About five weeks ago, we noted that the city of Louisville, Kentucky, was trying to throw its name into the NBA ring by starting a Facebook group in hopes of rallying fan support to bring a team to the city. This week, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that the efforts may be a little more serious than first thought, as the city has spent $10,000s funding research into bringing a team to the city, and the attorney tasked with that research -- who is billing the city $125 an hour for "tasks "tasks such as 'Googling' and reading 'in-depth' team information, performing Lexis-Nexis searches and preparing to-do lists" -- claims an anonymous billionaire has thrown his support behind the effort. Man, that was a fun sentence to type. The attorney, J. Bruce Miller, has reportedly contacted investors both in the United States and abroad, and claims to have landed a big fish.
“There’s only two ways to get this done: acquire an existing franchise or get an expansion franchise,” Miller said. “You don’t get either one if you don’t have a behemoth investor. What’s different this time is we have our own billionaire — who is among the richest people in the world.”The paper also notes that the University of Louisville is open to sharing its huge brand new stadium, the KFC Yum! Center, with an NBA team, but that it reserves the right to set its schedule first. Louisville's effort, and the potential availability of an arena, adds fuel to the speculation surrounding the New Orleans Hornets, who agreed to be taken over by the NBA earlier this week, as the Hornets are the most obvious candidate for relocation. Until Louisville reveals who their major investor is, so that the sincerity of the city's effort can be judged, it's difficult to determine how realistic Louisville's effort to land the NBA is, given the presence of other interested destinations like Kansas City and Seattle. This could be a shrewd lawyer's gravy-train pipe-dream taking a city for a ride, or it could be serious business. Only time will tell.