The man who once famously called the Lakers’ northern rivals the “Sacramento Queens,” has changed his colors. Shaquille O’Neal has bought a minority ownership share in the Sacramento Kings and will be introduced by the team on Tuesday.
The move by Shaquille O’Neal was a long time coming. The future Hall of Fame center has been consulting with the team and mentoring DeMarcus Cousins all summer. O’Neal also has a long-standing relationship with Mark Mastrov, one of the team’s owners.
Mastrov instroduced O’Neal to the Kings’ majority owner, Vivek Ranadive. Ranadive asked Shaq to mentor Cousins, the Kings troubled big man. According to sources, the conversation slowly evolved into one of mentorship to minority ownership.
O’Neal, speaking with USA Today, sounded excited to be working with Cousins, “I like his game. I like his ferocity. And he hates to lose.”
As a minority owner in the Kings, Shaquille O’Neal also said he plans to leave the business side to Ranadive.
The turn for Shaq, to go from Los Angeles Lakers center to part owner of one of their biggest rivals, is a surprising one. In 2002 the Kings played the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. At one point Shaq referred to Sacramento as the “Queens.”
The Kings have fallen on hard times since 2002, and Ranadive is hoping to put the franchise back on track. The addition of O’Neal should help. Winning is in the big man’s blood. During his 19-year NBA career, he won four league titles and was an all star 15 times. In three of his finals he was the tournament MVP.
O’Neal’s biggest responsibility as minority owner will be to work with Sacramento’s players to help instill a new confidence and energy. The Kings have great fans who come out and support the team regardless of their record. They deserve some success.
Do you think Shaquille O’Neal is a good fit with the Sacramento Kings?
[image via Wikimedia Commons]