Louisville, KY (WAVE) - Louisville area leaders met Friday morning at the Galt House to discuss the potential interest in luring a National Basketball Association franchise.
Mayor Greg Fischer and former University of Louisville star Junior Bridgeman led the discussion with 23 area power brokers.
"Any kind of big decisions we make in the community, there needs to broad input, different points of view," Mayor Fischer told WAVE 3 Sports."Something like this is a journey, it can take years, but you've got to be ready. You have to get community input to see if this is something that the community wants to do. We've got to understand the financials behind it. You have to understand the facility issues behind it. This isn't something where you just call a meeting together, snap the finger, it's done. It's a lot more complicated than that, but it was important that we had this discussion with everybody in the room today."
Bridgeman is a former president of the N.B.A. Players Association and said that he has long believed that a franchise would work here.
"Your feelings are that it does," Bridgeman said. " It's not just feelings and I think all those things have to be proven and I think that's what is the right thing to do for the city. Not just going by what I feel, but maybe going by what reports say, what numbers say, and I think as the Mayor said, what all the stakeholders say. It's got to be something that everybody is in favor of, everybody benefits from."
Junior played a total of 13 seasons in the N.B.A. for Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Clippers. He joined another former Card, Darrell Griffith, in making the case for the potential of a franchise here.
"Everyone that came today has a deep feeling about the city of Louisville and a feeling about the city moving forward," Junior said. "So whether it's this topic or another topic, that was the main thing, the main idea, what can we do to make sure that the city keeps moving forward."
One of the major roadblocks for any potential N.B.A. franchise here is the University of Louisville's current lease with the KFC YUM! Center. Mayor Fischer says that is just one the many factors to be worked out as the discussion moves forward.
"Obviously the University of Louisville controls the lease in the YUM! Center, this would have to be a win for the University of Louisville and many stakeholders in the community," Mayor Fischer said. "That's what all this process is about is to pursue what those options are and to see if we can do it. It's got to be a win for multiple stakeholders in the community, and what's important is that we have these kinds of conversations."
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