There is never a dull moment in Sacramento and today, things got a lot more interesting when the Kings announced that four-time NBA champion and 15-time All-Star Shaquille O’Neal has joined the ownership group.
Our friend Sam Amick of USA Today broke the story first, landing an exclusive interview that is distinctly Shaq.
“Worst is at the bottom, which means you can’t get no worser,” O’Neal told Amick regarding the recent ESPN the Magazine article ranking the Kings the worst franchise in professional sports. “There’s no such thing as worser, which means we can only get better. And we will get better. Once that new arena comes, once that new downtown is up, once we have a conversation with the players and get everybody to step up, they’ll be knocking on the door.”
According to Amick, Shaq will meet with the team today in Sacramento and has plans to join new “protégé” DeMarcus Cousins for dinner this evening.
While we have lost count of how many new owners the Kings have added to their group, O’Neal brings a different level of brand recognition and cache. He joins the growing trend of celebrity ownership in professional sports that includes Magic Johnson with the LA Dodgers, Justin Timberlake with the Memphis Grizzlies and Jay-Z with the Brooklyn Nets before the music mogul had to sell his stake in the club.
There is no word on what this means for Shaq’s gig as an analyst for TNT or whether the former Laker star will have a noticeable presence in Sacramento. A press conference is scheduled for 10am on Tuesday to formally introduce the NBA legend.