One Mississippi city is pursuing the chance to play host to the New Orleans Pelicans’ D-League team, but there is no Coast town in the hunt.
The Pelicans announced Tuesday that they have received six responses to the team’s Request for Proposals among the 11 towns initially considered as potential locations for the new NBA D-League team. The six proposals are from Baton Rouge, Jackson, Mobile, Pensacola, Shreveport and St. Tammany Parish.
Gulfport was on the original list of potential sites for the new team, but it would have been difficult to meet the demands of a new NBA D-League team considering the city does not have a large arena that features the amenities usually required for a professional basketball team.
Gulfport High School expressed some interest in hosting the team in its 2,200-seat Bert Jenkins Gymnasium, but the only arena on the Coast that has previously hosted professional basketball is the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.
The Continental Basketball Association’s Mississippi Jets played at the Coast Coliseum from 1986-88. In 1992-93, the coliseum played host to the Mississippi Coast Sharks of the Global Basketball Association.
“We are excited to the see the excitement which this process has generated among the six locations,” Pelicans owner Tom Benson said in a press release. “All of them have stepped forward with legitimate and sincere interest and are going to make a case via their proposals for why they would like to be the home of our NBA G League team in 2018-2019. The process is underway and we know that this will be a very significant addition for a city/parish near us as it will add global exposure and bring professional basketball to their town.”
The league, which will soon be known as the NBA Gatorade League (NBA G League), features 22 teams that are direct affiliates to NBA teams.