Johnson announces plan to keep Kings in Sacramento

January 22, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson announced Tuesday that a group of 19 locals has pledged $1 million each to help keep the Kings and plans to present a proposal to the NBA in April.

"The Sacramento Kings are a civic asset for our community," Johnson said at the press conference standing in front of local business leaders as he delivered his plan to keep the Kings in Sacramento, which includes the construction of a downtown arena.

"We have said publicly in more ways than one that we feel the return in our investment is going to be significant with a downtown arena ... If we are going to invest a significant amount, it can't be a one-time or to fill a budget hole it's got to be something that's an investment that we are going to get a return for many years."

Seattle's Chris Hansen reached an agreement to purchase 65% of the Kings from the Maloof brothers, but Johnson is not giving up his city's NBA franchise without a fight.

While Johnson announced the $19 million raised, he did not reveal the 'white whale,' an unidentified extremely wealthy person that is expected to make a large contribution to Sacramento's effort.

"When I played in the NBA for 12 years, Seattle had some of the best fans in the NBA and no different than Sacramento -- incredible fans," Johnson said. "When they lost their team a couple years ago it was devastating to me because those fans fought like crazy and cheered on the home team and I strongly believe they do deserve an NBA team at some point -- just not ours."

Johnson plans to present Sacramento's counter offer to the NBA's Board of Governors in April.