After recent reports suggested the NBA plans to begin its next season on Dec. 22, coupled with COVID-19-related travel restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border, the Raptors suddenly find themselves peeking over the fence to see what American city they may be forced to call home.
Why has Kansas City jumped into the equation?
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was one of the first to jump on social media to make a pitch for the Raps to play in the city, and was joined by teammate (and Canadian) Laurent Duvernay-Tardif as well as K.C. mayor Quinton Lucas.
Kansas City’s T-Mobile Arena is no stranger to hoops, having hosted NBA pre-season games and NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships.
But the City of Fountains doesn’t appear to be the only U.S. city in the running.
The New York area, Louisville, Ky., and Hartford, Conn., have also been mentioned as possible landing spots for the Raptors, even though the team has said it is focusing on playing in Toronto.
But should the border issue continue into December and beyond, the Raptors won’t be able to play their home games at Scotiabank Arena or anywhere else in Canada.
The Toronto Blue Jays were forced into the same situation during this year’s Major League Baseball season and ended up playing their home games at their AAA affiliate in Buffalo.
Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps have been stationed in East Hartford, Conn., Harrison, N.J., and Portland, Ore., respectively, since resuming play after the MLS Is Back Tournament at Disney World in Florida.
Where the Raptors play is anyone’s guess at this point, and Missouri seems a little too far out of the way for an Eastern Conference team like Toronto, but it would be fun to see Drake and Mahomes sitting courtside and cheering on the 2019 champs.
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.