Rumours abound about the NBA going back to Vancouver. Hey, at least it would make the Raptors look good
Once again, the chattering classes are buzzing about the possibility of an NBA franchise finding a home in Vancouver. In case some readers have forgotten, the Vancouver Grizzles were proud tenants at Rogers Arena (back then it was named GM Place) from 1995 to 2001. In their day, the Grizz—yes, locals actually called them that—were unusually awful at everything they did: playing basketball, making personnel decisions, designing uniforms, you name it. Given the current condition of Canada’s remaining team, the Toronto Raptors must be pining for those halcyon days when they could do no wrong because Vancouver could do nothing right.
Nostalgia aside, though, how on earth did Vancity NBA rumours get started? Well, it seems that NBA commissioner David Stern had his annual chat with ESPN basketball guru Bill Simmons on The Sports Guy podcast. In that conversation, Stern told Simmons that a number different cities have recently approached the league; one of those cities was Vancouver. Cue rampant speculation.
The Vancouver Sun has the details:
Of course, the most logical owners would be the Aquilini family, who could promote synergies and coordinate two professional sports teams, the Canucks and Grizzlies, as Orca Bay Sports did from 1995–2001, in the same arena.
“Whether it’s basketball or whatever opportunities, we’d be doing a disservice to our fans and potential fans if we’re not looking at ways to build the business and enhance the fan experience,” says Victor de Bonis, the COO of Canucks Sports and Entertainment.
“We’re looking at event opportunities all the time. The city is growing. The demographics are very broad. The demand may be there for alternative opportunities.”
Wouldn’t that be great for the Raptors? They could languish at the bottom of the NBA standings, play boring uninspired basketball and have no exciting star power to speak of—just like now!—but they could find comfort in knowing they’d always be better than their West Coast brethren. Once again, the city’s basketball fans could have glorious conversations that go like this:
Fan 1: Gee, the Raptors suck.
Fan 2: At least they’re not the Grizzlies.
• Spurned Vancouver among suitors for struggling franchises [Vancouver Sun]
• NBA has had ‘visits from Vancouver,’ Stern says [National Post]
• The NBA in Vancouver? Don’t count on it [National Post]
• Could the NBA return to Vancouver? [Yahoo Sports]