SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new book shows the inside story of how Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson kept the Sacramento Kings in town.
The book, is by the former special assistant to Johnson, who says the mayor cared about the Sacramento economy, not the team.
“Kevin Johnson hates the Kings,” said author R.E. Graswich. “He still holds a grudge from 1987 when they drafted Kenny Smith one spot ahead of Kevin Johnson.”
In Vagrant Kings, Graswich covers the Kings drama-filled legacy. It all unfolded with the one-time Sacramento Bee columnist and CBS13 commentator in a front-row seat.
“Every step of the way, Kevin had a coach,” he said.
The mayor’s been called a hero for keeping the Kings, but Graswich says NBA Commissioner David Stern is the real Sacramento savior.
“It’s David Stern driving this thing. Kevin is the loyal soldier,” he said.
Stern saw the Sacramento Kings as his project. The team moved from Kansas City a year before he became commissioner.
The issue of a new arena still plagues the team. Graswich says the mayor always preferred the Downtown Plaza location over the railyards, but the plaza cost too much.
“We had it penciled at $600 [million]-plus. How are they going to do it at $200 million?” he said.
The book also delves into Johnson’s personal life and molestation accusations that came to light during his first mayoral campaign.
“Hopefully you still like the guy when you finish reading it,” Graswich said.
The electronic edition of the book will be released on Sunday.