In 1976, as the American Basketball Association crumbled, the NBA had an opportunity to bring four of the six surviving ABA teams into the fold. The NBA chose the Indiana Pacers, but decided to pass on the Kentucky Colonels, who played 90 minutes south in Louisville.
Since then, Louisville has made several serious attempts to win an NBA team, but the Rockets, Grizzlies, and Hornets all passed at one point or another. Despite previous failures, this city actually has a fighting chance to win a franchise should the opportunity arise: its economy and standard of living have really come around over the past 20 years, it has a brand-new stadium on the waterfront, and between U of L and Kentucky, enthusiasm for basketball is already high.
As such, the city of Louisville is making yet another effort to bring a team to town. This time, as with every successful scheme, their bid comes complete with a Mysterious Billionaire Investor.
J. Bruce Miller, the attorney who's leading the effort, isn't divulging the name of said Mysterious Billionaire Investor just yet:
"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."
Miller wouldn’t say where the potential investor is from, or even if he resides outside of the country.
A lot of intelligent analysis is being cobbled together, and studies seem to indicate that an NBA team could thrive in Louisville. Meantime, I'll argue from a different angle.
Louisville is a megalopolis of vices. Nearly all of the bourbon in the world is manufactured in or just outside of town. As the tobacco industry had a major foothold here until very recently, cigarettes are dirt-cheap. Kentucky produces more marijuana than every state but California. The city of Louisville is a gambling mecca; enormous crowds congregate from all over the world to bet on the Kentucky Derby. Thunder Over Louisville, the largest recurring fireworks display in the United States, provides the elementary vices of bright lights and loud noises.
Give Louisville a pro sports franchise! We need more vices, damn it! More!