It would be a cliche to say “if walls could talk”, but seriously, if there were walls that could tell me stories, the walls of the United Center would probably be in my top ten. Ahh the glory moments. Three bulls championships (in a row!) with some of the greatest players in history. The recent Blackhawks championship. The 1996 Democratic National Convention. And countless extraordinary musical acts such as U2, The Rolling Stones, and Paul McCartney. This would be a long talk between me and some walls.
The United Center is relatively young in terms of Chicago sports establishments, as current Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz and Bulls Team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf teamed up to create a new sports arena in 1988. Construction began in 1992 and was completed by August 1994. The place was, of course, named after its corporate sponsor and is very close to the previous basketball arena, Chicago Stadium. In November of 1994 the iconic Michael Jordan statue was unveiled in front of the new stadium at the same ceremony where the number 23 was retired. The platform of the statue chronicles Jordan’s achievements and engraved are the words “The best there ever was. The best there ever will be.” That’s a pretty strong statement, but I’m pretty sure I agree.
The arena is the largest in the country in terms of size. And the United Center loves to pack them in. While seating capacity is 19,717 for hockey, 20,917 for basketball and up to 23,500 for concerts, the stadium usually packs in around two to three thousand more in standing room seats for big games. Since its opening, over twenty million guests have visited the United Center.