Professional basketball is coming to Lexington.
Former Kentucky standout guard Kyle Macy was introduced Friday as coach of the Bluegrass Stallions, who will begin play in the American Basketball Association in November.
Tony Chase, Stallions owner and general manager, made the announcement.
"The ABA has revitalized itself and has been in action for the past eight years," said Chase, a Lexington resident since coming to UK as a freshman in the NCAA-title 1977-78 school year. "To have the opportunity to bring an ABA team is very, very exciting."
Never miss a local story.
The Kentucky Bisons, from Owensboro, feature four players out of Western Kentucky, two from Kentucky State and one from UK (Brandon Stockton), Bellarmine, Georgetown, Kentucky Wesleyan and three out-of-state schools.
Macy, who also is the team's vice president of basketball operations, expects to build his team with local talent. Each team's salary cap for players is $120,000.
"We're fortunate here in the Bluegrass to have a lot of great college basketball players," Macy said. "Not just the University of Kentucky, but Georgetown College, Eastern Kentucky and any of the other schools throughout the state that we will be trying to get involved."
Macy, who last coached at Morehead State, has been off the bench for three years. He will continue his summer role as a tennis instructor as well as his UK basketball radio commentary.
Although a portable home floor has been ordered, where that floor will be put down remains a mystery. Chase said negotiations are continuing with four possible Lexington sites, which he declined to identify.
He is among four investors in the team. He declined to name the others.
A pharmacist, Chase hasn't practiced "in a long time." He has business interests in several states, most tied to the health-care field.
"So this is a departure for me. But nonetheless, I think it's a passion," he said. "It's something that I feel like is long overdue for Lexington."
The ABA plays a 30-game schedule (15 home, 15 away) from mid-November through mid-March, plus playoffs.
Chase views a tough economy as an opportunity.
"A lot of people aren't going to be taking vacations this year because the economy is rough," he said. "For less than $500, a family of four can buy season tickets and have 15 outings."
Season tickets cost $150, but a buy-three-get-one-free perk puts the four-person cost at $450. General admission single-game tickets cost $12.
"We believe that we will very easily have between five- and seven-thousand people a game, much like the (arena football Kentucky) Horsemen have had," Chase said.
The ABA, based in Indianapolis, has several rule differences from the NBA, although both have a 24-second clock.
Also, home teams will be permitted an extra "player" on the roster, uniform No. 13. That player could be a celebrity, taking a seat of honor, who would be eligible to play.
"We're hoping to have a pink No. 13 and have Ashley Judd wear that," Chase said. "I don't know if he'll put her in a game or not."
Macy jumped in to quip: "She'll start!"