A group led by former Kentucky Colonels great Dan Issel (or at least with Dan Issel as its public face) is pushing to get an NBA expansion team for Louisville, and Issel says it won’t require any taxpayer help:
Issel, who is serving as the president of the “NBA 2 Louisville” initiative, made his comments at the Louisville Forum on Wednesday, stating that “he doesn’t envision” a scenario where public financing would play a role in luring a team to Kentucky.
“We’re not looking for a handout,” said Issel, a basketball Hall of Famer who played for the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets after setting the career scoring record at the University of Kentucky.
That’s promising! As you can tell I think from the part of the Louisville Courier Journal article where it quotes me calling it “promising”! Though also not really all that much to get excited over, as:
- The University of Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center (I never get tired of typing that) is only eight years old, and is already getting so heavily subsidized by the city of Louisville that it would be hard (though not impossible) for an NBA team to ask for much more in improvements. And I’m pretty sure that no city has actually been asked to chip in on NBA expansion fees, though there’s a first time for everything.
- Issel may be promising not to use (or failing to “envision”) public money for acquiring an NBA team, but Kentucky economic development secretary Terry Gill seems to have a better imagination, telling the Courier Journal: “I think the state and local government, we certainly have a role to play but we should not be burdened with too much of that risk.”
Anyway, there’s no sign that the NBA is expanding anytime soon, or that Louisville will be on the short list to land a team once it does. Maybe that’ll give the KFC Yum! Center time to celebrate its 10th birthday, by which time all concerned will probably decide that it’s time for a new one anyway.