By Eduardo Monk Jr.
Sports leagues are places driven by the growth and the quality of their rosters, whether it be more cities added and awarded franchises or the names on those teams growing in national spotlight and general adoration. So it goes without saying that whenever any league adds a whole new team, every fan, hardcore and casual, is put on notice. A good expansion can breathe completely new life into a stale season.
The NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights are the latest in a long line of expansions in sports history. But where to next for the world of professional athletics? Which cities deserve to have a pro sports team call home?
That’s the question I have been wondering for while now and I think it’s time to do something about it. For the next five days, Sporting Daily will be analyzing, researching and experimenting to determine the six finest cities to house a new franchise in the five major sports leagues, the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL and MLS
Today folks, we’re expanding the NBA. It’s no secret the NBA is in a rough place right now with the Warriors superiority sucking all competition out of the competitive basketball. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely destroyed. The league is currently in the midst of the greatest offseason of all time and the hype sprouting from that is at an all-time high. Why not throw an expansion in there?
So here are the six teams best fit for an NBA franchise.
This one I believe goes without saying. Taking their beloved SuperSonics in 2008 and moving them to Oklahoma City felt like taking something out of the NBA’s history. The SuperSonics were never a great franchise but what made them special was the fan support. Seattle has always been a wonderful sports town through the never-ending love for their NFL counterpart Seahawks and their wicked fandom for the SuperSonics.
Seattle deserves a franchise based on fan support alone. This is a city that with a team will immediately accumulate one of the fanbases in the entire league easily.
Kansas City, Missouri
This wouldn’t be the first time Kansas City has housed an NBA team. The Kings called the city home for 13 years before relocating to Sacramento. But with the Royals in the MLB and Chiefs in the NFL riding high in the hearts of the 2.34 million people in the city, there’s little doubt an NBA team could fail with the level of support they would receive. The Chiefs have some of the loudest fans on the planet. Just imagine how loud those fans could be in an indoor court.
Mexico City, Mexico
Basketball is easily one the most popular sports on the planet and there is a massive global following of the NBA, bringing a team to more countries than Canada and the US makes sense. There is strong cult following of the sport in Mexico despite the relative youth of the pro leagues there and awarding an NBA team would be amazing for the growth of basketball. Despite very few Mexican players in the NBA, setting up shop in the country is exactly what the league needs to grow a larger, more global fan base.
Basketball in the state of Ohio is otherwise dominated by LeBron James and the Cavaliers. The recent success has rejuvenated the game in the state but considering the weak history and rocky future of the franchise, inserting another team in the state could be perfect for the sport in a growing market. Not to mention there is also major potential for a killer rivalry between the two Ohioan franchises. Outside of the city, the Cavaliers are not a relatively liked team. The fanbase could form instantly just to spite the Cavs.
Louisville is one of the most hardcore basketball cities in the nation and they don’t even have an NBA team. Their Cardinals in the NCAA is their only source of basketball and that’s more than enough for one of the best fan bases in the nation. Insert an NBA team in the city and fans will flock to it like a moth to a lamp.
This one is a bit of long shot but if there is a country outside of the USA that loves basketball, it’s China. These people go absolutely berserk over the sport, with over 300 million people registered to play. The Chinese population provided one of the largest basketball markets on the planet even before the NBA played preseason games in the country. China easily has the largest basketball fan base on the planet and there isn’t an NBA team there. With 1.379 billion people in the country, the potential for the largest following for an NBA team is high and likely.
It would be difficult, considering time zones, travel and if the country would even allow a team but if Adam Silver could pull it off, basketball in China could possibly be bigger than it is in the US.