Louisville Suffers Setback Bid For An NBA Team

Papa John’s likes Atlanta better.

Louisville officials and business leaders for decades have been trying to land a National Basketball Association team. Nearly 20 years ago, three NBA owners expressed interest in possibly relocating their franchises to the city. Charlotte’s George Shinn, Vancouver’s Michael Heisley and Houston’s Leslie Alexander. Eventually Shinn took his business to New Orleans, Heisley moved his franchise to Memphis and Alexander got a new Houston arena. There has been some movement over the past few years to position Louisville as a potential expansion team market. The NBA has no plans to expand. It would seem if the NBA added two markets, Seattle would be the top choice because of a number of factors including market size, television money, corporate support and having a suitable arena available. In 2008, SuperSonics ownership took the franchise to Oklahoma City because the Seattle arena was, in ownership’s opinion, antiquated. Louisville would be in the next tier of cities that could be considered if the NBA does expand. But does Louisville have the basics? Government backing, television money and corporate support?

Louisville is a city without many Fortune 500 companies and the city just lost Papa John’s corporate headquarters to Atlanta. Some of the pizza company’s personnel will stay in Louisville but the company’s new global headquarters is in Atlanta for a multitude of reasons which including Louisville’s lack of available skilled personnel and an international airport both of which the company claimed are essential to its global expansion plans. NBA owners who may decide on expansion will not like seeing that about Louisville. Companies are leaving Louisville, Kentucky despite Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s presence. If a Senator’s job is getting business back home, McConnell is failing. Louisville has work to do to impress the NBA.

Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, left, and Miami Heat’s Jae Crowder (99) exchange words as Kemba Walker (8) attempts to calm the situation during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)