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Why is there a “5280” on the Nuggets court? What does it mean?

Denver’s home arena has a special touch with this number on the court.

2023 NBA Playoffs - Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets
Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots a free throw during Round 1 Game 2 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets on April 19, 2023 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2023 NBA Finals will tip off tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET as the Denver Nuggets will host the Miami Heat for Game 1. While watching the game, you may notice the number 5280 at the free throw lines in Ball Arena and wonder what it means. The explanation is simple.

The 5280 represents the city of Denver’s altitude at 5,280 feet or one mile above sea level (see, they don’t call it the “Mile High City” for nothing). The Nuggets incorporating the 5280 number into their court design in 2015 and it has become something of a rallying cry for the organization since then. All of the pro sports franchises in the city have adopted this in some fashion as the seats at nearby Coors Field are also exactly 5,280 feet above sea level.

Denver is quietly one of the toughest cities for opposing teams to visit in the four major professional sports leagues as it is at times difficult for opponents to adjust to the thin air and altitude. We’ll see if that gives the Nuggets an advantage over the Heat in the first two games of this series.