Nearly five months to the day that a deal to sell and move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle was announced, the community once again gathered this morning at city hall. Not to announce an ambitious effort to keep the Kings, but this time to celebrate victory.
Here are some notable quotes and images of those who spoke at today’s gathering at city hall chambers this morning.
Mayor Kevin Johnson
While there are a lot of people to thank, and I’ll be able to do that over the next few days, today is about one big thank you, and that’s to the fans and community of Sacramento. The fans – you never gave up, you never lost hope, you supported us. The owners that stepped up, the people who are here today is why the owners stepped up. Our new ownership group is because of what you did. They know how deep your love is for the Kings and this community. Every time we fell down, the fans, you picked us up. And you said keep fighting, you said we can do it, our voices will be heard, we will not be ignored. The fans of Sacramento – this is your moment, truly your moment. The NBA supported our work because of you. The owners came together and stepped up because they knew what you could do as a community. And I never stopped fighting because you wouldn’t let me, so thank you for not giving up.
California State Senator Darrell Steinberg (D)
No one else could’ve taken a situation where we were, okay it is basketball, we’re 15 points down in the fourth quarter with about five minutes left to play and engineered the kind of comeback that leads us here today than Kevin Johnson. Incredible.
California State Senator Ted Gaines (R)
I’m very excited about the fact that we’ve had season tickets for I think 26 years and I now have six children. I’m done, not having anymore. But my children are going to have the opportunity to be season ticket holders here in Sacramento. It’s because of Kevin Johnson, the leadership team behind me, the locals in Sacramento that have stepped up with money and the diverse nature of the investment group that helped this all come together.
Sacramento Councilman Allen Warren
Yesterday and last night we jumped some very significant hurdles, but we cannot lose sight of what’s yet to come. We still have to build this facility downtown. We want it to be a world-class facility. We want it to set the standard for the NBA. We have a leadership group that I believe will be trendsetters. We have a lot of confidence in our investors and the owners of our team. We have had a tremendous amount of unity around this issue. And as the mayor just requested of both Senator Steinberg and Senator Gaines, we need to take that energy and move that throughout our community to other things as well. There are a lot of things that need attention here in this city and let’s let this be the catalyst. Let’s continue to build.
Sacramento City Manager John Shirey
You know, we’ve used a lot of sports metaphors here this morning. We’ve talked about “come-from-behind”, “playing catch-up”. I think those are actually understating the situation. We easily forget that there was a time when we didn’t even know the game was being played. We had to find out about the game and show up with our pickup crew and show who’s really king of the court.
West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon
When someone casts doubt on the progress that we have to make on this complex project, delivering this on time, on budget for the people of this community and this region, remember how you feel now. Remember the steadfast leadership that Mayor Johnson has provided on this project when almost everyone else – thankfully not 80 percent all at once – but when almost everyone else wasn’t so sure, he did. He believed. He knew the heart of this community. He knew our assets and he knew how to win and he did.
New Kings co-owner Mark Friedman
There are a lot of people who are responsible for this moment. The mayor has mentioned Vivek Ranadivé and the extraordinary ownership group that he’s put together. I can’t wait for you to get to know them the way that I have. We’ve got leaders in software development, leaders in telecommunications, leaders in social media. And I know that they’re committed to give you a winning team, to give you the kind of digitally-connected arena that will be a model for the rest of the world.
It’s the dawn of a new day. This is the moment when we all laid our heads on the pillow every night and you get that happy thought in your head, this is it and it’s better than we thought. You know, “Here We Buy” is gonna be “Here We Bought”, “Here We Build” is going to be “Here We Built”, “Crown Downtown” is going to be “Downtown Crowned” and “Here We Stay” is “Here We Stayed”. You guys did it. I love you all and I’m so proud to be a member of this phenomenal community.