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MGM Resorts CEO Says He's Working On Bringing NBA To Las Vegas

Add the NBA to the list of big leagues being wooed to Las Vegas.

MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said on Wednesday he is working to bring an existing pro basketball franchise to Las Vegas, presumably to play in the T-Mobile Arena the company built on the Strip.

During a wide-ranging interview on KNPR’s State of Nevada, Murren riffed briefly on the future of pro sports in Las Vegas, saying, “Imagine the thought of having a professional hockey team, a professional football team, a professional soccer team, probably a professional basketball team — I’m working on that.”

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Murren would not detail his efforts beyond saying that if it successful it most likely would bring an existing franchise to Southern Nevada and not an expansion team.

The 30-team NBA would join the alphabet soup of big leagues that are on their way to or considering Las Vegas: An NHL team starts play next year at T-Mobile; the Legislature just passed a room tax increase to fund construction of a domed stadium intended to lure the the NFL’s Raiders; and Major League Soccer executive and former star player David Beckham vowed to bring MLS to Las Vegas should the dome be built.

Murren said he envisions hosting more NBA exhibition and summer league games in Las Vegas before a franchise permanently relocates, something he said was unimaginable when he moved from New York 18 years ago.

He also said he is optimistic that the Raiders can muster the three-quarters support among NFL team owners to allow the franchise to move from Oakland.

Portions of this interview will air Thursday, Oct. 27, at 8:50 a.m. on KNPR's State of Nevada; the full interview will air Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 9:00 a.m. on KNPR's State of Nevada.

Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)
With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.