Know any billionaires? Movement to bring NBA basketball back to Vancouver asks for help

A local group is asking for 15 people to give $200 million each

Credit: Memphis Grizzlies on Twitter

A local group is asking for 15 people to give $200 million each

The prospect of bringing NBA back to Vancouver since the Grizzlies tragically left the city over 20 years ago has long been a sad one.

That road is littered with false hope, even as many in the city wholeheartedly believe that there is a now a fanbase in town ready to support another team. It’s a bit hard to dispute that, as any type of Grizzlies event—whether it’s a merch sale or documentary screenings—seems to bring out hordes of people desperate for the teal nostalgia of the past and hopeful that the NBA might once again tip off in town.

The actual hard facts of the situation aren’t quite as optimistic. There have been many hints that the NBA is looking to expand, possibly in 2024, but the next two cities on the docket seem to be Seattle—which also lost a team in the SuperSonics—and the now burgeoning professional sports market that is Las Vegas.

And while Vancouver gets mentioned in most blog posts titled “____ Locations the NBA Could Expand To Soon,” it’s crammed in there with the likes of Kansas City, Mexico City, Pittsburgh and a whole host of others. 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver called a reported expansion fee price tag of $2.5 billion “very low” two years ago. Who knows where it’s at now? Michael Jordan just agreed to sell his majority stake in the sad sack Charlotte Hornets for $3 billion, so you’d have to think that’s a starting point.

The Aquilini family has long been talked about as the most obvious purchaser of an NBA team, given that the family owns Rogers Arena which has all the infrastructure to host a club. But years ago, Francesco Aquilini called a potential $2 billion price tag “prohibitive.” Again, that price has only gone up.

So, on some level, it makes sense that a local group is trying to court investment from billionaires interested in owning an NBA franchise in Vancouver.

Launched this week by sports apparel brand Vancity Original and PR agency Zulu Alpha Kilo (with their tongues planted at least somewhat in cheek), the initiative featured a packed event at Vancity’s Hornby Street store. The partners are offering an exclusive VANBACK jersey to anyone who can pledge $200 million toward a future team. The target here is $3 billion through 15 purchasers.

“We’re hoping this initiative will help get Vancouver back on the radar as the perfect city for a future team,” said Vancity Original founder Jeff Martin in a release. “We’ve got the fans. We just need some billionaires to help us out.”  

If you do know some billionaires that are willing to throw down, please also consider asking them to put their money toward the following things:

  • The housing crisis
  • My personal mortgage
  • Hiring Mike Bibby to pass me things randomly

Thank you very much.