UPDATE: This article was written by Michael Tomberlin from Alabama NewsCenter. Learn more at: http://alabamanewscenter.com
Alabama native and NBA legend Robert Horry announced the Houston Rockets will play the Memphis Grizzlies in Birmingham on Oct. 2.
The BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown will bring professional basketball to Birmingham for the first time in nearly a dozen years. The preseason contest will take place at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex at 7 p.m. Houston announced in August it would play in Birmingham this year but other details were not revealed until today.
Horry talked about how watching his first pro basketball game in Tuscaloosa while he was in high school in Andalusia inspired him. The Philadelphia 76ers played the Milwaukee Bucks and featured players like Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Charles Barkley at Coleman Coliseum.
“It inspired me to go out and work harder at basketball and do the things that I was able to do – to not just play in the NBA but to get a free education, to go on to the University of Alabama, get a degree and then go on to the next level,” Horry said. “I hope this game can not only just inspire someone to play basketball, but inspire someone to accomplish their dreams, to be something better in life, to go out and do something inspirational.”
BBVA Compass also announced plans for court refurbishment it is undertaking in celebration of the game and Birmingham’s communities at Legion Field. Robbie Robertson, president and CEO of Colonnade Group, announced that a portion of game proceeds will go to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Birmingham Athletic Partnership.
“This is more than a single evening game to everyone involved in making this possible,” said BBVA Compass Birmingham CEO Andrea Smith. “This is about creating opportunities for the city, its people and its communities in the days and months leading up to it. Birmingham will be in the spotlight, but not just that evening. The game will also be a platform to elevate the city in multiple ways.”
Tickets are now available for purchase starting at $15 each at www.IronCityShowdown.com.
The game featuring the Rockets couldn’t be more timely. The team is battling in the NBA playoffs and its star point guard James Harden is a favorite to win the MVP of the league this year.
You can watch the entire announcement and press conference below.