So, looking forward to the KFC Yum! Center becoming Louisville’s latest white elephant? Right on the heels of us investing in an architecturally-banal convention centre and tarting up our ‘international’ airport with last decades’ hipster craft-centric aesthetic. What a perfect storm of inept financial and infrastructural leadership.
I see what you’re throwing down there. I smell what you’re stepping in. A venue built specifically for basketball is going to gather a shitload of dust and make attorneys a whole lot of dosh if UofL decides to bugger off in a self-serving lather. (Although, on a personal note, it’d be a great way to end what has been an Annus horribilis, as dear old Brenda would say.)
Probably not going to happen in time to improve 2016, but I’d be fine if the Cards tried to welch on the deal. They won’t, and probably can’t, but the city should definitely call Jurich’s bluff: Fine, throw your toys out of the pram and go and build your own stadium on campus. Perfect way to improve the city’s negotiating position when he comes back with his forked tail between his legs. Then, we’d be on infinitely stronger ground to offer the Yum! to an NBA team. The result being that Jurich’s self-serving petulance could make the Cards joint-tenants, while destroying its entertainment monopoly in one fell swoop.
Just desserts after his childish fit of pique. The fly in the ointment is of course that Louisville’ll never get an NBA team. You have to actually want one, and nothing makes Louisville retreat faster into its provincial third-tier-city shell than the prospect of actually getting a professional team in a sport it supposedly loves. Therein lies the great paradox of Louisville — a politically-liberal city with an unyielding conservative attitude. Never going to get anywhere if it can’t even get behind the idea of replacing kids’ sports with grown-ups’ sports.
A strangely abusive ménage a trois. The city, the university and basketball, I mean. The city claims to love basketball… but so much as mention an opportunity to improve the product results in the university playing the victim and beating the possibility down to the point where Louisville ends up detesting the NBA even more than it did before. Consequently, the city falls ever further down the regional pecking order and becomes ever more in thrall to the university. Textbook emotional abuse.
People here would rather watch some kid who might warm his arse on an NBA bench for a couple of seasons than watch genuine global superstars. I’m not a basketball fan; in sporting terms, it’s about as riveting to endure as golf (albeit marginally faster). But it’s like an English football fan saying, ‘Nah, I’m not interested in my team playing in the Premier League.’ Complete twaddle. They might resent the big clubs, but there’s no point in following a sport if you’ve got no interest in seeing or competing with the best players in the world. Louisville just wants to be the best among the lamest. Right out of Kipling — the land of the blind, and all that.
Another of the reasons this city is so dead set against professional sports is based on its conceit that all NBA franchises want to do is blackmail cities in order to get more and sweeter tax and stadia deals. And yet that’s exactly what UofL does anyway. Only unlike professional sports franchises, which only engage in good-old-fashioned financial blackmail, UofL engages in a mixture of financial and emotional blackmail, which takes us straight back to that abusive relationship.
And in typical form, the abuser or blackmailer isn’t satisfied. The city leverages itself up to the eyeballs in order to meet its demands; gives the Cards the sweetest deal imaginable; allows the university to dictate terms on how a publicly funded facility is used… and then the abuser throws a tantrum. Extorting a fortune a year running a dubiously profitable sports program, and Jurich still screeches like a spoiled brat. Fine. Let him take his multi-million-dollar rattle and bugger off.
Of course, on current form our governor may end up being the one who saves Louisville from its humiliating boot-licking relationship with the university’s sports department. Bevin clearly hates Louisville, and he’s on a mission to punish it for being liberal, for voting against him and his Lord and Saviour.
There you go with that Bevin shtick again. Are you sure he reads LEO?
Pretty sure he reads every word written about him. Anyway, between Petrino and Pitino’s celebrated immorality and Bevin screwing around with the university’s accreditation, UofL sports could easily turn into Southern Methodist sports. Not that I particularly want that to happen, but it wouldn’t be without its own upside.
No more emotional blackmail and the potential of adult sports? I like it. Although I’d love to see Bevin try to fuck UK over like he’s trying to fuck UofL over. Most of his redneck constituency couldn’t give a monkey’s about the Cards, but the Cats are a different matter. Does make you wonder about how Louisville is going to fare over the next few years. Not well I, reckon.
Well, hopefully not so badly that rooting for the Cards feels like a sensible alternative.