LeBron James wants NBA team in Las Vegas

LeBron James wants to own an NBA team in Las Vegas one day.

LAS VEGAS – LeBron James doesn’t just believe Las Vegas will get an NBA team but he wants to own the team whenever that day comes.

“I would love to bring a team here at some point. That would be amazing,” James said following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 119-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday. “I know (NBA commissioner) Adam (Silver) is in Abu Dhabi right now… but he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players. So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”

This isn’t the first time James has expressed a desire to own an NBA team in Las Vegas. Four months ago, on an episode of The Shop: Uninterrupted on HBO, James was talking about his desire to own an NBA team and said, “I want a team in Vegas. I want the team in Vegas.”

The Lakers returned to Las Vegas this week to play two preseason games for the first time since 2018. The city has long been the Lakers’ home away from home. Every Lakers game is broadcasted on television and radio in Las Vegas and the team routinely held a party for corporate partners and season ticket members in Las Vegas around a preseason game before the pandemic.

When Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was asked about Las Vegas getting an NBA team one day last year, she said, “Las Vegas has always been the second home for the Los Angeles Lakers. Las Vegas deserves an NBA team of their own but that would tear a little piece of my heart because I think of this as the Lakers’ home. Las Vegas is as close to home as we get.”

Many believe Las Vegas and Seattle are the most likely cities to be awarded an NBA team if the league expands to 32 teams. In such a scenario, Las Vegas and Seattle would be in the Western Conference and a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves would move to the Eastern Conference.

Before Wednesday’s preseason game, Lakers coach Darvin Ham echoed James’ sentiments of Las Vegas being a perfect city to be the home of an NBA team in the future.  

“It’s rapidly becoming an NBA market when you look at Summer League and that whole layout and the way it’s done now,” said Ham. “I remember a day when you barely knew the NBA was in the city during Summer League. Now it’s a huge extravaganza. It’s a whole rollout, a whole layout of excitement and entertainment built around those (two weeks) that the guys are here. I think Las Vegas is a hotbed for entertainment, obviously, and having the Raiders here now and the Aces… Down the road, I don’t want to speak for the NBA or the commissioner, but I think at some point you’ll see a permanent NBA team here calling Las Vegas home.”

James’ interest in the sports scene in Las Vegas goes beyond wanting to own the city’s first NBA team. He would also like the city host the WNBA All-Star Game around the annual NBA Summer League. Las Vegas is already the home of Team USA basketball training camp.

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