Earl Watson Wants NBA Team in Kansas City
Then again, point guards are facilitators. And the Utah Jazz reserve sure would like to facilitate an NBA team coming to his home area.
Watson, a native of Kansas City, Kan., is one of just two active NBA players from the Kansas City area. The other is Indiana's Brandon Rush, from Kansas City, Mo.
With the New Orleans Hornets being bought by the NBA and the possibility they could move, Kansas City has been mentioned as a possibility. Watson believes the city, which lost the Kings to Sacramento in 1985, is deserving of another NBA franchise.
"I think Kansas City is a great NBA city,'' Watson said before Wednesday's game against Miami. "It's a city that loves sports. We have already two major franchises ... with the Royals and the Chiefs and (had a third with) the Kings back in the day. Basketball in Kansas, alums from (Kansas University) and (Kansas State), they all kind of centralize in Kansas City. It's a great city financially for many reasons and also for the new arena they just put up.''
The Sprint Center was built in 2007. It's considered an NBA-ready venue, which certainly helps when it comes to luring a team. New Orleans already had built New Orleans Arena before the Hornets arrived in 2002 and Oklahoma City had the Ford Center waiting for when the Hornets left Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans to play there from 2005-07 and when the Seattle SuperSonics moved there in 2008.
"You'd hate to see a team leave (another) city but Kansas City, we lost the Kings,'' said Watson, who means no ill will to New Orleans and would just as soon see Kansas City land an expansion outfit. "I was hurt. I was a kid.''
Watson was just 6 when the Kings bolted town. But he remembers it well.
"There were a couple of situations that hurt me as a kid with basketball, when the Kings left and when Larry Brown left KU after they won the championship (in 1988),'' said Watson, who played for Washington High in Kansas City, Kan., before going to UCLA "It was tough. I remember the last game I went to, when they had Magic (Johnson), when (the Kings) played the Lakers. I fell asleep at the game. I was so young. But just being there was big enough for me it and really ignited my dream to play in the NBA. You hate for a team to leave a city. But hopefully Kansas City can get a team sooner or later.''
If no progress is made on finding owners to keep the franchise in New Orleans, sooner certainly appears to be a possibility.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson