As the NBA lockout nears the two week mark, players, managers and owners are no longer in talks about their franchises. For over thirty years, Louisville attorney J. Bruce Miller has been in talks to bring an NBA franchise to the city. But his latest attempt will most likely be his last.
Bruce Miller’s law office is a hybrid of two of his fascinations: Greek culture and professional basketball. Behind his desk sits a model of the Parthenon. Strewn around his office he has basketball jerseys and other basketball paraphernalia. Miller has white hair and speaks with a slight southern twang. When I spoke to him, he was wearing an NBA lapel pin on his suit.
Bruce Miller’s obsession with professional basketball started when there were two pro basketball leagues—the ABA and the NBA—and Kentucky still had a professional basketball team: the Kentucky Colonels.
A year after the Colonels overcame the Indiana Pacers in the 1975 ABA Championship, the NBA absorbed the league. Miller was in talks to preserve the Colonels with the NBA’s outside counsel, David Stern, who is now NBA commissioner.
At the end of the talks, the NBA took 4 ABA teams. The Colonels were left behind.
Since then, Miller has put an enormous amount of effort and capital into bringing a team back.