Kevin Johnson is a superstar. The work that KJ — former NBA star, Sacramento native, and current Mayor of Sacramento — did over the past few years to help save the Sacramento Kings, get the new Sacramento arena project on track, and rebuild the city’s trust and hope in the Kings after the Maloof family nearly ruined professional basketball in Sacramento made him a hero in my hometown. Now, with the Donald Sterling situation, Mayor Johnson took a leadership role in consultation with Chris Paul and the NBA Player’s Association and has been an eloquent voice on behalf of the players over the past few days.
KJ is a political star, but he’s in a tough spot. Currently, Jerry Brown is running for re-election as Governor of California (and is a shoo-in for re-election). Governor Brown will seemingly serve until 2019. Mayor Johnson would normally be a rising political star possibly in line for a shot at Governor, but he’s got a couple other young, rising (or already-risen) political stars amongst California Democrats — Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris, either of whom will likely want a shot at the Governor’s office, eventually. If either Senator Boxer or Senator Feinstein finally decide to step down, there’s a possibility that a Senate seat might be a good fit for Kevin Johnson. I think Kamala Harris has a better shot and brighter prospects nationally, but Kevin Johnson can’t be counted out. Who knows? Maybe he’ll happily remain in his hometown of Sacramento, but I think he has bigger ambitions…
Hey Sacramento: Four people killed and 14 other wounded in 11 separate shootings last weekend?! What’s going on back home? Stay safe this weekend.
I don’t mind personal questions at all. If it’s something I don’t want to answer, I won’t, but I really don’t have much of a problem with most of the personal questions that I am asked.
I was born at 1:23 PM on January 20, 1980 at Sutter Memorial Hospital in downtown Sacramento, California. Oddly enough for what I would eventually do with my life, my birthday is Presidential Inauguration Day. While there wasn’t an inauguration on the day I was born in 1980 (Jimmy Carter was entering the final year of his Presidency; Ronald Reagan was inaugurated on my 1st birthday), I was born on the same day as Super Bowl XIV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams.
There’s no need to calculate which Super Bowl that was and which Super Bowl just took place. It makes me sound old.
Goddamn, have you been stalking me since 2002? Yes, I was part of the KiddChris Show in Sacramento and then long-distance when he was on in San Antonio and Philadelphia (although I did make two live appearances in Philly because my fans demanded it). However, I was the voice of reason and never did anything inappropriate or that would be considered “shock-jock” material, no matter what doctored audio that might exist out there that suggests otherwise.
Now Chris and the crew are spreading their filth in Cincinnati, but I refuse to appear on the new version of the show because Cincinnati’s not a large enough media market for someone of my celebrity stature.
What’s up, little brother?! Our birthdays are coming up. (Calispeaks is my “little brother” because we were born one day apart in the same year — 1992, ahem.)
I’m getting my news from a distance, but from everything I hear, Vivek Ranadive, the new owner of the Kings, has been incredible. I love the dude’s creativity and enthusiasm. And I was pleasantly surprised to read Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath, which spends the first chapter focusing on how Vivek found what works to his advantage to find success (not with the Kings, FYI) against the odds. I’m very thankful for Vivek Ranadive, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and NBA Commissioner David Stern — they not only saved the Kings, but they saved the city of Sacramento.
From what I’ve heard of the arena plan, I’m excited. I really hope it revitalizes downtown, which has so much potential and has been such a disappointment for so long. I’m getting local, but it’s surprising that the sites that have always been rumored for a new arena — the railyards and Cal Expo — were passed over for Downtown Plaza. But it makes a lot of sense because it could turn K Street into something really special and Old Sacramento could be reborn. (By the way, I always thought the former McClellan Air Force Base was the perfect spot for an arena. Cleanup of the site would be tough, but it would be the best place in the city when it comes to traffic on gameday from every direction.)
I don’t know when I’m coming back! I need to visit. I miss everybody and I miss my city. I miss walking around Capitol Park, grabbing some food at the Esquire Grill, or sitting in the lobby of the Sheraton Grand and drinking like a gentleman. Honestly, I’d love to see another game in ARCO Arena (I’m not calling it by its new name) before it closes. I’ll miss that place, especially since we (me and you) had the run of it so many times when the Monarchs were playing! Are there plans to bring the Monarchs back? Little known fact: everyone’s favorite Tumblr Presidential historian (that’s me, I hope) was a huge fan of the WNBA when the Sacramento Monarchs were in the league and rarely missed a game.
I miss you, Cali! The state and my friend. We’ll catch up on the phone sometime soon.
Sacramento has two out of the five longest sellout streaks in NBA history — the Kings have sold out all 41 home games in Sacramento for 19 out of their 28 seasons in California. And many of those seasons were when the Kings were absolutely dreadful — the Mitch Richmond, Lionel Simmons, Wayman Tisdale, Olden Polynice era.
Since 2008, the attendance has dropped mostly because the Maloofs turned into the worst owners in the NBA and actively seemed to be destroying basketball in Sacramento. Plus, Sacramento was in the midst of an economic crisis that was even worsw than the national crisis. The unemployment average and home foreclosure rates in Sacramento were significantly higher than the average throughout the nation. And during that time, not only did the Kings have really bad teams and no star player to market, but the Maloofs continued raising ticket prices. When ticket prices were lowered, the fans started filling ARCO Arena again.
And I hate to pick on Seattle because I truly do believe they deserve an NBA team, but during the 23 seasons that there were NBA teams in Sacramento and Seattle (1985-2008), the Kings averaged better attendance than the Sonics in 20 of the seasons, even though the Sonics usually had far better teams. During that time, the Kings sold out every game for 19 seasons; the Sonics sold out every game in just 6 seasons. It’s also worth pointing out that throughout the 3-year-long saga that has seen the Maloofs doing everything they can to get the Kings out of Sacramento, fans continued coming to games and showing their love for the team. During the Sonics last two seasons in Key Arena (basketball capacity: 17,072) fans in Seattle didn’t exactly show up in droves to express their support. In 2006-2007, the Sonics averaged 15,955 each home game. In their final season in Seattle, 2007-2008, the Sonics averaged 13,355 fans per game — leaving nearly 4,000 empty seats every single night. I know that Seattle fans were pissed about having a lame-duck team that was packed for Oklahoma City, but I’m just saying: that wouldn’t have happened in Sacramento. Hell, it didn’t happen in Sacramento — and the Kings looked like a lame-duck team in 2011 AND 2013.
Yes, I did. The first time was when I was leaving one of my favorite restaurants in Sacramento, the Esquire Grill, which is about a block away from the State Capitol and very close to the Hyatt Regency, which is where Governor Schwarzenegger stayed whenever he didn’t go home to Los Angeles.
I was walking out of the Esquire and held the door for a small group of obvious politicians — not an unusual sight in Downtown Sacramento on a weekday. I didn’t notice who it was immediately, but I heard him say, “Thank you,” and when I heard that unmistakable accent, I quickly said, “Uh, you’re welcome, Governor.” It wasn’t my smoothest moment. He shook my hand and was very pleasant.
I had another minor interaction with him just a few months after Obama announced he was running for President. We were putting together some sort of event in Sacramento and I had some invitations that I was supposed to drop off to potential surrogates and supporters at the Capitol. I delivered the invitations to a few State Senators and members of the State Assembly and had one to deliver to Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi. The Lieutenant Governor’s office is on the first floor, directly across the hall from the Governor’s office. When I came out of Lieutenant Governor Garamendi’s office, I saw Governor Schwarzenegger and two of his staffers walking into his office. No one else was in the hallway except one CHP officer who was standing nearby. I wanted to joke around and invite him to the Obama event, but once again, I came across like a complete nerd and just said, “Hi, Governor.” He waved as he headed into his office and I walked down the hallway thinking to myself, “Hi, Governor?! Who the hell do I think I am? Way to connect with the big wigs, Anthony.”
I saw Governor Schwarzenegger give a couple of speeches, too. One thing I noticed is that there is no way in hell that he is 6’2” as his bio says and how he was always listed as a bodybuilder. On a good day, I am a little over 5’8” and I would say that there’s no way that Schwarzenegger is more than 5’10”. Also, he must have the best tailor in the world because on each occasion that I saw him I quickly noticed how nice his business suits looked, and if you’ve ever seen my wardrobe, you’d know that I’m no expert on fashion.
More on Arnold will be coming soon because I am working on my review of his recently-released autobiography, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story (BOOK•KINDLE), which I really enjoyed and which gave me an appreciation and respect for the former Governor that I hadn’t expected.