The NBA is coming our way. Sort of. The league has just announced that the Los Angeles Clippers and the Seattle Supersonics will open the 2003-04 regular season with two games at Saitama Super Arena in the northern Tokyo suburb. They don't call this place the Super Arena for nothing. With a retractable roof that opens and closes depending on the configuration of the day, this chameleon of a facility can be a 20,000-seat basketball and hockey arena, a 36,000-seat soccer stadium and a cozy 5,000-seat concert bowl. 'The Japanese wanted a facility with the functional diversity and flexibility of the Swiss Army Knife,' wrote Architectural Record magazine. 'This certainly fits the bill.' The facility is even home to the John Lennon museum, housing Beatle artifacts donated by his widow Yoko Ono. In fact, there are only three things this Japanese Super Arena does not have: location, location, location. It sits in a nondescript neighbourhood, a little more than one hour by train from downtown Tokyo. Other than a visit to the Super Arena, your trip to Saitama is brief and unmemorable. But imagine a dynamic facility like this in a dynamic locale. A masterpiece of this magnitude needs a fitting frame. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could somehow transport this stunning edifice to the shores of Hong Kong harbour? A few weeks back we ran an extensive interview with Timothy Fok, the government's sports supremo. Among the many issues Fok touched upon was the need to attract world-class athletes and entertainers to Hong Kong in order to help promote the battered image of the region. One of the ways of doing this is to build a multi-purpose facility, preferably somewhere along the harbour like the old Kai Tak airstrip. Fok expressed enthusiasm at the idea and said that he was interested in drafting a task force to look into it. He also went on to add that the $1 billion in government aid earmarked to promote Hong Kong globally would be better spent on attracting impact events and personalities. 'We don't need more tired old slogans, we don't need to see politicians cutting ribbons,' he said. 'The world wants to see stars.' The response was overwhelming and virtually all of it positive. Still, two weeks later nothing has happened. Okay, two weeks is only 14 days and I have spoken to Fok's people who promise that we will set up a meeting to discuss ways in which to pursue it. But yet, during that time the financial secretary announced that the government has hired the same advertising firm responsible for building a campaign around the slogan, 'Hong Kong: Asia's world city.' And a memorable slogan that was, rife with impact. Ask any of your friends living overseas about it and I am sure the first thing they will say is, wow, aren't you lucky, you live in Asia's world city. Sure. You know what's happening here, don't you? The seeds of recovery are being planted and a large part of that $1 billion earmarked for promoting Hong Kong is going into more tired old slogans. Apparently, talk is not cheap. I could compare other metropolises around the region with Asia's world city, but let's focus on Tokyo. They just finished hosting soccer's World Cup and have no less than four world-class sporting facilities in their urban boundaries. It is the one must-stop in Asia for any major international entertainment or sporting figure while the big concert on Hong Kong's calendar next month is Andy Williams. It doesn't have to be that way, but without a world-class facility it will be that way. According to NBA commissioner David Stern, his league would be more than happy to play a few games in Hong Kong. 'If the pricing of the tickets in Hong Kong could approach Tokyo levels and there was a proper facility to play in, we would be very interested in doing games there,' said Stern. 'We would need a stadium that can accommodate anywhere from 17,000 to 20,000 spectators. 'Hong Kong has so much to offer, it's geographically well situated and easy to do business in. You have good air connections to most Asian destinations and it is likely to be important as we have long contemplated the potential of China for the NBA.' Saitama Super Arena recently won the top design award from Business Week and Architectural Record magazines. 'This is a remarkable piece of design,' wrote the awards jury. 'The ability to transform the stadium to conform to multiple types of venues helps support drawing visitors to this particular building, to this city.' Ah yes, drawing visitors to the city. The balm for helping to heal Hong Kong. It won't be easy and if we serve up some hackneyed slogans it will be almost impossible because impact comes from action. You can do all the talking about this place that you want but in the end all you're selling is talk. We have to keep this issue on the front burner. Timothy Fok has to keep this issue on the front burner. Otherwise, I can save the government millions of advertising dollars by writing our next slogan for free. Hong Kong: City of Talk.