MOBILE, AL (WKRG) — News 5 has learned the City of Mobile is being considered as a possible new home to a professional basketball team with the NBA D-League.
Sources with the City of Mobile tell News 5 that NBA executives with the New Orleans Pelicans toured the city and the Mobile Civic Center this week. Mobile is reportedly on the “short list” of cities being considered as the new home for the official developmental team of the Pelicans.
Last month, Pelicans officials formally announced their intent to add a D-League team in a state near the city of New Orleans. According to various media reports, Gulfport and Jackson in Mississippi are also on the short list of cities being considered.
This wouldn’t be the first time a D-League team has called Mobile, Alabama its home. The Mobile Revelers played two seasons in the Mobile Civic Center when the D-League was first founded from 2001 to 2003. Although the Revelers were crowned D-League champions of the 2002-2003 season, the effort was largely considered a flop due to lack of fan interest.
Sources with the city tell News 5 they’re more hopeful with the second attempt in Mobile due to a direct affiliation with the Pelicans. The Revelers weren’t contracted to a specific NBA team.
In recent years, live sporting events in Mobile haven’t drawn considerable attendance figures. The University of South Alabama Jaguars and the Mobile Baybears have struggled to bring in crowds, and although events such as the Dollar General Bowl and Senior Bowl are popular, they only occur once a year.
The New Orleans Pelicans are one of a few teams in the NBA without an official development-league team. If selected, Mobile would become the new home for players to play “minor league” basketball with the hopes of being called up to the Pelicans of the NBA.