This week a startling announcement came out of the NBA, documenting that Shaquille O’Neal has bought into the Sacramento Kings. O’Neal, hall of fame center for the Magic and Lakers and Heat, racking up championship rings, sound bytes, and monster dunks along the way, became a minority owner, injecting instant credibility and cool points into the most beleaguered franchise in the league. The pairing of an ex-King nemesis and the Sacramento “Queens,” as he often called them, is so ironic it’s perfect. His name added to the marquee, even as an owner, will add stability to the franchise similar to Magic Johnson’s involvement with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As the Kings look to build a new arena under new ownership to Vivek Ranadive and 24 Hour Fitness mogul Mark Mastrov – and look to stay put in Sacramento – the fact that the king of marketing himself is onboard she bring advertisers, sponsors, and investors in droves. Tickets sales will explode and national media coverage will reignite. On the court, his presence will make it a viable option for free agents and bring a championship aura of accountability. Just as important, O’Neal’s first order of business is to take off his owner suit and lace up his kicks for an appointment with DeMarcus Cousins on the practice court, his prize employee who desperately needs some tutelage – and maturity lessons – from a big brother figure who he’ll actually listen to.
Things are looking up for the Kings like no time since their own playoff success a decade ago. It’s nice to see there’s still plenty of room on the Kings band wagon, even for a 7-foot tall former Laker.