Reasons To Be Excited About Training Camp: No. 12 New Practice Facility
No. 12: New Practice Facility
In mid-August, an NBA executive who’s visited numerous practice facilities around the league received a tour of the Pelicans’ new 50,000-square-foot building in Metairie.
“Wow. This is impressive,” assessed the official, who immediately labeled it one of the finest in professional basketball.
When the NBA returned to New Orleans in 2002, the agreement included a stipulation that a practice facility would be built for the franchise at a future location in the Crescent City. A decade later, it still had not been constructed. Upon officially purchasing the ballclub in the summer of 2012, it took new Pelicans owner Tom Benson less than a year to get accomplished what hadn’t been done in 10.
The Pelicans have now gone from trekking across the Mississippi River to the Alario Center in previous seasons, to reporting to work at the NBA’s second-biggest practice facility (only Cleveland’s is larger, based on square footage). They’ll also enjoy the most unique partnership in North American professional sports, sharing the same campus and cafeteria as the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
The new facility should be an invaluable time-saver during the season for players and coaches, allowing them to much more easily come in after hours and get shots up or prepare for the next opponent. Another bonus that’s no small consideration in the travel-heavy NBA: the facility’s 5800 Airline Drive address is less than four miles from Louis Armstrong International Airport.