Wednesday night was thought to be the Kings’ last game in California’s capital city. As the sold-out crowd said their goodbyes, players assured their fans that Sacramento would forever be their home regardless of the probable move to southern California.
But wait. Too soon? According to Sactown Royalty, billionaire associate of Bill Clinton, Ron Burkle, is interested in buying the Sacramento Kings and keeping them in Sacramento.
Sactown Royalty posted an excerpt from a press release sent by Burkle’s firm:
“We want to thank Mayor Kevin Johnson for his efforts to keep the Kings and the NBA in Sacramento. We were pleased to be a part of his presentation today and we are encouraged by the progress, energy and new resources behind the effort to keep the NBA in Sacramento.
“The Maloofs have been strong owners and a positive part of the Sacramento community for years, but it is important that Kings fans and residents of the Sacramento region know that the Burkle Group is ready to commit the resources and expertise necessary to keep the NBA in Sacramento. Our group believes Sacramento is an important NBA market that can thrive with new ideas, new resources and an absolute commitment to delivering the best on and off-court experiences for fans.
“This group, led by Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle, is prepared to assist the Mayor by bringing significant resources and the best possible expertise in professional sports, facilities development and financing to bear in the effort to keep Sacramento as an NBA city.
“The Burkle group, our local partners and other investors are looking forward to working together with the Mayor and other regional leaders to keep the NBA in Sacramento, deliver on a new facility and provide Kings fans in the region with decades more of great memories.”
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Burkle actually saved the Pittsburgh Penguins to keep the NHL team in a city he had no connection to previously. So can he work his magic again? It depends on the Maloof family, the current owners. Owning the franchise is a great asset to them; why would they give it up? Only time will tell what will unfold in the coming months. Meanwhile, Burkle has Kings fans (including myself) hanging on his every word.
IF Burkle is successful in purchasing the NBA team, he will be forever seen as the king of all saviors; pun intended. But even if he doesn’t become the next owner of the Sacramento team, he has shown fans exactly how willing he is to preserve a treasure. Whether you’ve heard of Burkle before or not, you’ll remember him as a good guy, and how many billionaires can you really call “good?”