Once Louisville was floated as an option, Sutton immedi…

Once Louisville was floated as an option, Sutton immediately started reaching out to specific people in the league. He learned most people were surprised Louisville was mentioned. Sutton encouraged Lucas to use any tactic and fact necessary to get the NBA’s attention. During his college career at Missouri, Sutton played inside T-Mobile Center, an NBA-ready arena that has more than 18,000 seats. The arena is also without a regular pro sports tenant. “The T-Mobile Center would be an excellent place for a team to land in the future,” said Kathy Nelson, the president of the city’s sports commission. “The arena was built to house both an NBA and NHL team. The venue is exceptional and, of course, our downtown community would be perfect to host a team.”

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Lucas, thinking about the T-Mobile Center and fan support and even the Chiefs’ recent ascent, was all in. First, he sent out a tweet, sparking excitement. Then, days later, Lucas’ phone started to buzz once more. This time, folks were leading Lucas to a tweet that had been sent out by Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The reigning Super Bowl MVP similarly was vying for the Raptors to call Kansas City their temporary home. “It got some traction,” Lucas said. “It’s Patrick Mahomes.” Lucas grew enthralled with the idea, asking himself this question: “What do we have to do to make sure our ducks are in a row?” He called officials at the Kansas City Sports Commission. He called Missouri and Kansas delegations, both Republicans and Democrats, and gauged their responses — and it was all positive.
Tuesday, conversations continued and grew into a written letter signed by U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran as well as U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II. Not only did they send the letter to Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, but also it was directed toward Raptors ownership in hopes their effort, interest and potential were clear. “Here’s the thing: You don’t miss out on opportunities like this,” Lucas said. “You jump when you can.”
Behind Lucas’ efforts, it seemed, was the entire city’s population, as fans gushed about the possibility on social media platforms and local sports radio talk shows. Several members of the Chiefs, using their Twitter accounts, expressed enthusiasm for the idea of the Raptors being the city’s newest sports ambassadors. Chiefs veteran guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a Canadian who grew up in Montreal, voiced his support of the Raptors relocating for the upcoming season to Kansas City, a place he says “feels like home.”
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January 19, 2021 | 9:05 pm EST Update