Monday, September 23, 2013

Shaquille O'Neal: Buys Into Sacramento Kings!

During his playing career, Shaquille O'Neal made little effort to hide his disdain for the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers' chief rivals in the Western Conference. He referred to them as the "Sacramento Queens" and backed up his talk with an average of 25.2 points per game against the Kings.
Now years removed from his playing days, that hate has obviously subsided, as O'Neal has agreed to buy a minority stake in the franchise he once tormented on the court, according to a USAToday report. It's hard to harbor hate when you're always on the winning end, though. O'Neal's Lakers toppled the Kings three times en route to titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
One has to imagine he will cheer for them in some way at this point, a fact that must make Lakers and Kings fans equally uneasy.
"What interested me in this deal is the new vision, the new Kings, the new everything," O'Neal said. "I've always wanted to be part of something like this…It's going to be great."
O'Neal will take a hands-on approach with the Kings. He will visit the team today and plans to have dinner with the talented but troubled DeMarcus Cousins, USAToday reports.
He's already jumped the shark and started defending the Kings, whom ESPN ranked the worst of the 122 franchises that makeup the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. True to form, O'Neal used some fancy logic to refute ESPN's ranking.
"Worst is at the bottom, which means you can't get no worser," O'Neal said. "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.
"Hopefully Vivek, with Mr. Mastrov and myself and the team and organization can get it back to where it used to be. I'm telling you these new plans, oh my. You're going to be like, 'Sacramento is doing what?' That's what we want people to say."
Notice the word "we" being used multiple times. Did you ever expect the man who did this to the Kings to refer to them as a "we". Neither did we.
But it was O'Neal's relationship with Mark Mastrov, who is part of the Kings ownership, that helped establish that "we". The two developed a relationship after they built 24-Hour Fitness gyms all over South Florida together, back when O'Neal was still a member of the Miami Heat.
"We built a lot of 24 Hour Fitnessess in the Miami, South Florida area," O'Neal said. "So when Mark introduced me to Vivek, we had a wonderful conversation. I've always prided myself by interacting with great leaders and great businessmen."
O'Neal gets just as giddy when he speaks to the Kings' plans to build a new arena in downtown Sacramento.
"I've seen the (arena) plans," O'Neal said. "I don't know if they've talked to you about the plans, but woo – wee. That's all I can say: woo-wee. Oh, you know what, that's our new slogan: Sacramento – woo-wee.
"It's going to be sort of like a mini LA live, and it's going to be great for Sacramento, especially when they build the arena...If we put our heads together and hire the right people, I know that this arena is going to be the best arena in the country."

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