Sold out crowd for first NBA pre-season game at the KFC Yum! Cen - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sold out crowd for first NBA pre-season game at the KFC Yum! Center

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - A sold out crowd filled the KFC Yum! Center Saturday night for the first NBA game ever to be played at the arena. The Miami Heat took on the New Orleans Pelicans for the pre-season game. 

"We came out, stood in line to get tickets, and we just couldn't wait for the game to start," said Stephanie Abernathy.  

"Pro basketball doesn't come to Kentucky, we don't have a team, so it's just kind of cool that's here and we get to see it in our home state," Allison Dye said. 

Stars like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh played against local favorites like former U of L player Russ Smith and former UK players Anthony Davis and Darius Miller. The game brought thousands of fans to downtown Louisville. 

KFC Yum! Center officials say this game was in the works for a year and the negotiations paid off. 

"They cannot believe the arena, they cannot believe city, they can't believe the excitement and it's encouraging. You talk to some of the New Orleans players, for an exhibition game, it's pretty amazing to sell over 19,000 tickets in a city that does not have pro basketball," AEG Director of Premium Services Robbie Valentine said. 

There is a push though for a pro basketball team in Louisville. A grassroots effort called "Bring the NBA to Louisville," has more than 11,000 likes on Facebook. Fans on Saturday agree it's possible. 

"They need a professional team here somehow. I don't know if it's NFL, NBA, something, because it's just a college town," Duane Ellis said. 

"I think Louisville could support an NBA team if it ever came here," Nicholas Ross told WDRB News. 

With an NBA team in town or not, we're told fans can expect more NBA action in the future. 

"There's already talk of next year, the Miami Heat returning. Our General Manager is talking to them and there will be an NBA game at the KFC Yum! Center next year so be prepared for that," Valentine said. 

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