Few cities have the good fortune to host two NBA teams at the same time. Boston, for instance, has one. In Detroit, there’s one. Even in the Iowa town of Waterloo, one. And there were two NBA clubs in San Diego.
The Houston Rockets are the name given to the inaugural team. The Rockets, the 12th NBA club, were purchased by Robert Brightbard for $1.75 million in 1967. Pat Riley was the first player selected in the history of the San Diego Padres draught. The team’s first season was a success, setting an NBA record. A season’s record of 67 defeats was set. It took three years for Alvin Hayes, who had become a legend in the league, to be selected as the first overall pick the following year. Breitbard sold the team in 1971 to a group of Texas investors for $5.6 million because of low attendance and bad play. The name (NASA) and the commander (Houston) were perfect for this franchise (Hayes played for the University of Houston).
Seven years have passed since the last time the city hosted a major basketball tournament. When the Buffalo Braves relocated to San Diego in 1978 and became known as the San Diego Clippers, it was the final chapter in their history (I once told a funny storey about how this happened on the Celtics blog ). The Clippers’ inaugural season was surprising in that they were “winning,” since there were more victories than defeats. Even Nevertheless, karma cursed the Clippers and kept them out of the playoffs despite their high win percentage. The Clippers stayed in San Diego for one more year than the Rockets, and in 1984 Donald Sterling transferred them to his native Los Angeles, bringing with him the curses that came with it.
What may be the reason for a person to relocate to San Diego?
San Diego is both a huge metropolis and a significant economic centre. The city is ranked as one of the top five best locations to live in the United States by Money magazine. The NFL’s Chargers and Major League Baseball’s Padres have had some success in the city, and the city has two former NBA clubs to show for it.
Investors in San Diego are willing to invest in an NBA club if Maloofs can’t get a deal with the Samuels but want to stay in California. For the San Diego area to be able to handle another basketball club, it would be best if Anaheim, Mexico Location, and San Jose were all combined in one city.
And in 1967, 1978, and twice in the ABA (which is original), the city demonstrated that it could support a legitimate professional basketball franchise. I even tracked out Eric Musselman, their new coach. Basketball was a family affair for him, since his father was an all-time great coach in San Diego and recently led the Sacramento Kings. Why not run for office?
What’s to stop you from making the move to sunny San Diego?
The NBA has a reputation for not giving communities a second opportunity. Please, a second and third set of figurines. If a team has already left your city twice, why risk it again? In the wake of two franchise moves, only one city has managed to avoid oblivion: Chicago. But that’s Chicago, not San Diego. If Californian PR people are to be believed, they will claim that at least all 30 teams will be able to feed themselves here, but even then, four teams is a bit much.
In the middle of the city, a black arena. If you’re looking for a parquet-and-two-ring arena, Valley View Casino Center is your best bet. The stadium will have to be constructed from scratch. Whether Anaheim likes it or not, it holds all the trump cards against its neighbour – with the possible exception of the city’s NBA history. San Diego has the advantage that (as stated in the preceding sentence) this is not a fact.