Reporting Steve Large
HOUSTON (CBS13) – With the NBA All-Star weekend all wrapped up, Mayor Kevin Johnson is still working on his last-second shot to save the Kings.
“Well if it does go through, it’ll be sad for the Sacramento fans,” NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal said.
At the NBA All-Star weekend, Johnson’s days were packed as darted through underground corridors and from one reporter interview to another – in an effort to make the case for keeping the Kings.
“I know Kevin Johnson is a fighter,” said O’Neal.
It’s the way former NBA players remember him: battling on the basketball court. Ironically, O’Neal’s own outlook on the future of the Kings is exactly what Johnson is here to change.
“I thought the sale is going through. Is it going through?” he said.
Johnson was in Houston to tell NBA “power players” the deal is not done, and says he is reaching the people who will decide the Kings future: the NBA owners.
“I know who the key players are, I know who makes the decisions, and I’m doing everything I can to touch each of those folks along the way,” Johnson said at a Saturday press conference.
At his all-star press conference NBA Commissioner David Stern said owners remain open-minded.
“I think the owners are going to have a tough issue to decide, but I don’t want to get to it because we don’t have the predicate for that tough decision yet,” he said.
Johnson has not said exactly which NBA owner’s he talked to at the NBA All-Star weekend.
When CBS13 asked NBA relocation chair Clay Bennett outside the Four Seasons Hotel if he was talking with Mayor Johnson, he refused to comment.
Other notable NBA owners and executives seen at the hotel included Donald Sterling, Pat Riley and former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, who says he has been helping Johnson, his former player.
“We’re in constant contact about his circumstances. I try to help him, prepare him, for those meetings that might be of some help to him,” Colangelo told CBS13 on Friday.
The mayor’s all-star final act to keep the Kings is now complete, but the team’s future is still in question.