Speaking at a triumphant press conference at City Hall Friday morning, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said the community would hold a rally at Cesar Chavez park on Wednesday to celebrate the pending sale of the Sacramento Kings to a group of investors who will keep them here.
The band Cake will headline the event, which the mayor said would start sometime in the late afternoon.
Since word of the $347-million sale leaked out Thursday evening, "there's been a flood of calls to the Kings and the NBA asking about tickets," Johnson said. Season ticket sales will start at 9 a.m. Tuesday, he said.
"Sacramento will have no problem making the NBA look smart" for rejecting the Kings' proposed move to Seattle, Johnson predicted.
A succession of people, including local politicians, a prospective owner and a super-fan, took turns addressing the cheering crowd.
Downtown developer Mark Friedman, who will have an ownership stake in the team and develop the arena for the investor group led by Vivek Ranadive, said it will be "the most sophisticated, digitally connected, arena in the world."
Friedman, who went with Johnson to the NBA Board of Governors meeting in Dallas this week, praised the fans and said their dedication helped sway the league owners to reject the move to Seattle.
"It was unbelievable to be in Dallas the other day and see Kings fans in the lobby chanting, 'Let's go Kings,'" Friedman said. "It made a difference. The owners could hear you."
Super-fan and media personality Dave Weiglein, who took an RV tour around the country to promote Sacramento's efforts to keep the Kings, proposed erecting a statue of Kevin Johnson outside the new arena.
The NBA's decision to reject the Maloofs' proposal to sell the team to a Seattle group, followed by the signing of the deal to sell to investors who will keep the team here, is about "more than just basketball," the mayor said.
"It's about jobs and it's about revitalizing downtown. It's about civic pride. It's about not letting somebody take something that isn't theirs."
Johnson also led the crowd in a round of applause for the Maloof family, whose recent efforts to move the team and backing out of arena deals here have stirred antipathy.
"Some of the best days of this storied franchise were when they were owners," he said.