Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was joined by co-owner Mark Mastrov to formally announce the latest addition to the team’s ownership group – Shaquille O’Neal.
News of O’Neal’s involvement broke Monday.
O’Neal told reporters at the Kings’ practice facility Tuesday that during the Kings’ days of playoff contention, playing at what was then ARCO Arena made him nervous as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
He added that his derisive comments during that time, calling Sacramento a “cow town” and calling the team “the Queens,” were meant to get fans in the River City fired up. Shaq added that he wants to bring that intensity back to Sacramento.
O’Neal also told the media that he plans to take Kings center DeMarcus Cousins “to the next level.”
“When I look at DeMarcus Cousins, I see a young Shaquille O’Neal,” the four-time NBA champion and future hall-of-famer said.
The planned downtown arena was also discussed.
“It will be the first ‘cashless arena.’ For those of you who don’t know what that means, as long as you’ve got a phone, you can get in,” O’Neal said.
Ranadive told reporters that the bar for the building was set very high, and that it will be 100 percent green. Plans for the sports and entertainment complex include the ability to open up as an indoor-outdoor facility to host larger events like concerts.
Along with a grand vision of investing $1 billion into downtown Sacramento, Ranadive hopes the revitalized Kings franchise will usher in a new era for the NBA. Ranadive plans to make the Kings’ Oct. 30 opening night the biggest in the league, broadcasting it in India.
He plans on helping the league branch out into Asian markets.