In the prime of his Lakers career, Shaquille O'Neal ridiculed the Sacramento Kings relentlessly. it was a sign of respect though. The Kings were constant threats to their dysfunctional dynasty. In the ultimate act of bygones, being bygones, the O'Neal recently brought a minority stake in the franchise he once referred to as the Sacramento Queens. Since those classic matchups in the early-2000s, the Kings fortunes have rolled downhill. Rock bottom was ESPN.com ranking them last among 122 professional sports franchises. That hurt much more than O'Neal crowning them the queens.
On Monday,the Kings announced that O'Neal, who once expressed interest in one day buying the similarly downtrodden Orlando Magic franchises, is now a minority owner. He'll be more than just a figurehead though. The Kings also have an unofficial spokesman now.
Via USA Today:
"What interested me in this deal is the new vision, the new Kings, the new everything," said O'Neal, who so famously deemed the Kings the "Queens" at the start of the 2002-03 season. "I've always wanted to be part of something like this. ... It's going to be great."
"Worst is at the bottom, which means you can't get no worser," he said of the Kings' ranking. "There's no such thing as worser, which means we can only get better. And we will get better. Once that new arena comes, once that new downtown is up, once we have a conversation with the players and get everybody to step up, they'll be knocking on the door.
"Hopefully Vivek, with Mr. Mastrov and myself and the team and organization can get it back to where it used to be. I'm telling you these new plans, oh my. You're going to be like, 'Sacramento is doing what?' That's what we want people to say."