Shaquille O’Neal has bought an ownership stake in the Sacramento Kings, the team announced.
The former NBA superstar has been working as an analyst on TNT since retiring in 2011. He spent 19 seasons in the NBA, most of them with the Lakers, when he helped knock the Kings out of the playoffs three consecutive seasons (2000-2002). He also once famously labeled the Kings as “Queens” in an interview.
But now, the tables have turned, and O’Neal will be trying to help the Kings rebuild into a dominant franchise.
“What interested me in this deal is the new vision, the new Kings, the new everything,” O’Neal told USA TODAY Sports. “I’ve always wanted to be part of something like this. … It’s going to be great.”
O’Neal purchased a minority share of the team from Vivek Ranadive, whose ownership group bought the Kings in the offseason for a record $534 million, saving the team from relocating to Seattle.
“Hopefully Vivek, with Mr. Mastrov (one of the other owners) and myself and the team and organization can get it back to where it used to be,” said O’Neal. “I’m telling you these new plans, oh my. You’re going to be like, ‘Sacramento is doing what?’ That’s what we want people to say.”
O’Neal is also impressed by the plans to build a new downtown arena.
“I’ve seen the (arena) plans,” O’Neal said. “I don’t know if they’ve talked to you about the plans, but woo-wee. That’s all I can say: woo-wee. Oh, you know what? That’s our new slogan: ‘Sacramento: woo-wee.’