- December 11, 2008
PITTSBURGH -- The season is over before it even began for one Pittsburgh sports team.
Friday was supposed to be opening night for the Pittsburgh Xplosion, the city's CBA basketball team.
Instead, the 3-year-old franchise may be done for good.
The team has laid off its employees and canceled the season.
The league, now comprised of just four teams, has also canceled an all-star game that was scheduled to be held in Pittsburgh in February.
Hopes of a professional basketball team in the city were high when the Xplosion was created.
Local politicians and former basketball stars Freddie Lewis and Armon Gilliam backed the team.
"This is the greatest sports town in America. There's no doubt that we can have seven to 15,000 people at a game in this town," said team owner Richard Hersperger in February 2006.
That dream never happened as attendance during last season sometimes dropped below 100 fans per game.
The team's Web site still has Friday's season opener at Mellon Arena on the schedule, but the only thing that will be happening at the venue is a doo-wop concert.
Mellon Arena general manager Jay Roberts said he hasn't heard from the team since last season.
"I did make some phone calls and try to find out what was happening and unfortunately I didn't have any luck," said Roberts.
Calls made to Hersperger by Team 4's Jim Parsons were also unreturned.
Hersperger's companies have had financial problems, including an unpaid fine of almost $1 million to the State Public Utility Commission.
Loyal fan K.C. McElroy is hopeful the team will be back.
"I think the fans deserve that, the players deserve that and I would hope that's true. All they need is a new owner and they could come back strong and fresh," said McElroy.