Should the Kings retire a Kevin Johnson jersey if he keeps the team from moving?

Leading Off: Can Kevin Johnson get game-winning assist

Published: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 - 6:28 am

In the 12 seasons Kevin Johnson played in the NBA – all but 52 games with the Phoenix Suns – the former Sacramento High star said he always enjoyed returning to his hometown to play against the Kings.

But play for the Kings? Johnson would say something polite about the team and city, and then change the subject.

Thanks, but no thanks was his message.

So how ironic is it that Johnson, 13 years after he last suited up for an NBA game, has the ball with time running out on Sacramento's future in the NBA?

Make the shot and Sacramento's future in the league will be secure with new owners, more money to build a playoff contender and a downtown arena on tap.

Miss the shot and Sacramento is wiped off the NBA map and the Kings franchise that started in 1948 as the Royals in Rochester, N.Y., will cease to exist, its history packed in boxes.

You don't think the SuperSonics will raise Chris Webber's retired jersey to the rafters in Seattle, do you?

Johnson, who will be in Houston for All-Star Weekend campaigning for the NBA to stay in Sacramento, will soon announce an ownership group and plan to buy the Kings that will be competitive – if not better – than the offer made by Chris Hansen's Seattle group.

Then he'll take his final shot to keep the Kings here with a passionate speech before the NBA's board of governors in mid-April.

Johnson has retired jerseys at Sac High, Cal and Phoenix. If he makes the biggest shot in Sacramento's 27-year NBA history, the man who didn't want to be a Kings player could one day see a purple and white jersey with his name – and '13 for the historic year – hanging from a rafter of a new downtown arena.

Today's poll

Should the Kings retire a Kevin Johnson jersey if he keeps the team from moving?

• Yes, a fitting honor

• No, for players only

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Weekend's poll results

What do you think the odds are of the Kings staying in Sacramento?

• 0%: 24%

• 1-19%: 17%

• 20-39%: 9%

• 40-59%: 24%

• 60-79%: 11%

• 80%-plus: 15%

Total votes: 1,624

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