Shaquille O’Neal Buys Stake in Sacramento Kings

September 24, 2013

Former Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O’Neal has revealed he has purchased a minority stake in the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, despite the fierce rivalry he had with the team in his playing days.

Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive was introduced to ‘Shaq’ through fellow investor Mark Mastrov, who combined with O’Neal to introduce his 24 Hour Fitness gyms to Florida after the centre was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004.

“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,” Ranadive said.

“The most iconic person on the planet was Dr. O’Neal.

“Dr. O’Neal and I spent a day at my house shooting hoops, hanging out with my kids, and just talking about how to create the franchise of the 21st century.”

Sports network ESPN recently labelled Sacramento last in its annual ranking of NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB franchises, and O’Neal is looking forward to rising up in the future.

“Worst is at the bottom, which means you can’t get no worser. There’s no such things as worser, which means we can only get better. And we will get better.”

‘Dr. O’Neal’ – who holds a doctorate degree in education – is enthused about the prospects of returning the Kings to its former glories, but the television identity must first win over the Sacramento fans.

The Lakers eliminated the Kings from the 2002 playoffs in one of the most controversial series in NBA history, which involved a referee who was later sentenced to prison on match fixing charges.

Prior to the 2002-03 season, O’Neal referred to the Kings as the “Sacramento Queens” but now says he only made the remark because he is “an expert at marketing.”

“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.”