Philips Arena top list of 2016 NBA arena experiences

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Number. One.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Philips Arena's reputation in the national NBA landscape isn't the best. To be fair, most of that consternation comes from the fact that fans of the Atlanta Hawks are often late-arriving or, well, absent altogether, but in terms of the arena itself, Atlanta's premier basketball venue has always garnered high marks from outsiders.

Now, Philips Arena has received top honors.

The good folks at Stadium Journey recently released their 2016 rankings of all 29 NBA arenas, and there was an all-too-familiar name in the number one spot. Here is what the writer, Paul Baker, had to say about Philips Arena and its lofty status:

Because of the way it’s constructed, as well as the location and food, Philips Arena is one of the best NBA experiences in the country. And it doesn’t hurt that the Hawks are a pretty good basketball team, as well. Philips Arena is only going to get better, as it was announced in early 2016 that the arena is going to go through major renovations that could cost up to $300 million.

Staples Center, home of the Lakers and Clippers, and AT&T Center (Spurs) round out the top three of this year's list, but it will undoubtedly be a surprise to see Atlanta's home at the top of the list. As noted above, location and food (both of which received 5-star ratings) were the principle reasons for Philips Arena's rise, but the venue graded out as above-average in each of Stadium Journey's seven categories, with overall atmosphere and return of investment also in the five-star category.

The on-court product hasn't always been the best when it comes to the Hawks, but the team has played (much) better basketball in recent years and perhaps that has aided in the overall development of the arena experience. Regardless, Philips Arena grades out as a top-flight place to take in a sporting event, and it should be improving even more in the near future.