clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What an NBA franchise in Louisville would mean for Kentucky Basketball

A consistent flow of NBA teams through the bluegrass would give Coach Cal yet another innovative recruiting toy.

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs, Game 1 Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kentucky Coach John Calipari prides himself on staying ahead of the curve. He embraced the “one and done” rule. He started hosting NBA combines at Kentucky practices. He even started his own podcast.

In the fall of 2018, however, the new big thing might actually be coming to him.

According to Adam Joseph and Keith P. Smith of, “The front running cities in talks are Seattle and Mexico City, with Louisville still very much in the picture.” Admitting that Seattle and Mexico City are the favorites, they added, “The other cities mentioned prominently have been Louisville, Las Vegas and Vancouver, though only Louisville is considered a serious contender as it stands right now.”

At this point, Louisville may be on the outside looking in. But with the NBA seeking two new franchises, it is hard not to wonder what that might mean for the state of Kentucky. And even more important for many Kentucky residents, what it may mean for Coach Cal’s recruiting strategy.

There are 24 former Kentucky Wildcats in the NBA, filling roster spots on half of the teams in the league. How short that 80 miles would seem for Cal when there are constantly former players, now millionaires and many of them superstars, in and out of Louisville every week from November to June.

Cal could bring in an NBA guy or two to almost every home game. Not only would there be the crowd at Rupp Arena, the future NBA guys on the roster, and the scouts in the seats when a recruit comes to visit.

But how much of an impact would it make on an official visit to run into Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Davis? How big of a difference would it be for the next big point guard to have a conversation with John Wall after a Kentucky win?

Then consider the culture in Louisville, the only pocket in the state where blue is not always the dominant color. Imagine the Louisville franchise drafting a few former Cats, and then those guys becoming ambassadors for Big Blue Nation behind enemy lines.

Not only would that amplify the inferiority complex already coming out of the Yum! Center, but the shrinking of little brother’s fan base would only mean more revenue, more support, and increased energy into what John Calipari is doing an hour or so down the road.

And most importantly, just think how many options we would have for the “Y” each game.

Do you think Coach Cal would find a creative way to utilize an NBA team in the state?