Kansas City hopes they can host the Toronto Raptors next season, and city officials have begun a full-out assault trying to land the team. The effort is getting a boost from one of the city’s biggest celebrities: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Canada has put strict limitations on travel to and from the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the recent increase of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is only complicating matters, The Hill reports. That leaves the Toronto Raptors in a precarious position. The NBA hasn’t said how it plans to address the 2020-21 season, but it seems likely the Raptors will need to find a temporary new home if they want to compete in it.
Kansas City wants to be that temporary home, Sports Illustrated said.
U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Jerry Morgan co-signed a letter with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II to NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The letter petitioned Silver to use the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City as the Raptors’ new home.
Kansas City hasn’t had an NBA team since the Kansas City Kings packed up and headed West to Sacramento in 1985. So, city and state officials hope that by landing the Raptors, they can show the league that they can support a team.
“We’re gonna make sure we’re ready,” Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas told Sports Illustrated. “Kansas City is an outstanding city, a major league city. And it’s one that I think could be a great host for the NBA, if it’s for a year, or if somebody is ever looking for generations.”
Patrick Mahomes Signal Boosts KC’s Efforts
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes likely brought more attention to the effort in a four-word tweet than a dozen letters from U.S. senators.
Mahomes tweeted “Bring them to KC!” on Tuesday, propelling the story to national attention.
For his part, Mayor Lucas replied “Working on it.”
Moreover, Lucas has been having fun with the impromptu campaign. In addition to his more serious efforts, he’s also trolled Toronto on Twitter.
There are several other U.S. cities that also hope to land the Raptors next season, including Buffalo, N.Y., and Newark, N.J., Sports Illustrated reported.
Toronto fans don’t seem too happy about the open efforts to relocate their team. And the Raptors’ say they hope to play in Toronto next season and are working on plans to accomplish that, TSN’s Raptors beat reporter for TSN Josh Lewenburg said.