It started a couple years back with the slogan "Here We Stay"
- a chant by fans who would not leave what they feared was the
final game in Sacramento Kings history. Then, it was "Here We
Build" - the push for a new arena. On Wednesday, you
could say it was "Here We Wait" - as Kings fans sat through
hours of suspense
before finally hearing the news they longed
to hear: their team is staying home.
"Hurry Up and Wait"
It was mid-afternoon in Dallas, early afternoon in the two
west coast cities whose NBA fate was being weighed right at that
moment inside the ballroom at a Dallas hotel room. And
outside, the media and fans from both cities waited - and waited -
Kings fan Mike Tavares just flew in that morning. "We
left around - well, past midnight," he said. "But we had two
delays. But we got here maybe 9, 9:30. And we've been
sitting here. And it's, what, 3:00 I think?"
Tavares and about a dozen other Sacramento and Seattle fans
hung out in the hotel lobby, watching and waiting. "It's kind
of a hurry-up-and-wait kind of thing," he said. "You see the
owners come through, and then it dies down. Then you see the
[Seattle investor Chris] Hansen group go through - quiet
again. And then you see [Sacramento Mayor Kevin
The meeting started around 11am Pacific time. Hansen's
group made its presentation first. Then came Johnson and his
group. And then, for about an hour and a half, the 30 owners
Kings fan Valissa Lewis was nervous: "Are we gonna keep our
team or are we not?" she wondered.
Others were more confident, saying that momentum - and the NBA
Relocation Committee's recommendation - were on Sacramento's
The Wait Ends
The wait officially ended around 3:15pm in Sacramento, when
NBA Commissioner David Stern made this announcement: "The NBA Board
of Governors voted to reject the relocation of the Sacramento Kings
The vote, he said, was 22 to 8. "This
was not an anti‑Seattle vote; this was a pro‑Sacramento
Stern said Sacramento has done everything the NBA asked it to:
match the Seattle group's offer, find an ownership group and
approve an arena project. Given that, he said, there was no
reason to move the team.
Not Over Yet
But the anti-relocation vote is only half the battle.
The other half is securing the sale from the Kings' current owners,
the Maloof family, to the investor group organized by Mayor Johnson
that's promised to build a downtown
The commissioner said he hopes that will happen in the next
day or two. "We think that because the Maloofs have overall
been very good for Sacramento and the Kings and the NBA, that they
will be motivated to do something fast so that the franchise can
get cranking," Stern said.
Lead Sacramento investor Vivek Ranadive says his group is
ready to go. "Our lawyers have been talking for some time,
and we believe we can get this done very quickly," he said.
Emotionally exhausted Kings owner George Maloof wouldn't rule
out the possibility his family would keep the team - and sell a
minority stake to the Seattle investor group. On the other
hand, he said he respected the league's decision and said talks
with the Sacramento group have been ongoing for weeks. "The
mayor did a great job, put a great team together, and so we'll see
what happens," Maloof said. "It's not over. We'll just
see what happens."
Lead Seattle investor Chris Hansen issued
. He admitted "extreme disappointment" but
reiterated his hope to join the Maloofs as limited partners.
That doesn't seem to be what most people in Sacramento want -
nor, it appears, the NBA. But after exulting in his city's
"proud moment," Mayor Johnson went out of his way to praise the
"Had they not created an environment where they could have
accepted the back‑up offer, we would be dead in the water," the
mayor said. "So we owe them a debt of gratitude for the
commitment they've had in our city for over a decade and certainly
allowing us to have a back‑up offer."
A few minutes later, Johnson sat down with George Maloof for a