Big Shaq has always been known for his moves on the court. Now, he’s making waves off the court – in the boardroom to be exact. The future hall-of-famer has secured a minority stake in the Sacramento Kings under the leadership of the team’s new owner, Vivik Ranadive. While the team made an announcement of O’Neal’s acquisition today, Bloomberg reports that the formal news conference will take place on Tuesday in Sacramento.
O’Neal has actually been in deliberation with Ranadive since the early part of the summer. The new owner has stated that he and the big man have forged a strong sense of camaraderie in the short time of getting to know each other better. Shaq’s personal and professional rapport with 24-hour fitness owner and Kings’ shareholder, Mark Mastov, also edified the team owner’s interest in adding 3-time MVP to the Kings’ group.
“I wanted to find somebody to add to the ownership group who truly represented 21st century basketball, who represented my vision of NBA 3.0, which is having an understanding of technology, wanting to build a global brand and being global in their thinking, and really being committed to having an impact in the community,” Ranadive informed USA Today. “The most iconic person on the planet was Dr. O’Neal.”
Ranadive also shed light on the basis of he and O’Neal’s conversation and current perspective on the future of their endeavor with the Kings:
“We talked about what the forces were that were shaping the 21st century, we talked about technology, we talked about new companies that we were looking at. And based on that we came to a conclusion that we could … put a dent in the universe if Dr. O’Neal became my partner.”
O’Neal’s interest in the Kings came as quite a surprise for many NBA enthusiast as they can’t help but remember Shaq’s legendary comments in regards to the team years ago. The 7’1 phenom was known for his comedic banter during the 2002 Western Conference finals when he coined the team as the, “Sacramento Queens.” The Kings have always been an arch nemesis to the Los Angeles Lakers, whom Shaq clenched three NBA championships with. Shaq has made no apologies for his previous remarks stating the comments were a basis of ‘marketing’ the Western Conference finals. The comments fueled Shaq’s desire to be the ‘most watched game ever.’
Most would see an interest in the Lakers more befitting for Shaq, but the current television analysis has other plans. With the team’s $530 million buyout by the Ranadive group back in May, the Kings’ have been undergoing drastic changes. The plans to construct a new $448 million downtown arena is only the beginning toward the future of the Kings.
Shaq also shared the reasoning for his growing interest in the Kings’ franchise with USA Today:
“What interested me in this deal is the new vision, the new Kings, the new everything. I’ve always wanted to be part of something like this. … It’s going to be great.”
Image via Shaq’s Official Twitter Page