Politicians have egos, rather large ones at that. In Sacramento, the city council thinks the NBA Kings franchise owners should retired the major’s name in the Kings retired numbers area in the rafters.
Kevin Johnson probably is the main reason that Sacramento still has a National Basketball Association team. Johnson, who played in the NBA and worked with NBA Commissioner David Stern on an arena package, is leaving office but there probably is one thing the Kings ownership should do. Thank KJ for finding a way to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund the just opened Sacramento arena by putting up a piece of cloth with the initials KJ on it and hang it from the roof. Pretty simple, stroke KJ’s ego and salute him at the same time. But Kings ownership, grateful for the new building, is not going to do anything more than necessary to hail the Sacramento mayor. No retired of the KJ letters is scheduled.
Politicians love to be honored but this time, it is not happening for Johnson despite the council’s plea.
The Sacramento Kings basketball business will get more revenues from this arena that comes with money generators such as additional luxury boxes and club seats. Most of the employees who will work at the facility will be per diem day laborers. The owners get more money, the players will get more money and Sacramento residents will be stuck holding the bag for the $22 million annual debt payments if Kings revenue projections and city parking revenues fall short. The city is using city parking revenues that are supposed to go to the general fund to pay for the arena.
Sacramento has had tent cities, laid off municipal workers but is pinning economic revitalization on a basketball team. It is a silly notion but that is the price trying to be a big league city. The least Kings ownership can do is retire the letters KJ.
Mayor Kevin Johnson got an arena deal done in Sacramento but won’t have his initials retired by the team.
You knew at some point the partnership between elected officials and a sports team would come to this. The Sacramento City Council has passed a resolution that the ownership of the local NBA Kings franchise should do something nice for the mayor who funneled hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into the construction of a new arena for the team. The city council has suggested to team owners since Kevin Johnson is leaving because of term limits, the least the team could do to its show appreciation is “to retire and raise a ‘MAYOR KJ’ jersey in the rafters at the corporate named center in honor of the mayor’s outstanding efforts.”
The Kings franchise has less enthusiasm than the politicians who think Kevin Johnson should have a retired shirt hanging from the building’s ceiling. The team released a statement saying thanks but Johnson is not worthy. “In addition to the wall honoring the mayor and City Council for their efforts to save our team, we do not have any immediate plans to retire his jersey. However our organization continues to look for ways to honor the mayor and all of those who were integral to the building of corporate named Center.” Some of the public money to help a private business get its plant is coming from people who will never attend a game. The city is using parking money, money that would have been earmarked for essential city services and to replenish the money pool because of the arena drain, there will a parking tax. Which means everyone in Sacramento is going to share the expense if they use metered parking in the city. The hours of the parking have been extended so free parking after 6PM is no longer, the meters will be in effect until 10PM downtown and 8PM in other sections of the city. It’s a small cost for sports.