Group wants the Kings in Louisville
Group wants the Kings in Louisville
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Group wants the Kings in Louisville
Group wants the Kings in Louisville. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

An aggressively growing Facebook page is calling for transplanting the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise to the new KFC Yum! Center. And Sacramento has noticed, but one report from the city’s ABC News 10 isn’t in a fighting mood.

They’ve got some of the most rabid basketball fans in the country, a sparkling brand-new arena and they want the Sacramento Kings.

The future of the Kings in Sacramento remains uncertain. In September the NBA removed itself from negotiations to help build a new arena in the city. That move came after the Cal Expo Board of Directors voted against a proposed land swap that would move the California State Fair to the ARCO Arena site.

While I can’t admit to knowing the details on the ground in Sacramento, it sounds like the team hasn’t grown deep roots. And judging from the comments on that article, the people of Sacramento don’t seem all that upset about possible losing their team. Here’s a letter to the Kings from the “Bring the Sacramento Kings to Louisville” Facebook page:

Dear Kings,

We know that you are not happy in California. Why not give Louisville a shot? We have a beautiful, brand new arena, we have the best food in the world, and we live for basketball. Our city is even named after a king. Bring DeMarcus Cousins and Francisco Garcia back. We know that there are a lot of things to consider, but the clear choice is Louisville.


Louisville has long aspired to joining the ranks of the NBA-enabled but with disastrous results each time as team after team passed up the River City for the likes of Memphis and New Orleans. Attorney J. Bruce Miller, who was close to previous NBA-attainment-effort, details his experiences in his book Airball: The Complete and Unvarnished Account of Louisville’s 30-Year Odyssey to Acquire an NBA Franchise, an authoritative read on the subject.

Many have speculated that, with the opening of a new arena built to top-of-the-line NBA standards, Louisville would again pursue its big-league dreams, but community leaders have also reassured the community that the case was closed and the KFC Yum! Center is only for the University of Louisville.

Since I discovered the Facebook page on Friday, it has gained thousands of additional fans and now stands at over 4,200 as of this writing. What are your thoughts on the NBA in Louisville? Do we need a big-league team to get national respect or should we stick with the local guys? Or as the LEO points out, have we long been tied up in the Big Lie of big-league prosperity?

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Branden Klayko


  1. Even if it ultimately fails what does it hurt to give it a shot? The arena is in place. It’s not like a sales pitch to an NBA franchise is just smoke and mirrors any more.

  2. I like the idea. I hope those that were involved with the old campaign that attempted to bring a team to Louisville after the Kentucky Colonels left, jump on board. This would be good for the entire city!

  3. I’m not sold on an NBA team in Louisville. I think Louisville should look to cities with a large research university like Austin as a model for growth instead of NBA latecomers like Memphis. Of course both models for growth depend on Louisville not making the biggest urban planning mistake of the 21st century: the current design and funding plan for the downtown ORBP. Even if an NBA team moves to the area they will not stick around long after the inevitable economic collapse when the city tolls itself to build some of the world’s ugliest infrastructure on its image defining gateway.

  4. Great, another black hole for us to pour money into, if we have any left after paying for the arena, which will be never!

  5. @Andy Perry

    Now Andy, I agree with you. But what I wonder is how will we pay for the Abramson, Courier-Journal, Greg Fischer Downtown Bridge? Maybe Cordish can be hired as a consultant to help out. I am sure if we gave them millions more, rather than spend the money on neighborhoods, we would all be better off. However we will never know how the money is spent because we have a continuation of previous corrupt administration.

  6. I just wonder how many people would actually go to the NBA games and if companies would shell out the money to buy the suites. I would think this city would be more wecoming to a MLB or NFL team, but that’s just my opinion.

  7. First off i want to say that whether an NBA team can succeed here is not really even a question…Multiple studies have confirmed that Louisville is a prime candidate for a successful fan base of an NBA team, similar to Oklahoma City. Louisville has a great basketball community and with a winner, there would be no issue selling out the Yum Center for any NBA team…However, this talk of the Kings coming to Louisville is ludicris. The Maloof Brothers who own the Sacramento Kings want to stay in town with a new arena. If they cannot get that to happen, then they will move to Las Vegas their business home or Kansas City which recently built the $400 million Sprint Center. It is extremely unlikely that louisville would even be considered an option in this process, no one from the NBA or the Kings front office has stated that this is even an option. Secondly, Louisville has exclusive scheduling rights to the KFC Yum! Center…an NBA Team would require this to move to a new city, and U of L would not be willing to give it up. Most city officials are not interested either. I would say that the most likely choices for NBA realignment or Expansion(almost never going to happen in this economy) are Las Vegas, Kansas City or Seattle.

  8. What, have a pro basketball team occupying the arena with tons of empty seats because nobody can justify paying pro-team ticket prices? Bring all those pro athlete egos and the associated thuggishness to town?

    AND pay money out of the community’s “pocket” to get all this?

    I still don’t think the stupid over-sized VCR should have been built.

  9. We have the best food in the world?!? Well slap my ass and call me Sally…I had no clue!

  10. I go with Tom on this one. I’m just not a fan of all the thuggery in the NBA and the ripple effect that will have in our fair town. To be fair though, the NCAA contains quite a bit of thuggery, too.

  11. @James
    So, Hal Heiner would have been better? And the downtown bridge isn’t built yet. For that matter, no bridge is being built! Will it happen? In my opinion, no, the bridges will never be built. And it seems that Fischer is pushing for the east end bridge to be built first.

  12. Wow, love the statement “with a winner” like that’s going to happen in L’ville! All the winning teams want to come here! But I guess I’m beating a dead horse here. “Multiple studies have confirmed that Louisville is a prime candidate for a successful fan base of an NBA team….” And multiple studies have shown that downtown arenas are a drain on city funds but that didn’t stop anything!@Josh Linke

  13. I would like to amend a commment I posted above. I completey respect NCAA (i.e. UofL) basketball and fans and basketball fans around town who want to see pro level (i.e. NBA) play. I fully get that. I’m just concerned about the ripple effect of pro sports culture in our fair ‘ville, which I referred to as “thuggery”. I respectfully submit that “thuggery” and its’ concomitant effect on our culture is widely available from a variety or sources, not just pro sports.

  14. It would certainly be the worst thing that could happen to Louisville! The last thing we need is a bunch of overpaid hoodlums to set bad examples for the youth of Louisville. There’s nothing good that could come of getting an NBA team in Louisville and a lot of bad. I’m sure getting one would cost the taxpayers even more money in the arena is going to cost them.

  15. The arguement that an NBA franchise would thug-up Louisville is about the dumbest thing I ever heard. To preserve our simple way of life we want to isolate ourselves from mainstream culture? Let’s take it a step further and just nuke the West end and rename our newly de-thugged and isolated community North Koreaville!

    Boo. Hiss.

  16. Just want to join MikeG in objecting to the casual racism coming out in these comments. The NFL has a larger “thug” problem but it doesn’t stop Americans from watching games in staggering numbers and turning the Super Bowl into one of our major holidays.

    I don’t think the Maloofs would be interested in coming here, but I think the city should still try. Adding 41 events per year for the Colonel Dome would be one way to make sure it doesn’t become an even larger money drain. And if that takes giving the NBA scheduling priority of UofL, that should be a no brainer.

  17. I tend to believe that professional sports help to create a buzz for its hometown and positively expand a certain part of the local economy. Not that I have any way of testing that or would not suspect any study that found that to be the case… but. Pro sports is a good thing.

    I think it is more likely that the NBA contracts rather than continues to move unsuccessful teams around to small(ish) markets. The NBA isn’t a strong brand so desperation should not enter the subsidy conversation with Lou/KY. It shouldn’t be too difficult to fill the arena schedule with premier events without a non-collegiate sports franchise.

    Papa John’s Stadium, however, could do some more work during the year (MLS, NLF, sweaty summer music fest, etc). I would like to see that venue occupied more often. Lets get concerned about that facility. (and .Bring a more appropriate Urban pattern of retail Development Around south third Street.)

    so in summary:
    Go Louisville ‘Buzz’
    Go pro team that is not part of a farm or development league
    Go Cards, beat Butler

  18. Now, I am not much of a pro-sports fan AT ALL, and I’m not even sure I would want to see any in Louisville… Yet, to be fair, I have been living in Pittsburgh for over two years now, and the effect that successful professional teams can have on a city is huge and for any bad that comes in, you’re going to see much more positive. Even the Pirates are well attended and add hugely to the local market(albeit a well rooted and established team). It’s the kind of energy that I think Louisville could use a bit of sometimes… Of course, Louisville is not Pittsburgh, and we aren’t talking about a guranteed success of a team. But let’s get one thing straight: If there are basketball games, people will go. It is Kentucky. And why it is that everyone thinks we are all living from paycheck to paycheck is beyond me…???

  19. Brendan and MikeG, I applaud you both for pointing out the implied attitudes regarding “thuggery”!

  20. The Sacramento public is very attached to the team, but arena plans have fallen apart…mainly because of the issues of funding and control. Like all owners, the Maloofs want big government subsidies for the arena construction AND control of the income from parking, etc. Louisville doesn’t get the team just because it has a suitable new arena, it only gets the team if the owners make more money.

  21. One more thing, the Kings are NOT going to be allowed to move the Las Vegas. Gambling takes that off the table.

  22. thats been the NBA’s stance for years, however, David Stern has recently appeared to be more open to considering such a move…everyone across the NBA thinks the anti Las Vegas sentiment has always been more of an image thing than reality, if someone wants to bet on pro sports they can do it anywhere, albeit illegally. The Maloofs are tied to Vegas and as long as they are thinking even remotely of moving…Vegas always will be choice #1. but i do agree that Sacramento has a great fan base, they finished in top 10 in attendance last year even though the team was iffy at best.

  23. This is a non-starter for many of the reasons stated on this page (biggest one being UofL’s priority scheduling rights).

    But also, the NBA doesn’t like putting small market teams next to each other (i.e. Indy is only 2hrs away). There is no way they would risk putting two teams in small markets that could potentially bankrupt both teams. For that reason… Kansas City looks like the strongest contender right now.

  24. Seattle will get a team back before Louisville ever sees one. And whoever said that Pittsburgh Pirates games are well attended lives in fantasyland. The Pirates are 27th out of 30 teams, averaging just 19.9K fans per game.

  25. The Pirates do better than the marlins and thats with the marlins having two world series in 17 years of existence…if the pirates ownership was more interested in winning than in posting net profits at the end of the fiscal year then they would bring more fans to the game, and who knows with winning might come more merchandising and more profits, but you think small, you earn small…

  26. It is my understanding that U of L has done everything possible to block the possibility of an NBA team using the arena. However, since the city has put itself on the line to cover any cost overruns, we should pursue, with vigor, a way to maximize the arena use to cover that debt and add even more business to our downtown. 41 additional nights per year plus taxing the large salaries plus the publicity. The Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis Tigers share their arena. We can and should do the same.

  27. sounds like the work of UK fans who can’t stand that UofL has an arena so nice all to themself. An NBA team isn’t coming here, the 30 year deal that UofL has makes scheduling an NBA team all but impossible.

    Next subject……

  28. Yes. For the the pirates being a terrible team, the games are very well attended. I’ve been to a sold-out game before. The numbers can read how you want them to, but people still go to the games.

  29. @Charlie

    I completely agree with you. This is COLLEGE basketball town. I don’t think people would pay $80 a game (and that’s not ever the best seat) to go see and NBA team. We would definitely benefit more from an NFL or even MLB team.

  30. I’m indifferent to an NBA team coming to Louisville, primarily because I’m completely disinterested in basketball. But I also agree that the argument about “thuggery” is ridiculous and not so subtly racist.

    That said, to imply the NFL has a bigger “thug” problem than the NBA in that sense is very untrue. Yes, more than a few NFL players have been caught doing illegal things in recent years (like NBA players haven’t…hello gilbert arenas), but the difference is that David Stern and the NBA made a concerted effort to build their brand on a certain lifestyle and aesthetic (that of hip-hop culture) that the NFL has chosen not to embellish. Granted, the NFL hasn’t shied away from that culture, but it didn’t decide to hinge almost all of its marketing on the idea, either.

    Again, I’m not saying that an argument against the “thuggery” of an NBA team is good. It’s not. At all. But it is still a fact that the NBA wants to employ a strategy that some folks are less than pleased with — regardless of whether or not they have good reasons.

  31. @Ben – Perhaps it is time that responsibility for the management of this site is passed to someone actually lives in Louisville.

  32. @Porter Stevens

    That would be a great idea. It’s rather disheartening to see how little this site is updated now when the change in Louisville is speeding up more everyday. UofL alone has plenty to talk about (and I just give that as an example since I am currently a student there so I’m seeing the progress firsthand).

  33. Hey folks, you’ve got to be a little more patient. Broken Sidewalk isn’t going away, but this site is not my real job – it’s not designed to produce revenue, but to only sustain itself – it’s been set up as more of a hobby so far. I don’t live in Louisville right now, either, which has always made writing here more difficult but not impossible. It takes a lot of time and energy to produce content for Broken Sidewalk, time that’s a little more scarce for me temporarily. I appreciate those who have helped with Broken Sidewalk and the continued patience of the many readers who check in often. That said, I also feel frustration when I’m not able to write about the topics covered here and will be writing again as soon as I can. Anyone who wishes to discuss this further can contact me directly at bs at broken sidewalk dot com.

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