Kansas City Rumors
Two weeks ago, The Athletic reported the possibility of the Raptors moving to Newark’s Prudential Center because of Canada’s strict quarantine rules stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Other possible landing spots include sharing Barclays Center with the Nets, or playing in Kansas City, Mo., Seattle or the Tampa Bay area. Oakland native Kamala Harris now is the Vice President-elect after NBC News and multiple other outlets called the election for Joe Biden on Saturday morning, as he surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the presidency.
Bill Self knows having an NBA team in Kansas City might not be the best thing for nearby college programs — at least from a ticket-sales perspective. And yet, the KU basketball coach seems fully on board with the idea of the Toronto Raptors potentially putting down temporary roots in Kansas City, if indeed they needed to relocate.
Last week, Self, entering his 18th year as KU’s coach, was asked what he thought of that initiative. “I would say this place is obviously a hotbed for basketball,” Self responded. “This place obviously loves their ball. And you go back historically to all the NCAA tournaments and the NCAA being here that was held in Municipal Auditorium and those sorts of things. I think that would be a big sell because we’ve shown that we love ball historically.”
And Self also believes a successful run as a temporary home could put Kansas City on the shortlist to get an NBA team. “I saw firsthand, and we all did, what happened with the Hornets,” Self said. “When Katrina hit New Orleans and they relocated to Oklahoma City, you saw how that market rallied around that team to make them basically an automatic to get a franchise if anything else was going to transpire. And then of course the Sonics moved there. I can see [KC] doing the same thing. I think people would rally around it.”
The letter says in part, “although Kansas City is a great sports city, it is also a city where law enforcement has demonstrated extreme hostility and excessive force towards Black people.” It also says racial profiling by police is a routine occurrence in Kansas City, and that city leadership has failed to take meaningful action with regard to “the police department and the police chief’s disregard for the humanity of Black people.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas also sent KMBC 9 a statement, saying, “I commend our civil rights organizations for reminding our city and those beyond that preservation of Black lives should be a most pressing concern for our community and our partners. Unfortunately, like Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia and most NBA cities, we have much work to do in ensuring all our Black neighbors feel safe in all interactions with law enforcement. Regardless of our future with the NBA, we remain committed to that essential work.“