Bringing the NBA Back to Vancouver
By Akash Vig, Staff Writer
The NBA’s return to Vancouver appears to be a never-ending discussion. Everyone has a different view on the issue: some couldn’t care less; others despair that it may never happen; and some die-hard fans continue to push for a second chance.
NBA Commissioner David Stern has admitted with regret that the biggest blunder in his decorated career was giving up on the Grizzlies too soon. While many are still puzzled by how the situation went down, perhaps it was simply the wrong time to bring a professional basketball team to the West Coast. There was a lack of local ownership and many American players were reluctant to live in Canada. The Canadian dollar was also relatively weak at the time, making it difficult to continue with basketball operations.
The currency has since grown stronger, and big-name players south of the border have warmed to the prospect of playing in Canada. Fellow Canadians the Toronto Raptors have made history in signing DeMar DeRozan for another four years; let’s not forget that the Raptors also acquired one of the game’s biggest names in Rudy Gay via trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. There’s a growing willingness to play basketball anywhere, whether it be Toronto, Vancouver, or other smaller markets that lack the glitz and glamour of New York and Miami. With rumours now circulating about a deal that would bring the Sacramento Kings to Seattle next year, many fans are wondering whether another team in the Northwest has the potential to relocate here.
The possibility of the Supersonics’ restoring their legacy in basketball has fueled the debate about whether Vancouver deserves another shot at professional basketball. But, fans have to show immense and enduring interest in the team this time. Previously, as the Grizzlies continued to take a beating game by game, so did fans; attendance at games dwindled to one of the worst averages in the league. The NBA’s return to Vancouver is contingent upon a committed ownership group, loyal fans, and players who are willing to come here…it’s just that simple.