Yesterday, the New Orleans Pelicans and the NBA G League announced that the Pelicans have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA G League team that will play in Birmingham at Legacy Arena for the 2022-2023 season.
Over the next couple of years, the Pelicans G League team will be located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The name and identity of Birmingham’s team will be determined once the Pelicans organization engages with the community and sees what name/mascot best represents the city.
“This is a tremendous day for the Pelicans organization,” said Pelicans owner Gayle Benson. “I’d like to thank the City of Birmingham, Mayor Woodfin and Tad Snider of the BJCC for being such fantastic partners in the endeavor. These are exciting times for this region, and we feel so fortunate to be a part of it.”
Pelicans President Dennis Lauscha stressed the role Birmingham will play in the expansion of the NBA franchise’s footprint.
“We are a little market in New Orleans, that is about the same size that is in Birmingham, Turner stated. “We always hear about the big markets. One way we are able to compete against the big markets is to have a big footprint – and that footprints extends all the way to Birmingham.”
Giving back to the community
The New Orleans Pelicans, which is owed by the Benson family (they also on the Saints), are known for their local philanthropy in the Crescent City. Birmingham’s Mayor Randall Woodfin expects that same commitment to occur in the Magic City.
“This organization (Pelicans) really knows what it means to invest in their community and the younger generation,” said Woodfin. “They are not coming here to simply play a game. They are coming here to be an active member of our community. That’s pretty cool. We stand with you.”
The BJCC loves basketball
The first season in Birmingham will occur in 2022 after renovations to the BJCC and Legacy Arena are completed.
“If this building knows one thing, it knows basketball,” declared Tad Snider, CEO of Legacy Arena and BJCC.
“When you think back beginning in 1976, we were the home of the UAB Blazers under Gene Bartow, we hosted the Men’s SEC tournament for 5 years, numerous regional NCAA tournaments and the state high school championships. This building loves basketball.”
Future NBA stars
The NBA G League is a proven developer of talent. A record 40 percent of NBA players to start the 2018-19 season had NBA G League experience, while 33 players selected in the 2017 NBA Draft played in the NBA G League last season. Fans can learn more about the Birmingham G League franchise by visiting www.birminghamhoops.com
4 New Pro teams
One final note. The new NBA G League team is the 4th sports franchise to locate in Birmingham over the past two years. Birmingham now has pro teams in soccer (Birmingham Legion), hockey (Birmingham Bulls), football (Birmingham Iron) and basketball.