The calm before the storm.

Everyday has been a new adventure here in Sacramento.  Yesterday, news broke that Thunder Valley, one of Sacramento’s largest Indian casinos, has pledged $1 million to Kevin Johnson’s growing $8 million corporate war chest.

Mayor Johnson seems prepped and ready for the task at hand, maybe even a little pumped up.

This time around, our playoffs are different.  Sacramento isn’t playing a conventional opponent in a best-of-seven series.  We aren’t squaring off against the Lakers – or any other team. It’s bigger than that.
We are squaring off against everybody who thinks Sacramento can’t support an NBA team, who thinks all we have are cowbells, loud fans and an old barn for an arena.
And we are squaring off against ourselves, trying to overcome our image as a city that’s short on corporate support, lacking Fortune 500 headquarters, unable to command big TV market dollars.

On today’s docket for Mayor Johnson, a meeting with leaders from the six counties that make up the Sacramento region as well as local diversity leaders.  Johnson hoped to unite the group before Thursday’s NBA meetings, possibly even lay the ground work for the public side of the private/public financing deal that will be needed to get any new sports and entertainment building done here in Sacramento.  If the press conference following the meeting with Mayor Johnson was any indication, it went well and the region is on board … at least in spirit, but no talk about monetarily just yet.

Is it enough?  Can Mayor Kevin Johnson convince Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett and NBA executive counsel Harvey Benjamin that Sacramento is still viable?  We will soon find out as the NBA comes to the capital city tomorrow to get down to brass tacks.  If you haven’t already read my “in the minority” thoughts on Clay Bennett, feel free to click here.  As for Harvey Benjamin, he is the numbers man coming to count beans.  Fear Bennett and his dealings with Seattle if you must, but Harvey Benjamin is the man who needs to be impressed.



James Ham

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