Last week Yahoo! Sports released their list of the ten best fantasy basketball cities. The list is created by tabulating the number of Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball participants in each city and then calculating what percentage of the total population of the city those participants represent. Unfortunately, Yahoo! released only the top ten, saving from embarrassment those municipalities that found themselves at the bottom of the list. Thankfully, Hickory-High’s crack research staff (Myles Ma and Kris Fenrich) were able to recreate the entire list giving us the satisfaction of smirking at locations less fortunate.
The top ten as determined by Yahoo! Sports:
1. Bay Area (Golden State Warriors) – The cities by the Bay retain the top spot for the second year in a row, fending off California rival Los Angeles by a narrow margin.
2. Los Angeles (Lakers & Clippers) – While Tinseltown awaits a football team, the stars of Hollywood are happy to shine their attention on basketball. With the revamped Lakers and the revived Clippers, it’s no wonder they’re able retain their strong second place ranking.
3. Chicago (Bulls) – Jumping up 7 spots to third, Chicago has seen a fantasy resurgence courtesy of their beloved Bulls franchise. Stars like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are getting fans excited for the rise of another possible basketball dynasty.
4. New York (Knicks & Nets)- The biggest jump in the rankings this year belongs to the Big Apple – up 9 spots – most likely due to the Nets moving to Brooklyn and the Knicks returning to the playoffs.
5. Boston (Celtics) – Entering the season for the first time since 2006 without their “big 3” intact, the Celtics are rebuilding. After their playoff collapse last season, Boston slips two spots in the rankings, but New England sports fans are among the most passionate in country.
6. Cleveland (Cavaliers) – Now two years removed from the King James era, the Cavs move up one spot in the rankings as they try and rebuild after winning a division-worst 21 games last season.
7. Portland (Trailblazers) – After failing to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-2008 season, the Trailblazers plummet three spots, and sharing a division with the Thunder won’t make a return trip any easier.
8. Sacramento (Kings) – The Kings have been anything but royalty the last few years, so it’s not a big surprise they slip two points in the rankings; but it is a surprise they retain a top ten position.
9. Milwaukee (Bucks) - Milwaukee’s offseason has been spent working on their defense and trying to find a way back to the playoffs, which they’ve just missed for the last two seasons.
10. Detroit (Pistons) – The Pistons couldn’t mount a playoff return last year, but they still manage to jump a spot in the rankings as many fans believe the pieces are there for them to make another run to the top.
and the ten worst, as determined by Hickory-High:
411. Barrow, AK – It’s hard to stay up to date on fantasy sports when packs of roving yeti keep chewing through the high-speed internet cables.
412. Seattle, WA - The closest thing Seattle has to a fantasy basketball player is Larry Denton, who sits in a candlelit room wearing an increasingly snug Gary Payton jersey as he tearfully caresses a small, framed portrait of Kevin Durant.
413. Memphis, TN - They say Elvis Presley started the first and only fantasy basketball league in Memphis with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and other musicians. The first pick of the King’s League is something of a legend – Johnny Cash took a rookie named Lew Alcindor over Wilt Chamberlain. Alcindor would lead the league in scoring that year, while Chamberlain missed most of the season. Fantasy basketball in Graceland died when Elvis left the building, but they say you can still hear him making his picks if you happen to walk past the shuttered offices of Sun Records at midnight: “I’ll take Chris Paul – thank you – thankyouverymuch.”
414. Parker, CO - Home of the Society of American Magicians, this town of 45,000 has eschewed the NBA since its hometown team, the Parker Illusionists, was denied entry to the league. Parker actually defeated the neighboring Denver Nuggets handily in their lone exhibition, but refused to submit to league uniform rules banning tophats, capes and vests.
415. Roswell, NM - In a dusty land where aliens dwell and Americans keep secrets, there’s absolutely no use for fantasy basketball. Fantasy’s lacking in sophistication, it’s a game played by humans who have too much time on their hands, not inquisitive scientists researching the instinctive travels and paths of aliens across the universe. Fantasy basketball is to Roswell what salad is to Boris Diaw.
416. Orlando, FL - (read in the voice of Direct TV commercials): When your local basketball team trades away your franchise cornerstone, you get frustrated. And when you get frustrated, you need to regain a sense of control so you join a fantasy basketball league with other people who are frustrated. And when you join this league with your frustrated friends in Orlando, someone drafts Dwight Howard just so they can drop him and make a point that’s bigger than fantasy basketball, but in the process they tip the balance of the league because someone else picks up Dwight even though the rest of the league agreed they’d leave him as a free agent. And then you say to hell with it and quit the league and ignore your friends, their text messages and the Orlando Magic. You end up sitting at home watching Desperate Housewives of Atlanta all because you joined a fantasy basketball league. Don’t watch Desperate Housewives of Atlanta.
417. Gary, IN - Once a fantasy basketball mecca, the hope is that federal bailouts will lead players back to the city’s cobwebbed leagues.
418. Pyongyang, North Korea - It’s well known that the “Supreme Leader” was a basketball junkie. But how in the hell do you expect a nation that lives in poverty with rigid censors filtering every byte of information that comes from the outside world to actually manage teams effectively? The drafts would be nothing but computer-generated rosters and teams would have multiple players stuck on their benches since managers wouldn’t be able to update lineups regularly—if at all. Message boards would be silent, participation futile. No, North Korea’s not there yet, but given their creative approach to the game (dunks worth three points, missed free throws minus a point and taking a cue from MTV’s Rock n’ Jock games, baskets in the last three seconds are worth … wait for it … eight points!), I’d expect a variety of wrinkles to the pre-existing bland scoring categories that dominate most fantasy hoops leagues. Until that day, be suspicious of any North Korean-based fantasy leagues you’re invited to.
419. Miami, FL - Most players quit when they realize they can’t draft LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to the same team.
420. Buford, WY – Buford is America’s smallest town with a population of just one. Lone resident, Don Sammons just isn’t a basketball fan; hence the figure of 0% participation.
Did we, or Yahoo!, miss any wonderful or terrible locations for fantasy basketball? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.