Now that J. Bruce Miller has presented Louisville’s credentials to both a potential ownership group and NBA Commissioner David Stern, what’s the next step?
During the 2000 and 2001 pursuits of the Houston Rockets, Vancouver Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets, all of the heavy lifting was done by the pursuit team, comprised of Miller, attorney Ed Glasscock and KFC Vice-President Jonathan Blum, along with the Gateway Group of small businesses, organized by Todd Blue and Bobby Clarkson. Strong support also came from state government with Gov. Paul Patton and Sen. Mitch McConnell supporting the efforts. Unfortunately, poor local executive and legislative leadership sabotaged the relocation of a franchise to Louisville.
To witness the wasted efforts, expenses and massive investment of time by the aforementioned five individuals, Yum! Brands and the entire small business community go for naught due to incompetent local political leadership, it is understandable that they may collectively be both weary and wary of again taking the lead in this latest pursuit of a franchise.
While there are still plenty of doubters, there remains a significant portion of the Metro Louisville population that wants a top-tier professional team for the city. If there is to be an NBA team in Louisville in the near future, there must be a sustained grassroots movement. The local bar scene is filled with chatter about the absence of professional sports in Louisville. The time has come for those who want a team to start doing and stop complaining. If the general public shows enthusiasm and desire for a team, the business community will quickly rally back to the cause.
Beyond Jefferson County, there are people pulling for Louisville. Like last time, the state government is on board with Gov. Steve Beshear supportive of bringing a franchise to Louisville. In Lexington, University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari has publicly shown support for a team in Louisville; in Cincinnati, sports talk radio host Andy Furman has expressed similar support. While regional support will be critical to the success a team, make no mistake, the effort must be lead by the people of Louisville, particularly the under-40 crowd.
This is a rare opportunity to transform the national and international image of the city by branding it as a major league sports town and significantly impact the future of the city in one fell swoop. Will Louisville embrace and exploit this opportunity, or once again let it fall by the wayside?
If you want to see the highest level of basketball played in Louisville; if you want to see a Louisville team on national and international television 40+ times per year; if you and to push the city of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky forward, get off your asses and do something about it.
What can you specifically do about it?
1) Go to Facebook, find the ‘Bring the Sacramento Kings to Louisville’ community and join the 7170 who already ‘like’ it. Leave a positive comment, then spread the word to your friends and acquaintances and ask them to do the same.
2) Follow the latest news at www.straitpinkie.com, which will have some in-depth analysis of a potential franchise relocating to Louisville. Then spread the word.
3) Go to Twitter and follow @nba2lou for the latest updates. Then spread the word.
4) Leave POSITIVE comments on any on-line stories regarding bringing an NBA team to Louisville on the Courier-Journal, Herald-Leader and Leo websites, as well as on blog sites such as Kentucky Sports Radio and Broken Sidewalk. There is also an active discussion taking place on the SkyscraperCity Louisville/Southern Indiana Development News forum—join in:
Far too often the negative voice is the only one heard. It is our job, as supporters of this endeavor, to drown out the pessimistic attitude towards growth in our city. You have a voice. Use it.
5) Read Terry Pluto’s book, ‘Loose Balls’, to learn a bit about Louisville’s past success as a pro basketball city. Then read J. Bruce Miller’s book, ‘Airball’, to get mad about Louisville’s recent failures—despite more than ample opportunities—to replace the departed Kentucky Colonels.
6) Leave any comments, suggestions or recommendations below on how to stimulate and generate grassroots support. Alternately, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s not let Louisville repeat its past mistakes and failures in leadership that has seen peer cities such Indianapolis, Nashville, Memphis and Charlotte roar past us. An opportunity has presented itself. Let’s seize this opportunity and bring professional basketball back home to Louisville, KY!
Bring back the Colonels! Bring the NBA to Louisville!