Basketball fans of Vancouver and British Columbia as a whole have been deprived of professional basketball for over 13 years. Its time to bring it back to the most beautiful city in the world, with the most passionate fans in the world.
A) Attendance vs. Talent
Vancouver is a basketball market. It has proven this through attendence. Vancouver had better attendance for the Grizzlies than Memphis right up until this very season (2012-2013) with a failing, miserable team that had zero playoff appearences and no draft picks that turned into stars or moderate stars other than Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Swift, Daniels, Reeves among others). Compared to Memphis's legitimate playoff contending team with NBA stars like Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Connely. Other notable players to suit up for Memphis; Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay, Allen Iverson, Steve Francis, Damon Stoudamire among others. Vancouver STILL managed better attendence the entire time, with ZERO playoff apperences, and a sub-par roster. Memphis has made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs twice in its breif history in Memphis.
B) Willingness to Return
David Stern has publicly stated
Stern: "Great city, and we disappointed them. And we disappointed ourselves."
Stern: "We've had visits from believe it or not, Vancouver, where the Canucks are doing just a spectacular job.
Francesco Aquilini has publicly stated:
"I think if there was enough support, enough of a fan base, the arena is definitly ready to go"
Among the yearly rumors that Francesco is looking to buy a NBA team
NBA coming back to Vancouver? | canada.com (April 2012)
Aquilini wants NBA's Hornets in Vancouver: report via CBC (Feb. 2011)
Pacers to Vancouver??? | Indiana Barrister (May. 2009)
Vancouver has NBA hoop dream - SkyscraperCity (March. 2006)
C) Market Size
Vancouver's population was estimated at 1.4 million when the NBA expanded here in 1995. Since then Vancouver and the GTA have grown to about 3.4 million people. Thats a 50% growth in 18 years, and we are expected to keep growing. British Columbia as a whole is estimated at 6 million people, making Vancouver the 2nd largest TV market in Canada. Being able to call itself "Western Canada's Team" you can include Alaska, Alberta, and even Saskatchewan. Making Vancouver a Top 10 TV market in North America.
D) Damage Control from Relocation: Marketing & NBA ambassador
When the NBA relocated back in 2001, theres no question about it, the NBA hurt the city of Vancouver. We need to do damage control. We also need to remember a key part of the Grizzlies failure to succeed; Marketing. Ownership groups are very rarely a one man operation. Although we need Francesco Aquilini to buy the NBA franchise, the sport needs an ambassador in BC; a face. Steve Nash already that guy for Basketball BC, lets use him as the face of the NBA. He is signed to the LA Lakers for 3 years, call it a countdown to an Ownership Role somewhere. He already owns a stake in the Whitecaps, and has expressed interest in joining a ownership group willing to bring the NBA back to Vancouver. Steve Nash is the perfect remedy for both problems Grizzlies problems (Marketing & Reputation). When Steve Nash gets on board (and he will if approached) the relocation hearbreak the casul fan feels will evaporate overnight and you'll be loving Steve Nash up like you always have. Imagine if he's brought in as General Manger? Hello ticket sales.
E) Golden Age of Canadian Basketball Talent
The days of Steve Nash struggling to get noticed are gone. We are about to witness the "Golden Age" of Canadian Basetball. British Columbia is producing some of that talent as well. Maybe you've heard of Kelly Olynyk, or Robert Sacre? Kamloops Native, NCAA West Coast Player of the Year, draft pick of the Boston Celtics in Kelly Olynyk and 2nd Round draft pick by the Lakers, product of North Vancouver, Robert Sacre. Toronto's own Andrew Wiggins of Kansas is the #1 Rated Draft Prospect by ESPN for the 2015 NBA Draft and has already been compared to Kevin Durant. Canada finally had a Canadian to go 1st overall in the NBA Draft with Anthony Bennett to the Clevland Cavaliers. With Steve Nash as General Manager, leading Team Canada into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio the buzz will only get bigger for NBA basketball and Canadian basketball so get on the bandwagon early. Fianlly, Vancouver can drop the longtime stigma that NBA players wont play here, of course they would our city is worldclass and the next round of stars are Canadian. Big shoutout to Metta World Peace by the way.
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