Thinking Big: Top 10 Cities That Should Host an NBA Franchise
Although the golden years of the NBA might be over, the rise of the super team has helped elevate the game back to new heights. LeBron, Kobe, and Carmelo might not shine a light to Jordan, Bird, and Magic but it's safe to say, they're the faces of today's game and have done their part in raising interest in the league.
While many argue that the current number of NBA teams at 30 is far too many, there are still a number of cities and regions which could use a franchise. Given the popularity of the recent Nets vs. Raptors game in London, perhaps the next franchise may be located in Europe?
Here's a short list of 10 cities/regions which could land the next NBA franchise.
10. San Diego, CA
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Is there a spot for the NBA in San Diego?
Given that the Chargers are even being discussed in talks of NFL relocation to nearby Los Angeles, the thought of any kind of expansion in San Diego seems flawed. But the recent success of San Diego State basketball has reignited a passion for the sport in the city. If the Aztecs can continue to produce Top 10 rankings in the coming years, the NBA might just have a home in this former ABA town.
9. Kansas City, MO
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
With Kansas City being rumored as a possible relocation destination for the Sacramento Kings, Kansas Citians old enough to remember the last place the Kings played before their move to the West Coast have got to be a bit angry.
For over a decade, Kansas City served as an NBA city and while there are reasons why the Kings left town in the first place, there's no doubt the city can support a team. With the entire Kansas City metro area sporting a population over 2,000,000, there might just be hope for a professional basketball rebirth in the City of Fountains.
8. Newark, NJ
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Wait, what? Newark's Prudential Center is the home of the New Jersey Nets, right? Well yes, for now.
The Nets' pending move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2012 will leave the Prudential Center a one-sport facility. "The Rock," as it's called, is just way too nice and state of the art to solely house the New Jersey Devils and a few Bon Jovi concerts each year. It would be an absolute disgrace to let the building go to waste.
Newark is on the rise and its place in the New York metro region allows it to easily be able to support a team. It's a shame the Nets are leaving in the first place as no one really wants them in Brooklyn except for a few greedy real estate moguls and a plethora of Midwestern-displaced hipsters. Don't worry guys, hopefully the Barclays Center will serve $9.00 PBR.
7. Cincinnati, OH
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Just like the Ohio River on which its situated, the city of Cincinnati has always had basketball flowing in and out of it.
The city hosted the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA from 1957 to 1972. Since their departure for Kansas City, Cincy has relied on Cincinnati Bearcats basketball, Bob Huggins, and well, that's all.
There's definitely potential for Cincinnati as they've shown the ability to support their professional sports franchises with both the Reds of the MLB and the Bengals of the NFL. Maybe it's time for David Stern to bring the NBA into town.
6. Austin, TX
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
The last thing Texas needs is another basketball team, right? With three to boast already, it may sound a bit greedy to suggest that the Lone Star State get another. But then again, everything's bigger in Texas.
Austin is not only the state's capital but quickly becoming a cultural center to be reckoned with as well. There's always room for expansion into Texas and a team in Austin might actually make some sense. The biggest obstacle would be attempting to convert a college town into professional sports fanbase.
5. London, England (Is It Possible?)
Coming off the success of this year's NBA London series between the Nets and Raptors at O2 Arena, questions have been swirling around a possible official NBA presence in London within the next few years.
According to NBA legend Clyde Drexler, he expects an NBA franchise to settle in London within the next decade. Drexler refuted any argument of a London location being too far for team travel as he compared the flight between New York and London to be basically equidistant to New York and his former stomping grounds, Portland.
Could the NBA really go global and settle in London? Because of the sport's growing popularity in Europe and the UK, it seems more likely for the NBA to make the jump before the NFL were to do so.
4. Columbus, OH
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Columbus as an expansion city is just a choice that makes sense. Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus is more than suited to host an NBA team and it would serve a dual purpose in the revitalization of the city's downtown area.
The only issue with Columbus getting its own NBA franchise would be its effect on the Cleveland Cavaliers fanbase. The Cavs have taken a huge hit this year with the absence of golden boy LeBron James and the loss of more fans due to a more localized team in Columbus could be fatal to the Cavs' organization.
3. St. Louis, MO
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
St. Louis is another city that just makes no sense as to why it's been overlooked by the NBA. Not only does St. Louis have a rich basketball history including being the home to former NBA teams, but it is also well equipped to begin hosting a basketball team immediately.
The Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis has only served as the home to the NHL's St. Louis Blues since its 1994 debut. An NBA franchise in St. Louis would undoubtedly be well-received and would help to spark further investment in the revitalizing downtown area.
2. Las Vegas, NV
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
It's no surprise that the NBA has been eyeing Las Vegas as a possible destination in the next few years. In 2007, Sin City became the first non-NBA city to host an All-Star Game. The game was considered a huge success and UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center proved to be a sufficient venue.
The question regarding Vegas is whether or not a resort city can support a team over the course of an entire season. The fact that Las Vegas has been one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas over the last several decades doesn't seem to hurt their chances. A team in Sin City would be a fascinating experiment but David Stern might frown upon the risk of it all.
1. Seattle, WA
J.D. Cuban/Getty Images
Somebody bring basketball back to Seattle, please.
The city deserves a team more than any other place. The storied SuperSonics were ripped right from their fanbase and now the KeyArena lay dormant. Seattleites miss basketball in their city and deserve to have the Sonics back.
The Sonics just have too much history and are too perfect of a fit in Seattle to be gone. Their franchise's history is now part of Oklahoma City's but that is no consolation to the people of a basketball-less city.