Shaq O’Neal becomes minority owner of Sacramento Kings


shaq-tableFew players ever tormented the Kings like Shaquille O’Neal. He was face of the Lakers in 2002 when Kings had the second best team in the NBA but just could not get past Shaq and Los Angeles.

For years as that rivalry built Shaq enjoyed taking some shots at Sacramento. Now, he owns a piece of the team, according to USA Today.

After meetings with new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and others in the organization, Shaq — the future Hall of Fame player and current TNT analyst — has purchased a minority interest in the team.

“What interested me in this deal is the new vision, the new Kings, the new everything,” O’Neal, who so famously deemed the Kings the “Queens” at the start of the 2002-03 season, said. “I’ve always wanted to be part of something like this…It’s going to be great.”

O’Neal will immediately get to work in his new role, meeting with Kings players and coaches in Sacramento and also having dinner with DeMarcus Cousins.

O’Neal plans on mentoring Cousins, and his initial discussions with Kings ownership involved working with Cousins in a consultant role before things got more serious about becoming a minority owner.

One of the main reasons this partnership came to be is the friendship between O’Neal and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, who is part of the Kings’ new ownership group.

Sacramento’s new ownership group will try and fix a franchise that was recently ranked as the worst in sports by ESPN. The Kings had floundered under the Maloof family and nearly moved to Seattle.

A new arena in Sacramento is in the works, and O’Neal believes it’s going to be great for the city.

“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.”

O’Neal played in 1207 NBA games (1197 started), averaging 23.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg in 34.7 minutes of action.

He was a 15-time NBA All-Star, and won 4 NBA championships (three with Los Angeles Lakers, one with Miami Heat).

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