NBA Owners Vote Against Kings-to-Seattle Plan

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The thirty owners of the NBA have resoundingly voted to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.  A late, but strong effort, led by Mayor of Sacramento (and former NBA star) Kevin Johnson convinced the wealthy individuals, who didn’t quite have the same reservations when it came to allowing a team to leave Seattle a couple of years ago, to vote 22-8 in favour of leaving a team in the Californian capital.

KJ at his best

Johnson was aided by Vivek Ranadive, the founder of TIBCO Software (and part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, see and the two campaigned locally to establish the framework for a new arena, one of the major sticking points for the city of Seattle which has a reasonable facility in the shape of the KeyArena, but one that was not considered modern enough to retain the Sonics.

There have been rumours that the Maloof brothers (owners of the Las Vegas Palms resort) were not keen to sell the Kings to Ranadive and preferred the offer tabled by the Seattle group, led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (Microsoft has strong ties with Seattle sports, co-founder Paul Allen is a co-owner of the Seattle Sounders MLS team) and Chris Hansen.

Ballmer at a latter-day Sonics game

Bill Simmons has long been a “fan” of the Maloofs, as this 2011 article shows:  They have disillusioned their fans to the point that the Kings had the lowest average attendance in the entire NBA last season at 13,749.  It is teams like Sacramento who are contributing to the surprising statistic (as per The Atlantic Wire) that the NBA’s average attendance was actually lower than that of Major League Soccer last season.  The average MLS game was watched by 17,872 fans, compared to 17,323 at the average NBA game.

So the great pacific northwest city of Seattle faces a longer wait for a team.  In the meantime, why not busy yourself with the excellent “Requiem for a Team” documentary?


Andrew was something of a latecomer to the game of basketball, having given up rugby after leaving high school. Joining Edinburgh’s fabled Pentland Tigers, he quickly moved on to the East Lothian Peregrines in the Scottish national league before moving to Belfast where he played with Queens and then with Belfast Star. After a year in the superleague, he moved back to Scotland and played with the Scottish Rocks in the BBL. He “retired” (the McDermott rule for using the word “retire” instead of “stopped playing” does require you to have been paid to play, so technically he retired) and moved to Seattle where he began life as an academic, which currently sees him working at University College Dublin. He is a legitimate non-frontrunning Miami Heat fan, having taken up following the team in 2001.

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