Report: NBA Commissioner favors team for Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Report: NBA Commissioner favors team for Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB Fox 41) -- The city of Louisville is on the radar of NBA Commissioner David Stern. 

Louisville attorney J. Bruce Miller met with Stern Thursday.  Miller says Stern is in favor of Louisville getting an NBA team.

Miller says he has a group of billionaire investors who are willing to put up the money for a team.  He believes it could happen as soon as the next basketball season.

If and when it does happen, the team would play at Freedom Hall.

During a news conference in Louisville on Friday, Miller talked at length about his meeting with Stern.

The NBA has confirmed their meeting, but would not comment otherwise.

Miller is optimistic a team could begin playing at Freedom Hall in October.

He said his half-hour meeting with Stern stretched into an hour and 45 minutes.

"When he (Stern) heard who the international investors were, he was surprised," Miller said.

"Everybody got yellow pads out, and all of a sudden we got serious."

Miller said he told Stern that he's lined up five investors from outside the U.S., whom he called "extremely wealthy." Wealthy into the billions.

"We have found the majority partners who are wealthy enough to write checks to do this, and they are enormously interested."

Miller wouldn't identify the investors by name nor home country.

He said they've signed non-compete agreements.

 

"If they do this, and they intend to do it, it will be done in Louisville, Kentucky, and no where else. It's binding, it's solid and it's sound."

 

Miller said his optimism -- and also the NBA's interest --- is piqued further with commitments from 28 minority investors from Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Cincinnati and Nashville.

Reports earlier this week said those people could put up a minimum of $500,000 apiece, to buy a team or land an expansion franchise.

Metro Council has paid Miller more than $90,000 since June to pursue a team.

One of Miller's supporters on council says the investor news is promising.

"I think it would be the best exposure Louisville could get worldwide of anything we've ever done.  I'm excited," said Dan Johnson, (D) Metro Council Dist. 21.

Miller said the foreign investors are especially interested in the money they can make from televising live game broadcasts to their home country.  They asked Miller for balance sheets and other financial statistics in December, just as any potential business owner would perform due diligence.

What's next? 

"Conversations will now begin between the NBA and these foreign investors with regard to the various things the league needs to know from them," Miller said.

Miller has known David Stern for more than 30 years.  He has been involved in at least three previous attempts to bring an NBA franchise to Louisville.

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