Supporters hope exhibition game leads to NBA future for Louisville

Nick Evans
Nick Evans
The Kentucky Colonels
The Kentucky Colonels
Victor Owens
Victor Owens

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The NBA is coming to Louisville, but for one night only in the form of a preseason game.

"It's obviously baby steps," said Nick Evans, a radio host on Louisville ESPN 680.

Evans knew a thing or two about basketball in the Commonwealth, even dating back to the mid 1970s breakup of the Kentucky Colonels.

"There is past history here," said Evans. "They folded when the ABA and the NBA merged. They had an opportunity to pursue moving on to the NBA, but the owner at that time, John Y. Brown, took the buyout."

Thursday, word that the NBA will host a pre-season matchup between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans at the KFC Yum! Center October 4 had some fans again dribbling up hope for a professional team of Louisville's own.

"It's exciting for NBA fans in this city that have been pushing," said Evans.

Among those fans were Albrecht Stahmer, a Louisville native ecstatic about the news even after  learning of it while more than 9,600 miles away in Singapore.

"This gives us an opportunity to prove grassroots support does exist in Louisville," said Stahmer.

The management consultant, who also heads up Bring the NBA to Louisville, said the pre-season game could become Louisville's first step to securing an NBA team provided fans showed their support in numbers.

"Last fall there was an NBA preseason game in Rupp [Arena] that drew almost 15,000 fans," said Stahmer, "and I think if we can get 17-18,000 fans into the KFC Yum! Center, which would be more fans than the average NBA regular season draws, that proves what we've been saying all along: that there's tremendous latent support for the NBA here in Louisville,"

While Stahmer said he would make a special trip home to attend the game, other fans closer to the KFC Yum! Center felt conflicted.

"I think it will take away from the college, but yeah, I'd like to see one," said Victor Owens.

"You're not going to go from an exhibition game to Kentucky or Louisville having NBA franchises," began Evans, "but I think it does show maybe a willingness of the people at the KFC Yum Center to get involved with the NBA which hasn't been the case."

Tickets to the October 4 game will go on sale Saturday, April 19.

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