SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Cheers of “Sacramento” echoed throughout Terminal A of the Sacramento International Airport Monday as Mayor Kevin Johnson made his way down the escalator.
Fans came to the airport decked out in Kings gear, throwing their support behind Mayor Johnson, who returned from NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston. The mayor was on a three-day trip to convince league owners that the Kings need to stay in California.
“I can just tell you that everyone I talked to — and I am not going to be specific — but everyone is rooting for Sacramento,” said Mayor Johnson.
The city needs just eight of the 30 league teams to vote no on the deal between the Maloofs and Seattle’s Chris Hansen to block the sale. Fans are confident the mayor can get it done.
The mayor says during the next two weeks he is going to reach out once again to local companies to show the NBA that the sponsorship dollars will be there to support the Kings with new owners.
“Bottom line, I’m more focused and confident than I was before. This deal’s not done. We’re going to figure out how to keep our team here in Sacramento,” said Mayor Johnson.
“They listened two years ago when we didn’t have an arena plan, when we didn’t have potential buyers, the team wasn’t for sale,” said Kings fan Adriana Ortiz. “I think our odds are way better this time.”
Mayor Johnson said he would not negotiate in public, so he would not reveal the names of the owners he talked to over the entire weekend. He says he will make a very strong pitch for the Kings by the March 1 deadline.