Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Storm

David Whitley: Hey, Raiders: Orlando could be your temporary home before Vegas

ORLANDO — They scoffed at Columbus when he set sail to find the New World. Nobody thought the Wright Brothers would get their idea off the ground.

Closer to home, people thought Jimmy Hewitt was cuckoo for thinking the NBA would ever come to podunk Orlando.

Since I couldn't get in touch with Columbus or either Wright brother, I threw out another laughable, preposterous, call-the-sanitarium idea to our local dreamer/visionary.

The Orlando Raiders.

"I love it!" Hewitt said.

Before you list the 12,398 reasons it could never happen, let me explain. I'm not talking about the NFL's vagabond franchise making Orlando its permanent home.

I'm just saying there's no way the Raiders are going to stay in Oakland until the stadium is built in their new Las Vegas home. That will be 2020, by which time the Hell's Angels won't even be showing up at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Oakland locals have turned on owner Mark Davis, and who could blame them? The NFL approved the Raiders' move last week, but the team wants to stick around three more years?

That's like telling your wife you're running off with a new flame, but will she let you hang around and bring you coffee until your new beach house is built?

The lease allows the Raiders to stay two more years, and Oakland officials are in no mood to okay a third year. Some want the team out right away.

There's talk the Raiders might temporarily go to San Antonio. But what (besides the Alamo and a real NBA team) does San Antonio have that we don't?


We have a stadium. We already host the Pro Bowl, so we know the NFL ropes. Davis wouldn't even have to get new monogrammed "OR" towels for the owner's suite.

Orlando's movers and shakers should pounce on this unique opportunity, just like Hewitt did 30 years ago when 76ers GM Pat Williams mentioned the NBA might be looking to expand, and would Miami, Tampa or Jacksonville be the best spot?

"I didn't say Jacksonville," Williams said last week at Hewitt's induction into the Hall of Fame of the team he helped found, the Orlando Magic.

Speaking of Jacksonville, how great would it be to have Derek Carr and the Raiders electrifying Camping World Stadium while the Jaguars go their annual 2-14?

As noted Raiders fan Robert Kennedy once said, "There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

The Raiders have to hang out somewhere before heading to Vegas.

Why not here?

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Updated one month ago