SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A former Kings vice-president who was instrumental in bringing the team to Sacramento is part of the high-profile coalition working to prevent the team from leaving.
Nearly three decades ago, Greg Van Dusen said he felt like the most hated man in Kansas City when he worked to snag the Kings for Sacramento. Now he can’t let them go.
“We know how hard it was to build two arenas here, we know how hard it was to get a major league franchise and move it here, and we can’t lose it,” he said.
For more than a year, Van Dusen says a group of high-profile players has been meeting secretly to form strategies on how to keep the NBA franchise. The coalition includes former Kings star Chris Webber, the original Arco Arena architect, the arena’s structural engineer, a former Kings food and beverage vice president and a banker.
Now the big question is whether billionaire Ron Burkle will play ball with the Kings, as Mayor Kevin Johnson hinted at a meeting with the NBA board of governors last week.
“There’s been conversation,” Van Dusen said, but declined to provide more details.
If Burkle becomes involved in the effort, it would boost Sacramento’s chances of keeping the Kings, but the city would probably still have to pitch in for a new arena, Van Dusen added.
“Voters have indicated they’re not willing to tax themselves, right? But in other communities across the U.S. they are willing to tax others, so if you start looking at tourism taxes, whether its rental cars or airport fees or whatever it is,” he said.