City Beat

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Mayor Johnson issues ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ to Brown, Shriver, Olajuwon

08/19/2014 12:07 PM

08/19/2014 2:54 PM

Add Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to the list of people who have had buckets of ice water dumped over their heads.

The mayor posted a video on YouTube on Tuesday morning of himself accepting the “Ice Bucket Challenge” from Crown Downtown, a Kings fan group. He then challenged Gov. Jerry Brown, former California first lady Maria Shriver and basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.

Johnson had a personal message for Olajuwon. In 1994, while playing for the Phoenix Suns, Johnson dunked over the much taller Olajuwon. The play is a defining moment in Johnson’s NBA career.

“Twenty years after the dunk, it’s time for you to get dunked on again,” Johnson told Olajuwon in the video.

Then, mayoral press aide Ben Sosenko did what many strong-mayor and arena opponents would probably love to do: He dumped a bucket of cold water over the head of Mayor Johnson.

“Whoa!” the mayor yelled. “Go Kings!”

The mayor’s office is checking to see if Johnson’s challenges have been accepted.

Sacramento Bee reporter David Siders tried to ask the governor at an event in Lake Tahoe if Brown would accept the mayor’s challenge, but the governor declined to answer questions from reporters. Brown’s press office said it would respond to the question later.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a fundraising and awareness campaign launched this summer by the ALS Association. People around the country have posted videos on Facebook and Twitter dumping ice water over their heads, then challenging others to do the same.

The ALS Association reported Tuesday that the campaign has helped raise nearly $23 million in the effort to fight the disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

About This Blog

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Sacramento Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at or 916-321-1085. Twitter: @Ryan_Lillis.

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