Give Up The Ghost Maloofs, Sacramento Kings Sale Is Bigger Than Basketball


April 18, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings owners Gavin Maloof (left) and Joe Maloof (right) court side against the San Antonio Spurs during the second quarter at Power Balance Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The definition of greed:

"a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed"

Only thing missing? Pictures of Joe, Gavin, George and the rest of the family.

The Maloofs purchased the majority stake of the Sacramento Kings in 1999 after purchasing a partial stake in 1998 – eventually deciding to sell the franchise early this year despite their continued verbal spewing that they “loved Sacramento” and would “never sell”.

They literally picked up a phone and called season ticket holders recently as just a handful of months ago, one on one, pledging their commitment to the city and fans – little did we know that they were quietly talking to Chris Hansen about what would eventually become a binding sale to the Seattle group.

There was no opportunity given for Sacramento to purchase the franchise that has called the California capital home for nearly the past three decades. What there were though were denials – denials that the team was on the block. Denials that the Maloof family wanted to sell. Rejections to any Sacramento bidder who wanted to step up and offer up their funds for the franchise. But then out of the blue, the franchise was sold in a cover of night that would make Art Modell jealous.

What the Maloof family fails to realize or more likely not care about, is what they’re doing to the Sacramento community.

There aren’t many locales across the country that can sympathize with Sacramento, not even Seattle who was shafted of their team in a similar fashion. There is no other option in Sacramento – no other team. The Kings are a financial boom to the economy as are the events that take place at the old barn. Sadly, as the building has deteriorated, so have the amount of events being held at the arena – one of the many reasons a new venue is needed to continue the financial benefit of having a professional sports and entertainment city.

Taking the Kings away from Sacramento is a damaging blow to the cities economics, especially given what would be with a new arena. From All-Star games to NCAA Championships to everything in between, a downtown entertainment complex would change the landscape of Sacramento’s commercial financials. More than that – hundreds upon hundreds of families across the Sacramento area rely on the Kings franchise along with the arena for their paycheck. From basketball operations to security to ticket brokers to parking attendants and countless others, losing the Kings along with at least 41 at minimum uses of the arena yearly would be devastating.

Say what you will about building a new complex without a team – it’s not going to be easy. Concerts will stay towards the Bay Area, especially if a new Warriors complex is built in San Francisco. NCAA tournaments will overlook the neglected barn. There wont be any need for new hotels – new tourism. Countless jobs will be lost. Many more never created. The list goes on and on – losing the Kings isn’t just about losing a basketball team, it’s far, far greater. There will be a trickle down effect felt throughout the Sacramento community and even into greater areas like Modesto, Stockton, etc.

The unfortunate thing about all of this – it doesn’t have to be this way. Sacramento has stepped up across the board – NBA Commissioner David Stern today saying that essentially the Maloofs will come out of this Kings sale with nearly identical money no matter if Seattle or Sacramento is awarded the franchise.

Clearly, after signing legal documents with the Hansen-Ballmer group, the Maloof family doesn’t want to put themselves into a position where they can be on the wrong end of a lawsuit, one they would undoubtedly be facing if they decided to reverse course and enter into talks with Sacramento. They’ve made their bed and what a greedy bed it is.

It didn’t have to be this way, Maloofs – that’s what is so painful. Sacramento would’ve been more than happy to step up with a valuable offer had you put the team up for sale. But you’ve long desired a sucker – and that’s not a slight at the Hansen-Ballmer group, it’s just the Maloof family searched and searched for desperation and found it. Now they’ve turned two communities into nervous wrecks, all because they wanted to line their pockets just that much more.

You’ll never realize what you’re doing is far greater than selling a basketball team. You’re trying to stomp on the neck of a community that has supported you over and over, despite you spitting in their face an insufferable amount of times. You’re killing thousands of jobs. You’re killing thousands more that would be created. So many outside of Sacramento look at this in a cut and dry form – basketball. That’s it. But what many overlook are the economics. People, many people, are directly being hurt by this. Yes – these things do happen in life, but this didn’t have to happen.

You could have rode out into the sunset – went down as respected former owners, who despite a few hard years, helped turn the Sacramento Kings franchise into a global power. Instead, you decided your employees aren’t worth it. Your fans, aren’t worth it. The Sacramento community, isn’t worth it. Every single ounce of support you were ever given, wasn’t worth it.

Funny thing is though – we are worth it. And we’re going to make sure you’re fully aware of it.