The Baker Orange

Sprint Center needs team

Story by Chris Duderstadt

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A lot of positive things have happened for the two professional Kansas City sports teams during the past few months.

The Chiefs won the AFC West and made the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and the Royals, though struggling of late, have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball so far this season. Although it is only April, the Royals are showing promise of how good they can be in the next few years, with many of the organization’s prized stars still in the minor leagues.

The Royals and Chiefs have potential to win championships in the next few seasons, but right now, it is early in the MLB season and the NFL preseason will not start until August.

The NBA and NHL playoffs are in full swing, but as a Kansas City sports fan, there isn’t a hometown team to support.

That needs to change.

The Sprint Center, located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., was built in 2007 with the purpose of being the home of an NBA and/or an NHL team.

Kansas City missed out on the chance to bring in the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder, to play in the Sprint Center in 2008. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook lead the Thunder, but it also features former University of Kansas stars Cole Aldrich and Nick Collison. The Thunder defeated the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

The team that Kansas City currently has the best chance of bringing in is the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets are the No. 7 seed in the western conference playoffs, but are giving the No. 2-seeded Los Angeles Lakers a run their money with the leadership of point guard Chris Paul. The Hornets have had difficulties drawing fans in New Orleans.

Kansas City has also missed out on opportunities to bring in the Pittsburgh Penguins from the NHL. The Penguins were in serious discussion about moving to Kansas City in 2007, because of the possibility of Pittsburgh not building a new arena, but Pittsburgh eventually built the CONSOL Energy Center and kept the team. The Penguins reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and won it all in 2009.

The Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators and Atlanta Thrashers are thinking about moving their franchises, and Kansas City is on the top of the list for each team.

The NBA and NHL playoffs have been full of excitement. It is time for Kansas City to get the chance to be a part of that.