When reports surfaced that Shaquille O’Neal was looking to become a part owner of the Sacramento Kings, I laughed. Then things get serious. Then I remembered. Shaq was the same guy that said the Kings were ‘gnats’ and rebranded the team the ‘Queens’.
So why does O’Neal want to use his Buick money to buy a minority in his former mortal enemy?
Well frankly, what Shaq wants, Shaq gets. As early as last season, O’Neal was trying his best to buy into the Kings when it was reported the team was for sale. Shaq and Chris Webber both wanted in on any deals, with Webber pledging whatever he had to keep the team there. If not for Shaq and C-Webb publicly backing the Kings, the NBA may have looked the other way when it came to relocation matters.
There are those who say Shaq’s deal will help the team rebuild, but the team is already rebuilt and many are missing the real point here. Shaq’s role as a owner also benefits the team when it comes to mentoring star DeMarcus Cousins. Who better than Shaquille to get in the young fella’s ear and keep him engaged in the team?
Shaq’s role here is big, and i’m not talking about his stature. Shaq’s buy-in could also help the Kings garner higher-profile free agents who would otherwise shun a small market like Sacramento in favor of the glitz and nightlife of more marquee franchises.
History was made today with this partnership, and it’s another big coup for a team that’s desperate for a turnaround. With the team set to enter training camp in just nine days, the team has no questions of relocation or trade talk over their heads. There’s a new group of owners that have everyone buying in. And a big fella like Shaq pacing the sidelines or hanging out at games, well, that alone pays for itself.