How Love Found A Way – Part Two: Sweet Victory At Last


” I’m doing this for one reason, it’s time to fight. Somebody wants something that I own. It’s mine! And I’m not giving it up easily. I owe it to my kids, I owe it to my grandchild that’s going to be born in May and named after me thank goodness. I owe it to my neighbors, I owe it to my friends, I owe it to you to fight.” – Phil Oates


Kevin Johnson has defied the odds his entire life.

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He fought and clawed his way at only 6’1 to become a two time All-American at the University of California, and made the Cleveland Cavaliers regret trading him in just his second season as he went on to average 20 points and 10 assists for three straight seasons with the Phoenix Suns.

And then there was the dunk, the play that defines who Johnson was as a player as well as his personality. It shows the relentless tenacity and disregard for fear that helped him achieve all that he has in life.

It was Game 4 of the 1994 Western Conference Semifinals, and after Dan Majerle secured a Phoenix rebound, he handed it off to Johnson, who drove baseline past his man in the third quarter with open daylight as Houston’s soon to be Hall of Fame Center Hakeem Olajuwon was the lone force standing between himself and the basket. Only Johnson pretended like Olajuwon wasn’t even there as he rose up, elevated, and slammed the basketball home right on top of The Dream.

“Lets do it Sacramento!!” – Kevin Johnson

After his playing days were over, he came home and once again fought. Only this time he traded in his Nikes for a pair of dress shoes as he became Mayor to his hometown of Sacramento in 2008.

Now he was in arguably the battle of his political career as he tried his best at every turn to keep the Kings in town. Like he had done nearly his entire life, Johnson attacked the problem head on. He used his career and affiliation with the league to draw support at every turn.

He campaigned during the NBA All-Star Game in Houston to draw support and gain notoriety for the problem his city faced.

After the NBA let Sacramento know their bid would not be considered unless it was as large as Seattle’s, they were given an ultimatum: Provide a different bid by April 3rd so the Board of Governors could make a decision by at least April 13th.

But Johnson never broke, he was able to bring in his ultimate game changer in Vivek Ranadive to become a potential buyer for the team, and all of a sudden the dominoes began to fall.

“KJ was the MVP of this whole thing step for step,” Dave tells me on the phone

“I want to make that clear.”

 The movie that was being made all along

The trailer for the documentary appears at halftime during a Kings home game to roaring applause. It looks to be already drawing buzz from people inside the arena. What makes the movie that more intriguing was the fact that Prevatt and his guys at Franklin used only Sacramento tools and people.

“Everyone that was involved, whether it’s producing or helping with graphics, they’re all Sacramento people.” Prevatt says on the phone

While Dave and his crew were on the road, they’d send back all their tapes as Prevatt and is staff would upload the vlogs to the Youtube channel. After awhile they realized they had more than enough to make something even bigger.

“It was the Kings PA announcer, Scott Moak, who actually told us we were across the street from Franklin and that we could make a movie out of all this footage we had.” said Dave

Most people would want credit for the lone movie and leave the story there. What else is there to say once the story has been told once? That’s not enough for Dave.

“I hope and pray we have 1,000 documentaries about what took place here.” he tells me

The Trip

Dave, Sean, and Elliot were out on the road. Their goal was simple. Hit all 12 cities where there was a Board of Governors vote in the upcoming meeting to decide whether the Kings stayed in Sacramento. They were able on the fly to schedule meetings with media outlets as well as certain political figures.

Yet on the way, they encountered their fair share of obstacles as well. The RV kept breaking down, and when they arrived in San Antonio, it turned out to be way colder than expected, and a certain voodoo doll that Dave had acquired in New Orleans gave his wife a bad feeling.

“You know if the Kings leave it’ll be because of that doll you got.” she joked with him during a phone call in one of the vlogs

But even with the doll’s supposed bad omens in play, things were looking up for Team Purple. Vivek Ranadive sold his share of the Golden State Warriors in order to become a majority owner of Kings, and in March of that same year, City Council approved a key term sheet to finance a new arena.

Dave on the flipside of the trip had given up his ability to help his wife with their two kids, leaving stress on his mind being thousands of miles away from his family. He missed his family, his family missed him.

“That poor guy gave up his hard earned time away from his family in order to help keep this team here,” say an anonymous resident. “That’s respect right there”

The RV tour ended on schedule in New York City for the Board of Governor’s meeting. They were greeted by a slew of Kings fans making the trip to the Big Apple just like the three. Dave tells me about the struggle and sacrifice of the people in Sacramento being one of the biggest reasons for the team staying.

“Yes we went on that trip, but the people were the ones who held down the fort in the City and kept on fighting while we were gone.”

Going to War with the General

Mike Tavares doesn’t like doing interviews.

He prefers giving others their moment to shine while staying back. Yet when he does agree to talk to me, an interview that was supposed to be only an hour long turned into a four hour conversation.

“I could go on and on about this whole topic dude.” says Tavares

“The General” Mike Tavares with Adam Silver at a Kings game.

Whether he demands the attention or not, Tavares has earned it as founder of the grassroots group, Crown Downtown, though Kevin Johnson would later refer to him as “The General” due to his unique ritual of wearing an army cap to critical city events and meetings. Tavares compared the battle between Sacramento and Seattle like going to war.

“That’s how I felt, we’re going to war to keep this team”

The group eventually grew over the years with the sole purpose of allowing residents of Sacramento to voice their opinions and show support in hopes of keeping the Kings in Sacramento.

” The goal was to always spread information and keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.” Tavares tells me on the phone.

Tavares’ group made national headlines for their ability to fill meetings along with their remarkable ability to spread news fast and efficiently. Their numbers grew over the years from 2009 to 2013, which they would need as the battle to keep the Kings grew as the years passed.

While Kevin Johnson fought in the board rooms and Carmichael Dave and his guys fought on the RV, Tavares and his group were directly on the front lines. They constantly filled meetings, gave great interviews on local television stations, and remained focus to the cause.

And eventually for everybody that hard work would soon pay off.

The MVP closes the deal

Whatever Kevin Johnson said in the Board of Governors meeting, whatever the city of Sacramento did to persuade those members that they shouldn’t take their team, and whatever that voodoo doll brought to the table, it all worked.

The Kings won a unanimous 7-0 decision from the board to reject a move to Seattle. The first step in keeping the team was complete.

At the Owners meeting in Dallas, a 22-8 vote confirmed everything.

After years and years of failed ballots, arena proposals, and other roadblocks, the Kings now had two things they needed all along: A plan to build a new arena in Downtown Sacramento came to life, along with a new and energetic owner who was in love with the City of Sacramento. The heartbreak, waiting, all of it was now over forever.

The Kings would stay put in Sacramento.

V for Vendetta

It starts and ends with a ladder.

That same Carmichael Dave, who just two years prior had stood up on the same ladder preaching how the relocation situation wasn’t over, now was atop of that exact same one on opening night, with the knowledge of a brand new arena coming in just a few short years.

“They said binding! We said this thing isn’t over, not by a long shot” -Carmichael Dave

“I just kept thinking how surreal it was that we had gotten to this point that they had stayed as the lights dimmed and the glow sticks lit up the arena.” he tells me

The same kid from suburban Carmichael, who had grown up with this team in his own unique way, had helped them stay, along with the people in Sacramento, its Mayor and a new passionate owner.

Poetry in motion.