Shaquille O’Neal has bought a minority stake in the Sacramento Kings.
O’Neal, who helped knock the Kings out of the playoffs while with the Lakers in 2000, 2001 and 2002, will now try to help Sacramento defeat the L.A. team and more.
Shaq said in a phone interview with USA TODAY Sports, that he plans to meet with Kings coaches and players in Sacramento before having dinner with their new protégé DeMarcus Cousins.
“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.”
O’Neal also talked about how fun it will be seeing one of the league’s worst teams go from the bottom to the top.
“Worst is at the bottom, which means you can’t get no worser,” O’Neal said. “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.”
Shaq went on to discuss how excited he is about the plans he, new owner Vivek Ranadiv, and investor Mark Mastrov have for Sacramento.
“Hopefully Vivek, with Mr. Mastrov and myself and the team and organization can get it back to where it used to be,” he said. “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.”