New Kings co-owner, Shaquille O’Neal had dinner at Zocalo in midtown Sacramento Monday night with Kings executives and other team owners, including Vivek Ranadive and Mark Mastrov.
Taking some time before dinner to address the media, Shaq expressed excitement about the direction of the team and the plans for a new arena, saying he is attracted to the idea of helping build something from the bottom up. He described Ranadive and Mastrov as “brilliant businessmen,” and said he approached them about becoming a part of the ownership group.
As for his comments in the early 2000s when, as player for the Lakers, he called Sacramento a “cowtown” and referred to the Kings as the “queens,” he now says it was nothing personal.
“Well everyone knows that I’m a jokester,” O’Neal explained Monday night. “And everyone knows that I’m a marketing expert. If you go back and look at the numbers, even today those games are still the most watched, most televised games in history.”
Shaq wants to help bring back the exciting atmosphere that defined the great Kings/Lakers rivalry of the early 2000s.
“We need to get it back to that level where the arena was loud, all those cowbells, and we need to make it a tough place to play, and we need to bring in those types of players that Sacramento once had.”
When asked by FOX40 if he is welcoming the cowbells now, Shaq responded, “I sure am. I’m about to get me one.”