UK UNC Alumni Game in the Works

The NBA could be coming to Kentucky…sort of.  We’ve already heard about preseason games to played in both the KFC Yum! Center and Rupp Arena in the fall, now rumors are circulating about a potential University of Kentucky v. University of North Carolina alumni game being played in Rupp as well.

Kentucky Sports Radio is reporting that the game could feature several NBA players from the two schools, with John Wall and Harrison Barnes leading the squads as captains.

Given all the talent to come out of UK and UNC in recent years this would be a great event for state and fans of basketball within the state. We’ll take the NBA here anyway we can get it at this point.  Hopefully there will be more information leaking on this soon.

#BringEmBack

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Arizona Coyotes Lose Arena, Relocation Likely

The last 24 hours hasn’t been fun for the Arizona Coyotes and fans of the NHL franchise.  It was announced earlier today that the Glendale City Council has voted to terminate the team’s current lease agreement citing “financial burdens”, which will likely end their time in Arizona.

The Coyotes will likely appeal the termination, but things certainly look bleak for the those hoping to keep the team put.  According to SI.com,

After [termination], relocation would be inevitable—most likely to Quebec City, where the Centre Vidéotron is about to open its doors.

Of course this is a story that has no real significant meaning to the city of Louisville and their lack of a professional sports franchise, but it is still interesting nonetheless.

Most interesting is the possible relocation spot, Quebec City.  A hockey crazed city that just so happens to have a $400 million dollar arena waiting to be filled.  Or in other words, a city whose residents are passionately in favor of a sport and has the infrastructure to support a potential team.  Sound familiar, Louisville?

Also worth noting that Louisville was once home to a professional hockey team.  How cool would it be to bring an NHL version of the River Frogs back?

FWIW, I just discovered that the River Frogs logo was ranked the 4th worst hockey logo of all-time by some website named ginandtacos.com, which is absurd because I have it ranked as the best logo of all time.

river-frogs

 

#BringEmBack

D’Angelo Russell Wants Louisville to Have an NBA Team

Louisville native, and top NBA Draft prospect, D’Angelo Russell has some thoughts on Louisville’s lack of an NBA franchise.  And just like you and me, he wishes there was one.  Russell, who recently worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers, had this to say about where he wishes to begin his professional career,

I don’t think he is alone in thinking that would be great.

The Lakers have the second pick in this year’s NBA Draft and Russell is expected to be drafted anywhere from the first pick through the third.  He is an extremely rare talent, one such we haven’t seen come out of the city of Louisville since Rajon Rondo.

Cheers to hoping we can one day make his wish come true.  In the meantime, I’m sure the entire city will be behind the kid wherever he does land.

KFC Yum! Center in the NCAA Spotlight

The KFC Yum! Center will be home to opening round games in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning this Thursday.  This is the second time in the arena’s short existence that it will play host to the tournament.

The arena, which is arguably the nicest in the country, should be a focal point of the first weekend given it is the site where the undefeated and number one overall seeded Kentucky Wildcats will open action.

It’s easy to take such an event for granted when the arena already plays host to several marquee college basketball games throughout the season, but having millions of eyes from all across the country focused on your city, and the nicest asset your city has to offer, for an extra weekend toward the end of the season is a big deal.  Major basketball events in the city of Louisville are always something worth celebrating.

Louisville Named College Basketball Capital

A new Wall Street Journal article, which examines the major TV markets for all major sports across the country, has dubbed Louisville, KY “The College Basketball Capital of the World”.  According to the article..

People in Kentucky don’t just watch their own teams more than anyone else. They watch every team more than anyone else. Louisville has registered the country’s highest television ratings among metered markets in college-basketball programming for at least the last dozen years, according to ESPN data.

This should come as no surprise to the people of Louisville.  The entire state, and specifically its’ largest market, is obsessed with college basketball.  Even the most anti-basketball resident couldn’t deny that fact.  But bring up the NBA’s popularity in the city though, and you’ll get mixed reviews.

There is a certain purity to college basketball.  Student-athletes playing the game we love is often more emotionally fulfilling than millionaires playing it.  It’s a fair argument for favoring the college game over the professional game.  But basketball is basketball, and the fact of the matter is the city of Louisville loves the basketball they have more than anyone else.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that they would feel the same way if they had the NBA as well.

The people of Louisville love their basketball. The trick is making the NBA theirs again.

#BringEmBack

AR-AJ050C_TVCAP_16U_20150305105717

 

Pacers V. T-Wolves

Last night I attended the Pacers basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Indianapolis.  I took advantage of the cheap ticket prices and made the short trip up I-65 to the arena.  As a Pacers and Louisville Cardinals fan I was excited to see my favorite team and an old U of L favorite, Gorgui Dieng, play in the arena.  The game certainly did not disappoint bringing plenty of drama and excitement.

The leagues big story of the night was the 11 year veteran, Mo Williams scoring 52 points against the Pacers.  Williams has shown his scoring prowess against Indiana in the past.  Most recently doubling his season average of 11 points per game by posting 20+ points in their last meeting.  Many of his 52 points were the result of acrobatic off-balanced three pointers.  It really seemed like the guy couldn’t miss.  This performance tops the league this season passing the 46 point games from Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol.  Check out his highlights here:

Roy Hibbert was also ejected after a flagrant 2 foul midway through the third quarter.  As he fell he was seen drawing Dieng down to the ground with him.  Accident or not the in arena replay looked bad.  Gorgui left the incident unhurt.

There was plenty of drama and excitement in the arena.  In my opinion, the most interesting and pleasurable part of the evening was meeting the acquaintance of two Louisville natives at the game.  At this point I would like to introduce you to Stephanie and Dan Cline.

Stephanie and Dan Cline

(Sorry guys, I had to crop myself out of the picture.  My eyes were closed)

These two lovely individuals represent what the citizens of Louisville should be.  They are diehard Louisville fans that made the trip to see Dieng play again.  They do happen to prefer college ball but unlike some people in the city say, “Why not?” to the prospect of having an NBA team.  These two are perfect examples of why we should, could, and would support an NBA team in Louisville.  It was an uneventful Tuesday night in the city, so they decided to find plans; get tickets and go to the game.  It would be much easier and more sensible to allow people like the Clines to take a short trip to their own back yard in the Yum! Center.

Combined, there are currently 20 players from U of L and U of K in the league.  So whether you are a Cards or Cats fan, there are plenty of opportunities for you die hard college fans to support your own favorites.  I say we all take a page out of Stephanie and Dan’s book and support this movement.  In fact, 4 of the next 5 Pacers home games are against teams housing former UK and UL players.  Jan 16, 27, 31, and Feb. 4th.  Pick your poison.

Of course if you are still opposed, I am still waiting to hear a valid argument and see any data on a negative impact an NBA team would bring.  There is room in the comments! 🙂

Growth, Development, and Buckets

Alright.  Let’s talk Louisville.  It really gets on my nerves when people are against an NBA team here.  NBA fan or not, it would make sense.  Let’s address several arguments I hear against a NBA team in Louisville.

PEOPLE HERE LIKE COLLEGE BASKETBALL AND WON’T SUPPORT NBA

What?  So much evidence suggests otherwise.  First of all, people in this city love basketball.  As a former high school player I played in many packed and high energy gyms across the city.  I never heard anyone say, “High school players play with more heart, they aren’t worried about scholarships and money.  It’s more honest basketball”  (You may sense some hostility to this comment; as you should.  I’ll address that later).  No. Let’s address that now. You can’t tell me that without the regulations from the NCAA some of these college players would be going directly to the NBA. You may also consider their choice of playing at Kentucky or UL is directly related to the ability of the coach to get them to the league.  Therefore, for some of these kids it’s all about the money.

As a repeat season ticket holder to UL you see the same passion but on a larger scale.  Instead of high school loyalty dividing fans, they can unite under the University of Louisville.  This city is still divided.  I don’t even have to mention the rivalry that divides us when it comes to sports.  Imagine the energy and pure magic that could be instilled in the city if we actually had something we can all root for as one.  I cite December 8th, 2010.  The Louisville home game in the Yum! Center that evening had an attendance of 21,000 fans.  Simultaneously the University of Kentucky hosted Notre Dame in Freedom Hall with an attendance of 18,000 fans.  That is a total of 39,000 fans in the same city, miles apart, at the same time, supporting a team that they love.  This is almost double the seating capacity of the Yum! Center for basketball games.

Lets task October 4th, 2014.  The Yum! Center hosted an NBA exposition game between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans.  Even in the wake of Lebron leaving the Heat more than 21,000 people attended the game.  This was in competition with a waterfront/river road music festival and events on Fourth street as well.  You don’t have to take it from me, see what the Heat have to say about their experience in the Yum Center.  I sat in the fifth row at the game.  The energy when Russ Smith and Anthony Davis took the floor was unparalleled to any energy I have felt at any NBA game I have attended.  Moral is that the Heat think they can make money playing in our arena…. why can’t we have our home team to keep that money in-house?

I also would like to refer you to an earlier post talking about former UL and UK players in the league and further reasons why Louisville would support the NBA.

Also, remember that exhibition game that occurred on October 4th, 2014?  81% of the people who attended were from Louisville or Southern Indiana.  Take a look at the population trend of this region.

WHERE IS THE CORPORATE MONEY TO SUPPORT THIS?

By no means can I speak for any corporation.  What I do see and would like to point out is the commitment corporations in Louisville have made to the city.

The obvious one is the fact that our arena is named the YUM! center.  If Yum! did not anticipate success, they would not have put the 100 million plus into the arena to have it build.  It is and will be their contribution and legacy in the city.  They are rooted in the town and seem to be itching to have something to get the city behind and excited about.  With a market cap of 33.69 billion dollars as reported by Forbes, I am sure that they can find a way to give support to the potential team.

Brown-Forman is another local name that has taken interest in our town here.  Our city is growing, especially downtown.  Neighborhoods are improving, remodeling, and trying to contribute to the growth that the Yum! Center may seem to be helping.  For example Whiskey Row downtown just east of the arena is continuing to grown.  With a name like that, who would you guess is having a hand in this directional growth? If you guessed Brown-Forman you would be correct.  This shows their dedication and involvement with the growth of the city.

NuLu is another neighborhood on the rise!  They host a variety of events and festivals for the citizens here.  The NuLu fest that occurred over the summer tops that list.  I encourage you all to attend next summer to see the new-found energy in an all but seemingly forgotten part of the town.

Louisville will continue to grow.  Current plans for a new Omni Hotel to be built shows that not only I, but parties outside of the city believe in the growth that we are kick starting in the city.

IT WOULD MESS WITH UofL AND THEIR SCHEDULE

I believe in this city and its potential.  It is impossible to ignore the positive economic result of bringing an NBA team to Louisville.  That is why I am such an avid supporter.  The University of Louisville does not own the Yum! Center.  I fear that is what people are expecting.  They are merely a resident.  If you do not think we could coordinate schedules of the teams then I laugh and would like to direct you to the Staples Center in LA.  If they can handle coordination of hockey, 2 NBA teams, concerts, and other national training type events, we could handle a couple of basketball schedules.

I close with simply this.  If you don’t like the NBA, that is fine.  I am not here to directly turn you into a die-hard fan.  There is however no reason why would should be opposed to this prospect.  Maybe you are scared of change. I will warn you though.  The worst way to run your business and life is with a “This is how we have always done it attitude.”  That prevents growth, efficiency, and profit.  You can choose to not attend, but I’ll be at the game with a beer, apparel, plenty of heckling, and 22,000 other people.

Video: Artis Gilmore Does The Undoable

Our favorite Kentucky Colonel Legend, Artis Gilmore, didn’t care that Kareem’s sky hook was deemed unblockable, just like I don’t care that it’s not Throwback Thursday. The Colonel-Journal will salute you any day of the week, Artis. Tell Kareem that weak stuff isn’t welcome in Louisville Gardens.

An Obsession with Basketball

The state of Kentucky has been long revered as a leader in basketball culture.  Teams have been supported with a near cult like following while the state as a whole has been a powerful source of dominating teams.  The Universities of Kentucky and Louisville (regardless of the side you are on) have been consistent leaders in the sport.  A combined 11 NCAA national championships have been awarded to these teams with wins in 2012 and 2013 with University of Kentucky being a runner up in 2014.

These championships ignited riots of excitement in each respective town.  Couches were burned, cars were flipped, and people were arrested all in a celebratory fashion as each school achieved the title of champion.  To see a short clip of this “chaos” follow this link:

Their most recent match up on December 27th, 2014 post a 2.1 overnight rating according to ESPN2.  This would place the matchup as being the highest rated college basketball game ever on the network.

This one statistic is a powerful example of the support that basketball in the state of Kentucky receives.  Our teams are good, our players are good, are fans or excellent, passionate, and excited about the sport.

There are currently 20 players in the NBA from these two universities.  Kenneth Faried, a ruthless rebounder currently holding an NCAA record in rebounding, came from another program in Kentucky by the name of Morehead State.

With the passion and excitement that fills every Kentuckian about the game of basketball we should be granted the right to cheer on these players on a bigger stage, in a bigger arena, with an NBA team.