Which of the three following is true?
1. Retired New York Yankees slugger Don Mattingly is buying part of the Boston Red Sox.
2. Johanna Quandt, the BMW billionaire from Germany, is buying part of France’s Eiffel Tower.
3. Here in the capital city, former L.A. Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal is buying part of the Sacramento Kings.
If you answered No. 3, you are correct. It goes to show that strange things can happen.
Back during the time when the Kings were just a ref’s call away from going to the NBA finals, Shaq and the Lakers were Sacramento’s most vicious rivals. Shaq once derisively referred to the Kings as “the Queens.” During much of the Shaq era, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson referred to Sacramento as a “cow town.”
Granted, we now embrace our cows as part of Farm to Fork Week, but back then, those were fighting words. When the Lakers would come to town, we’d yell, “Shaq, you better watch your back!”
Now Shaq wants part of the Kingdom. Or maybe we should call it the Queen-dom.
Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive is expected to announce Shaq as a minority partner at Sleep Train Arena’s practice facility today. Shaq will quickly become the Kings’ biggest whale, not because of the size of his investment, but because of the sheer size of his head.
Some may wonder why anyone would want Shaq as a face of the team, given that his face includes a rather large mouth known to open and say almost anything. Remember when he got in trouble – accused of being a racist – when he told a reporter, “Tell Yao Ming, ‘ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh”?
On the other hand, if Shaq wants to pump money into Sacramento he earned as an NBA center – and more recently as a long-legged car salesman – who are we to complain? Buy the guy a tiara and let him drive around town in his Buick, urging well-heeled folk to buy season tickets.
Meanwhile, we wait to see what other converts to the Kings’ cause will soon be unveiled as partners. Perhaps Chris Hansen is waiting in the wings?