SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) –– Mayor Kevin Johnson on Monday called the decision by the owners of the Sacramento Kings to keep the NBA team in the city another year a winning playoff moment and pledged to keep the public informed about future arena plans.

“This is one of the proudest moments of my life because the community believed when no one else did. We kept believing. And if you believe, anything is possible,” Johnson said during a news conference outside City Hall, where he was joined by other elected officials and business leaders to celebrate the decision.

The Kings had been considering a move to Anaheim after several failed efforts to build an arena in Sacramento but decided to give Johnson one more shot. Monday was the team’s deadline to seek league permission to relocate.

“This was our playoffs. And Anaheim, we won,” Johnson said.

Team co-owner Joe Maloof said the Kings will move if Johnson fails to make good on his promise to fund a new arena. The franchise moved to Sacramento in 1985 from Kansas City. The club started in Rochester, N.Y., and was known as the Royals.

Johnson pledged to be transparent about financing plans for a new arena, which likely will blend public and private money. He said the corporate community already has “over-delivered” with $10 million in additional sponsorships pledges. Beyond civic pride, he stressed the economic stimulus of having a major league team in town.

“What’s different this time is we are all in it together and we are all collectively going to find a way to get the ball across the finish line,” the mayor said. “And part of that is building a new entertainment and sports complex — not for the Maloofs, not for the Kings, but for the best interest of Sacramento.”

Johnson said he will meet with the Maloofs this week and ask supporters to channel all their efforts to save the Kings into ticket sales and sponsorships. Sacramento has to show the Maloofs by March 1, when the owners have to file relocation plans with the NBA, that there is a path to funding and financing a new sports complex.

Johnson and other civic leaders have been pushing for a new arena in downtown Sacramento to replace the Kings’ current home north of downtown. It was built in 1988 and is considered insufficient by today’s standards.

A vote in 2006 on a quarter-cent sales tax in Sacramento County to fund a new arena failed overwhelmingly, 80 percent to 20 percent. Even though public dollars would have been used to pay for the arena, that deal had been structured strongly in favor of the Maloof family.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said he was disappointed in the announcement but respects the decision by the Maloofs. In a statement, he said the city remains optimistic that it someday will be home to an NBA team.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento, which is across the Sacramento River from the state capital, said the yearlong reprieve was a big win not just for Sacramento, but the entire region. U.S. Census Bureau data show the Sacramento metropolitan area has a population of more than 2.1 million people.

“Yeah, the hard work begins today as we move forward with maybe our last chance, but it is our best chance to move forward with a sports and entertainment facility and a long-term home for the NBA here in the Sacramento region,” Cabaldon said. “The wind is at our back.”

Fans like Blake Ellington, a blogger and writer who helped rally community support over social networks, said he thinks there will be public support to build a new arena.

John Palaca, a fan from Sacramento, said he hopes the Maloofs’ decision to keep the Kings in the capital will motivate leaders to act on a new arena.

“I think that’s awesome, but Sacramento has to realize we need a sports complex,” he said while at MVP Sports Grill on Monday. “Without that, we’re not going to attract any teams.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (22)
  1. pete says:

    could we just give anaheim some cash to take the maloofs and the kings stay in sacramento

  2. jen says:

    Pete I love that idea!

  3. mike says:

    good the wedding’s over and now maybe after a few more day’s this will be over,like the move ground hog day that’s all they want to talk about,now we can get to the real things in life like how don’s wife dresses him every day

  4. Reality says:

    You guys can’t seriously blame the Maloof family. They’ve been asking for a new complex for years and haven’t received it. Everyone associated with Arco contends it needs to be replaced. Don’t blame the owner for that because this community hasn’t made it happen in a decade. I’m not happy about how it’s been handled, either, but they’re doing what every other owner does. They probably do have money problems but that’s not the issue. Some billionaire comes along and buys the team… it’ll be more of the same. These guys don’t get rich by being generous and caring about you and me.

    Subsequently, the Maloofs can’t be little b*tches about the fans being upset. Kings fans are loyal and fought for our team. Everyone needs to put down the animosity and build a new entertainment venue. Unless Sacramento wants to be more like Fresno, wait… Fresno found a way to build a new arena. C’mon, guys, this new venue benefits everyone.

  5. Eddddy says:

    Who gives a hoot. Send the kings to the south and save us some tax funds.

  6. Susie says:

    Yeah…. Happy the Kings are staying atleast one more year

  7. Natomas Newbie says:

    If we all chip in and pay for the U-hauls perhaps they will finally leave? I can’t stand another year of those whiney millionaires complaining about needing a new arena.

  8. Little brains says:

    Hey, Newbie, get yourself educated. EVERYONE is complaining that a new arena is necessary, included the NCAA that wouldn’t bring the regional finals here because the arena is too old. That cost this community a ton of revenue. Lost restaurant money… lost hotel money… lost rental car money… etc.

    You get the picture, little brain?

  9. Edddddddy says:

    Nice Eddddddddddddddddddddy. Spell much? Grammar much? Dude, you must have at least a triple digit IQ to have an opinion. Go away.

  10. Waiting for the Bust to Happen says:

    Man, the Maloof brothers look all drugged out… Especially the one with the big dark circles around his eyes…..

    And Kevin Johnson is looking a little bit drugged out too…..

    Too much Cocaine boy’s?????

    Johnson, you better get your act together…. You’re looking pretty bad there bud…. And not in a good way….

    Well, I say, we milk the Kings for everything that we can get…. That means all of the revenue that goes with it….

    And in the meantime, keep our eyes open for another team to take their place next year….

    That is, if the maloof’s have not drug overdosed and died….

    So, Johnson, who supplies your Cocaine????

    Man, how can we expect you to clean up our city, when you would test dirty if we drug tested you????? And you are as dirty as we all think???? HUH??? You can’t even clean up yourself…. You need to be flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s, instead of being our Mayor…. You are not a Mayor, you are a fuc_king drug addict, and you and the Maloof’s are playing a dangerous game here…. I hope you all get busted big time….

    1. It's a Hellofadrug says:

      Wow, really? I usually don’t waste my time commenting on such posts, but you’re way out there! What’s up with the drug talk? You looking for a new connection?

      1. It's a bad drug says:

        Dude, I see that persons point. They do look drugged out.

        And if you took time to read that persons comment and understood it, then you would know that he or she was really saying, that Johnson has not been doing his job as Mayor, and instead of doing some lines with the maloof’s, that he better get it together and clean up his act.

        Looking for a new connection…. Yeah, right.

  11. Maloofs_whine says:

    “Out of respect to Kings fans and the regional business community, we have decided to remain in Sacramento for the 2011-12 season.” Are you kidding??? They didn’t ‘decide’ anything….and to say it was out of respect rather than self serving reasons is just lip service! Just say it like it is!

  12. Commenting on a comment says:

    I agree with you. I too think they are all on drugs.

    And I want to know what is up with someone invading your comment and using it for an ad. On the part that you say, “our city”. Wonder what’s up with that…

    At least it was a car made in >>>> America <<<<

  13. Deal Went Bad says:

    Well they have no place to go now that Bin Laden is dead. Their deal to move to Pakistan is kind of off the table.

  14. cementmixer says:

    Now charge their loyal fans a $200.00 surcharge for each ticket to pay for the new arena. I’ts only fair because they love the tean so much.Kevin can leave Sacramento now that is job is done.Nothing to do now. Sacramento has no money problems, no murders,And no crime.Must be a nice place to live.

  15. Sick of hearing about the Kings says:

    Can we stop talking about them now for the next year?? The Kings are always the Top News Story everyday and I am tired of hearing about them. Is there no other news???

  16. Dave Canoy says:

    let them go. it is not like they win all the time!!!!

  17. Jon Harris says:

    Thanks Kevin Johnson you represented us with great enthusiasm and showed we can get things accomplished as a city. Very proud day for Sacramento!

  18. Cow Town says:

    The financial benefits that a professional sports franchise brings to a city are intangible. This is a city that before the Kings, made such a roar to any of the major league powers that be in the NFL, MLB and NBA that they could support a franchise. Well you got one…now support it!! LOOK, this new arena is a responsibility of any metro area the size of the Sacramento area. It’s necessary to draw top concert acts, NCAA events and professional sports. Lets revitalize Sacramento and get it on the road to economic recovery. The new arena is a necessary piece of the puzzle and is about more than just the Kings. It’s about putting dollars into the local economy. WAKE UP SACRAMENTO!! Was Phil Jackson right about it just being a COW TOWN?

  19. OneManBand storyteller of Sacramento says:

    I would agree to a higher sales tax to get them out of here once and for all… and tear down the arena so they can’t come back.

    All professional sports leagues are detrimental to genuine local cultural stressing events with real community involvement. Overpaid thugs from out of town playing a kids game are poor role models for kids anyway you look at it.

    The same thing goes for top concert acts. True culture is cultivated from within a community, not imported from outside promoters.

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