NBA relocation committee votes to keep Kings in Sacramento

The Kings decision is about way more than basketball

4/30/13 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

March 16, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Former Sacramento Kings player and current Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson (center) watches the game during the second quarter against the Boston Celtics at Power Balance Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday was a huge day for the city of Sacramento.  The NBA finance and relocation committees voted unanimously to recommend to the NBA Board of Governors to block the relocation of the Kings to Seattle.  In other words, the battle for the Kings is almost over and Sacramento just pulled way ahead. 

The Board of Governors will vote in May and they are expected to follow the committee recommendation.  The major question that remains is how the process of finalizing the sale to the Sacramento ownership group, led by led by Warriors minority owner and Silicon Valley rock star Vivek Ranadive, will happen.  
The Maloofs still own the team and the Seattle group will certainly challenge the decision, but the NBA has spoken and Sacramento won.

However, yesterday's celebration in the capitol wasn't about beating Seattle.  It wasn't even about keeping the Kings.  It was about recognizing the hard work that community members and leaders have done to strengthen the city.

Let's face it, compared to some of the great cities in the country, Sacramento doesn't have much to gloat about.  It's a medium-sized city with a medium-sized economy.  It doesn't get mentioned in the news often and isn't home to many fortune 500 companies.  But yesterday the city was validated.  It was told by a major multi-billion dollar institution -- the NBA -- that it belonged and had earned its spot in the club.

The arena project in Sacramento will revitalize a downtown area that currently lacks top quality restaurants, shops, hotels, and entertainment options.  It will also provide an economic boost to a city that needs construction and retail jobs. 

The decision of outside investors to cooperate and develop this Sacramento plan was a vote of confidence in the city's potential as a regional destination and yesterday's announcement from the NBA was a validation of that investment. 

There are people in Sacramento who will disagree with me here, but yesterday's decision was the best news the city has received in years.  It was an outside group saying that Sacramento has the capacity to be a world class city.  It wasn't to reward Kings fans for cheering loudly and carrying cowbells in the early 2000's, it was an investment in Sacramento's future.  What they said was that there was enough potential in Sacramento to justify blocking the sale and relocation of a team to an objectively better market in Seattle. 

Yesterday I was thrilled to be a Kings fan because my team is staying put but, even more than that, I was proud to be a Sacramentan because we made our voice heard as a community. After years of saying that Sacramento is a city worthy of respect, someone finally stood up to declare that they thought so too.
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