Media day 2013 was a party for the Kings. As the press filled the old practice facility at Arco Arena, new owner Vivek Ranadivé showed up a little late for a photo op and then the headliner came bursting through the doors.
Shaquille O’Neal, the guy who once famously called the team from Sacramento, “The Queens,” during heated playoff battles as a member of the Lakers, was now part of Kings ownership.
In his first press conference back on Sept. 24, 2013, the 7-footer renamed the city “Shaq-ramento.” He promised to work with center DeMarcus Cousins. He talked about making the Kings a global brand.
“I always had dreams of being an NBA owner, especially when I seen Magic Johnson accomplish it, Michael Jordan accomplish it,” O’Neal said while wearing a Kings hat. “I knew, hopefully it would happen one day. I just had to wait for the right moment.”
That might have been the last time O’Neal stepped off a plane at a Sacramento airport.
According to Joe Pompliano of Readhuddleup.com, O’Neal is one of the Kings minority owners selling off their shares in the team. Like most business deals he’s been involved with since hanging up his sneakers, O’Neal is going to make out like a bandit.
Call it the end of an era. Or maybe the end of something.
O’Neal hasn’t been a visible member of the Kings ownership since that initial press conference. Whether he mentored Cousins or any other player in Sacramento is unknown at this time.
There is no word on how big Shaq’s stake is in the Kings, but he’s clearly in for a nice windfall. There is a possibility he is part of the group of investors that are selling their five percent stake in the Kings to Dyal Capital.
Due to the ongoing business transaction, the franchise can not currently comment on which minority owners are involved with the Dyal Capital deal.
Led by Ranadivé, Mark Mastrov, Raj Bhathal and the Jacobs brothers, the Kings were purchased from the Maloof family for a valuation price of $534 million in 2013. According to a source, the franchise is now worth a staggering $1.9 billion just eight years later.
O’Neal has found great financial success since leaving the NBA in 2011. The 49-year-old has an estimated net worth of over $400 million. His Kings shares should add a few more drops to that bucket.