Best Team To Not Exist: St. Louis Basketball


Maddie Meyer

With the St.Louis area turning out big NBA stars like Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal, there is a strong argument for a team for St. Louis to put its starpower.

St. Louis is on a list of cities with very few sports. It is on the short side compared to other cities with a population of only 308,000 people due to it being one of the highest-ranked cities in terms of crime and murder. On the low side in terms of sports, the city only supports two sports teams: the Cardinals for baseball and the Blues for hockey. Both teams have been relatively successful in The Lou; the Cardinals have won 19 National League titles and 11 World Series’; the second highest in the MLB. The Blues have made the playoffs 43 times in its 53 seasons appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals 4 times with 1 cup win in 2019. Along with a major league soccer team debuting in 2022 and an XFL football team sure to make a return  in 2022 also, will a possible NBA expansion target St. Louis as a potential?

Basketball in St. Louis has been gone for a while; the last NBA team to play here was the Hawks which relocated to Atlanta in 1973, leaving the city without a professional team. Another basketball league, the American Basketball Association, also had a team here called the Spirits of St. Louis, which went defunct after the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. So, this would not be the first time it had a team; but it has been 40 years since professional basketball occupied the city. Although there have been attempts to bring a team to St. Louis. The now Memphis Grizzlies, back when they were in Vancouver, looked to St.Louis as a possible relocation spot but that never got past negotiations.

A potential NBA team will not be an issue because supporters of this idea have many reasons why St. Louis could potentially be a good city for a basketball team. One is fanbase: St. Louis prides itself on having one of the most devoted fan bases in sports. Even when their reams do not make playoffs, they still prepare for next season to put their full support behind their beloved teams.

“There are thousands of basketball fans in Missouri, so they would not have to worry about not having a fanbase,” Justin O’Donnell (’24) said.

Another reason is that it would be economically viable. Bringing in a new team would potentially mean more money towards the city. With that revenue going back to the city there can be a bigger emphasis on preventing crime that is known to happen in the city. Investing money in a city leads to the future prosperity of that city and sports teams are a good example.

“A sports team will increase prosperity, and it would encourage a safer community because nobody wants to go to an unsafe place to watch a game,” Travis Wimberly (’22) said.

The argument could be made that St.Louis just is not big enough for an NBA team, though. Based on 2020 census data St. Louis ranks just 57 of 100 in terms of the population of major cities. So if the city is not big enough, how can a team be financially viable? Plus there is a list of other cities bigger than St. Louis that have still yet to get an NBA team:

Seattle: Originally home to the Seattle SuperSonics; was a big player in the NBA until they departed and became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. They have been at the top of every list of potential cities. With their hockey team debuting next year it can be said that a potential expansion would bring back a team to Seattle.

Las Vegas: It is a city known as the “playground of the world” only really being known for its clubs and casinos. In recent years its population has been growing steadily, though. The city recently acquired the former Oakland Raiders and has a successful NHL team: the Golden Knights. It has a growing sports market and if their teams continue to be successful it can be said that a basketball team would turn a profit.

Kansas City: The cross-state rivals of St. Louis in recent years have seen a boom in championship fervor with the Royals winning the World Series in 2016 and the Chiefs appearing in back-to-back Super Bowls winning their first since 1969 last year. With a successful soccer club, it is also a town that had an NBA team that deserves a second shot.

Even though the possible expansion of the NBA is up in the air, St. Louis is a prime candidate for a potential team. It has been years since professional basketball has grazed the gateway to the west and it has the market to lead a prosperous team. While it does face competition, St. Louis having the most dedicated fanbase in any sport it has, it deserves a second chance.