We The North becomes We The Midwest: Are we going to borrow the Toronto Raptors?
2018-2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors may be searching for a temporary location to play when the 2020 season begins sometime in the winter. The North’s borders are not open due to the pandemic, making it tough for a Canadian team to participate.
Cities around the country have thrown its name into the mix. Louisville, Ky. picked up some steam in the past couple of days, but that was quickly shot down by Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Tim Sullivan. It was later revealed that discussions of playing at the KFC Yum! Center were halted when Raptors players voiced their concerns about playing in the city where Breonna Taylor was murdered by police.
Buffalo, where MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays had success playing in during this year and Newark have all also popped up as possible destinations. There’s really only one option and right in the middle of the country.
Members of Missouri and Kansas’ delegation have officially invited the Toronto Raptors to play in Kansas City, Mo. for the season. Mayor Quinton Lucas, U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II, and U.S. Senators Roy Blunt, Pat Roberts, and Jerry Moran all signed a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, encouraging the team that has Drake as its global ambassador to play at the T-Mobile Center if they need a new home.
“Kansas City sports fans are unmatched, already providing an avid fanbase for the Chiefs, the Royals, Sporting—and would be eager to extend that support to the Raptors,” the members wrote in a statement. “Our T-Mobile Center, a first-class arena located in the heart of downtown, would make a great home for the Raptors as they look to match last season’s impressive winning record.”
“Kansas City is well-suited to host the Toronto Raptors for the 2020-2021 NBA season and our dynamic fans would be thrilled to adopt the team as our own,” they said. “On behalf of our bi-state region, we thank you for your consideration of Kansas City as you move forward in the selection process.”
The full letter is below:
Dear Commissioner Silver:
In the event the Toronto Raptors seek a temporary home for the 2020-2021 National Basketball Association (NBA) season, please note our strong support for Kansas City to serve as the team’s host city.
Kansas City is a great sports city. Not only does Kansas City boast the 2019 World Champion Kansas City Chiefs, the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Champions Sporting Kansas City, and the 2015 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals, but Kansas City is also preparing to host the 2023 National Football League (NFL) Draft and enjoys regularly hosting the best collegiate athletes from across the country for tournaments and championship games in a variety of sports.
Kansas City sports fans are unmatched, already providing an avid fanbase for the Chiefs, the Royals, and Sporting—and would be eager to extend that support to the Raptors. Our T-Mobile Center, a first-class arena located in the heart of downtown, would make a great home for the Raptors as they look to match last season’s impressive winning record.
In addition, Kansas City has plenty to offer with our wonderful food, attractions, and entertainment for basketball fans of all ages. Kansas City has the fifth fastest-growing downtown population in the nation, according to the Brookings Institute, and offers convenient air and ground travel across the continental United States and beyond. The Kansas City metropolitan area is primarily served by the Kansas City International Airport, which is currently undergoing a $1.5 billion state-of-the-art terminal renovation to meet the needs of our growing economy and booming tourism industry. The fare-free Kansas City Streetcar runs through Kansas City’s downtown and has stops just a minutes’ walk from the T-Mobile Center and many of the city’s premier dining and entertainment venues. Kansas City also proudly provides fare-free public bus transportation across the city, with several stops near the T-Mobile Center.
Again, Kansas City is well-suited to host the Toronto Raptors for the 2020-2021 NBA season and our dynamic fans would be thrilled to adopt the team as our own. On behalf of our bi-state region, we thank you for your consideration of Kansas City as you move forward in the selection process and stand ready to answer any questions you may have.