“I’m not worried about the Sacramento Queens. Write it down, take a picture, send it to them. I don’t care.” It’s crazy to believe that it has been over a decade since Shaq stated his feelings on the rival franchise of his then Los Angeles Lakers. The Laker Kings rivalry in the early 2000’s can easily be seen as one of the leagues greatest and most heated rivalries of the 21st century. The two franchises faced off in 3 consecutive playoff series from 2000-2002 with the Lakers led by the Diesel himself eliminating the Kings each season and going on to win an NBA title each time. Well today is a new day, the Sacramento Kings aren’t the Western conference powerhouse that they use to be but a struggling franchise who seeks to rebuild under new ownership from Vivek Ranadive and Shaquille O’Neal is no longer the dominating presence that once tortured the franchise but now a TNT analyst and as of Tuesday a part owner of the Sacramento Kings.
Shaq has apparently been in talks with the Kings since the summer and is now just the latest part of what has become the offseason of change for the franchise. The Kings have already acquired a new GM, head coach, and 5 new players to the roster which includes rookie Ben McLemore and veteran Carl Landry. Aside ownership many have speculated that Shaq’s role with the franchise may be the mentorship and development of the franchise’s premiere big man DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins has constantly been noted for his immense amount of potential but slighted for his terrible attitude and slight bad boy image.
Shaq now becoming a minority owner of the King’s franchise will now serve as an exceptional marketing tool for the franchise as well. O’Neal’s presence around the franchise may make King’s a more desirable place for free agents in the future, we’ve seen this work before for the Brooklyn Nets in the case of Jay-Z’s role with marketing the franchise.
With the NBA season less than 50 days away the Kings hope to see their recent fortunes begin to turn around with this new regime of change made this offseason. Hopefully Shaq will be able to turn these “Sacramento Queens” into the Kings that the city of Sacramento have been waiting for.