1. They would not have a place to play
I know this seems silly considering that we are home to a new 22,000 seat palace (Yum Center) and a practically vacant 19,000 seat facility (Freedom Hall). However, nay-sayers assume that U of L would not share the Yum Center and that Freedom Hall is too dated. In terms of the Yum Center, I am sure that if it was solely up to the University of Louisville athletic department that they would be hesitant, but that should not be the case. If I recall correctly, tax payer funds were used for the construction of the Yum Center and therefore the facility should be used for the best interest of the city. If the slightly smaller Staples Center in LA can host two NBA franchises, a WNBA team and a NHL team, something tells me our college team (whom I am an avid fan of) can share the Yum Center.
|Slap a Hornet picture next to the Cardinal, easy.|
If there are contractual problems with the sharing of the Yum Center, a renovated Freedom Hall would be another viable option. Parking would not be a problem considering U of L played there for decades and routinely packed in 19,000 fans. Many aesthetic touch-ups would need to be made and a few more luxury boxes added, but the facility itself is large enough. Improvements and renovations would make it a more likely host of major concerts, rodeos etc. Please remember that all of the facility doubters are the same people who said no one would ever go downtown to watch a U of L game...
2. Louisville is not big enough for a professional sports team
I know Louisville's 27th highest populated U.S. city number is a little fudged (top 50) but it should be noted that we have more potential NBA fans than many cities that already have a team. Studies have also listed Louisville as the city with the most profit potential for an NBA team among cities without a team. It should also be noted that many Lexington (63rd most populated U.S. city) die-hards would routinely drive 90 miles to see more basketball. Personally I travel to Indianapolis to catch the Pacers and do not see any major difference that dictates why they can support a team and we could not. There is plenty of walking distance lodging, dining and nightlife, especially around the Yum Center. I think not having a professional team in Louisville is holding the city back from being grouped with other major cities in the area in terms of national notoriety.
3. We are a college basketball town, no one cares about the pros
No offense to readers who think this, but this is the most ridiculous of arguments against an NBA franchise in Louisville. Dallas loves high school and college football but they seem to be supporting the Cowboys. Now I will admit that the NBA does not have nearly as wide of net as the NFL in terms of casual fans but the general point is still similar. In Kentucky basketball is king, so wouldn't make sense that we should have an NBA team and not the opposite? Just because we prefer collegiate basketball (for now) does not mean we simply would not follow a local NBA team. I like pepperoni on my pizza, but if you hand me a plain cheese slice I am not going to throw it in the trash.
A couple of years ago my wife bought us tickets to go see the Pacers play the Nets in Indianapolis. It was late in the season and both teams were eliminated from playoff contention but we hand-picked this game...we wanted to see T-Will (Terrence Williams, former Cardinal)! This is what I think is most often left out of this discussion: we love our Cardinals and our Cats while playing in college and after. I am sure some of my Wildcat fan readers still have their Antoine Walker Celtic jersey in the closet somewhere.
With the rate U of K and to a lesser degree U of L are churning players into the NBA, odds are a couple will end up on the Louisville Hornets. Imagine a franchise player like John Wall or Anthony Davis taking our team to the playoffs, I am sure plenty of fans would want to see that. Our NBA team could even create a situation where Cards and Cats fans are cheering for *gasp* the other team's former players.
The league's recent rejection of the Chris Paul trade is proof that the Hornet's ownership situation is broken, they have no place in New Orleans and the situation needs to be resolved quickly. So come on Louisville, lets band together and help the NBA fix this problem.