Sep 23 2013, 6:36pm CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
This was confirmed by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee on September 23. He will be formally introduced as a member of the ownership group on Tuesday, joining retired Sacramento Kings legend Mitch Richmond.
O'Neal, who was a centerpiece of the Los Angeles Lakers teams in the early 2000s which tormented the Kings, was involved right away. He met with Kings players and coaches before planning to have dinner with young Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins, per USA Today Sports' Sam Amick.
He told Amick why he was interested in joining the Kings.
"What interested me in this deal is the new vision, the new Kings, the new everything. I've always wanted to be part of something like this...It's going to be great."
O'Neal was introduced to Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive by 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, who is part of Ranadive's ownership group. O'Neal used to work out regularly at Matrov's Los Angeles gym when he was a member of the Lakers.
Shaq was inspired by the idea of a 24-hour gym, so he joined forces with Mastrov in building more 24-Hour Fitness gyms in Miami when he joined the Heat in 2004. Now, O'Neal and Mastrov are reuinted in Sacramento.
Ranadive spoke about why O'Neal, who has a doctorate degree in education from Barry University in Miami, was a good fit as Kings minority owner.
"I wanted to find somebody to add to the ownership group who truly represented 21st century basketball, who represented my vision of NBA 3.0, which is having an understanding of technology, wanting to build a global brand and being global in their thinking, and really being committed to having an impact in the community.
"The most iconic person on the planet is Dr. O'Neal. So Mark Mastrov is good friends with Dr. O'Neal, and Dr. O'Neal and I spent a day at my house shooting hoops, hanging out with my kids, and just talking about how to create the franchise of the 21st century."
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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