Sacramento Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive sat down with The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board last week to talk about the Kings, the arena, the Jeff Koons sculpture and his vision of the future.
Here are edited excerpts of the interview:
Q: Is the city’s infrastructure sufficient to handle your vision for the downtown arena?
A: I think the city will upgrade its infrastructure. You know, forget the city, the world needs a new infrastructure, and it’s all going to happen. The next 10 or 15 years are going to see more change than we’ve arguably ever seen in the history of mankind.
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We’re living at a time when in 10 or 15 years 85 percent of all medical diagnosis will be by computer; we’ll have robots doing a lot of the work that gets done in factories; driverless cars will no longer be a novelty. People will have health things (devices) ... some will even be tattooed into them.
And city infrastructure will change; it’ll be LEDs and it’ll be smart lights. And it’ll be cloud-based services that run those lights. Agricultural fields will go through a dramatic change. Already big data is going to impact that. And you’ll be able to put exactly the right amount of water and fertilizer into every single plant.
And so the infrastructure across the world needs to change. The good news is that Sacramento isn’t behind; everyone is behind. So this is a time that Sacramento can actually take the lead, and think of that 21st-century infrastructure in whether it’s for running the lights, or the garbage or crime prevention. All of those things will have a new infrastructure, which will put the city ahead of other cities.
Q: In terms of the cloud and Internet, what should the city be doing?
A: The city needs to continue being open to partnering with different companies and really be at the leading edge ... in some ways we can be the catalysts or the entree into doing that. Let’s have driverless cars here; let’s partner with Google to make that. And we’re doing that. You know we were the first company to partner with Uber; we were the first company to partner with Google and Facebook. And I think it’s as much a cultural mindset as much as anything.
Q: Do you worry that your vision is too ambitious, too broad, and that fans just want a nice experience and a team that wins?
A: Of course it’s not. The mission is to build a winning franchise. That’s the first few words of the mission statement. And so we have to win, and we have to win a championship. And that’s the goal; that’s a given.
But the fans here are pretty amazing; they’re actually heavy consumers of technology. It’s a young fan base; we have 160,000 young people in this area. And they have a voracious appetite for technology and for new things. And so I think the fans are ahead of us. I don’t think we are ahead of the fans.
Q: Were you surprised, disappointed about the controversy over the Koons piece?
A: I think it’s great; I think it’s great that people are talking about art. This is a piece I’ve been in love with for many years. I saw it in London and I saw it in Beverly Hills ... But this guy is an amazing artist. ... And I didn’t think that he would make another one, so when we spoke to the gallery and he was willing to make one for us, I thought that was fantastic.