OAKLAND,CA - Vivek Ranadive, the third "whale" equity investor to join Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov in the effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento, spoke publicly for the first time since the city of Sacramento announced they had a reached a deal to build an arena at the Downtown Plaza site.
"Every now and then you have an opportunity that's bigger than yourself," Ranadivetold News10 reporter Nick Monacelli at OracleArena Monday night."And the opportunity to keep the Kings in Sacramento, when the mayor called and asked me about it, I couldn't possibly say no."
Ranadive's addition to the Burkle-Mastrovteam came as surprise last Thursday while the group was in negotiations with the city.
Then Monday night, Ranadive had another surprise, the announcement of a fourth "whale" equity investor: the Jacobs family of San Diego who helpedstart Qualcomm.
"We've also assembled a dream team of investors and owners. One of the lessons I learned was to surround myself with people a lot smarter than me, and so my partners are all smarter than me," said Ranadive. "So we now have people from all economic centers of the state, from San Diego, L.A. and from the Bay Area, all coming together to keep the Kings in Sacramento."
The team of Ranadive-Mastrov-Burkle-Jacobs along with the city of Sacramento will now have to convince the NBA Board of Governors their deal to keep the Kings in Sacramento is stronger than Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen's bid to move the team to Seattle.
Both groups will make their formal pitches to the NBA on April 3, with the official vote on April 18 or 19 in New York.
"I think that Hansen is a good guy, Ballmer is a good guy, and Seattle is a great city. They should have a team, just not the Sacramento Kings," Ranadive said.
One possible advantage the Ranadive-led groupmay have over the Hansen-Ballmer bid is the ability to helptheSacramento Kings and the NBA grow globally.
Two years ago, Ranadive made history when he brought BollywoodNight tothe Golden State Warriors where he is currently a minority owner, and broadcast the first live NBA game in his native India.
"We believe Sacramento will be a global center. It is theState Capitol and having a sportsteam is essential. Cities find it hard to thrive without sports teams, and this goes back to the Roman times when theyhadcoliseums," explained Ranadive. "So we want to create the 21st century coliseum right in downtown Sacramento and want to develop the whole area. We think it's going to be magical, and we think the entire world is going to applaud andenjoy this effort."