Could Las Vegas actually become an NBA city?
The league has flirted with the location before, but former NBA player Jackie Robinson is taking a significant step in the process of bringing a franchise to The Strip. According to the Associated Press, via USA Today, Robinson wants to build a $1.3 billion stadium in Vegas.
The All Net Arena and Resort, as it's tentatively being called, would seat 22,000 people, and construction could begin as early as next spring. That would put the new arena on schedule to open in 2016, which means franchise development could potentially be put into motion rather soon.
As a reference point, 22,000 seats would put the proposed arena at No. 2 on the list of biggest NBA venues. Only The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons, boasts a larger seating capacity, so this isn't a particularly tiny building that Robinson is proposing.
Robinson himself played only 22 games at the NBA level, but he could still make quite the impact on the league. The small forward retired with career averages of 3.8 points and 1.2 rebounds per contest and bounced around foreign leagues before becoming a businessman during the post-basketball portion of his life.
Now, his Las Vegas connections—he went to school at UNLV—and business acumen are paying off. Robinson, who once owned the Las Vegas Silver Bandits in the International Basketball league, told Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Sun:
I’m really excited about this. I started on this about four or five years ago, and at the time, the economic conditions didn’t help. So we just waited for the right time. We have proper financing in place, the economy is moving in the right direction and our lenders are saying now is the time.
Based on the rendering you can see here and the descriptions, it's going to be a beautiful, futuristic building.
Velotta reports that it "would include a high-end resort with a spa," and that "A promenade called Victory Plaza would lead visitors from Las Vegas Boulevard past lush landscaping and water features to a restaurant, nightclub, wedding chapel and retail amenities as well as the arena."
Would you expect anything less from the city of excess?
It's tough to imagine Las Vegas fully supporting its own professional basketball team. A city full of transplants, it contains plenty of distractions, visitors and citizens with other vested interests. Shaquille O'Neal has voiced similar concerns in the past, but he also wouldn't shoot down the idea of bringing the NBA to Vegas.
Touristy city or not, it would be one hell of a location.
We're one step closer to making my dream of the Las Vegas Flush into a reality.