NBA Commissioner David Stern was in Sacramento on Wednesday to help usher in the new era of Kings basketball.
While in town, the commissioner got a look at the future arena site at Downtown Plaza, courtesy of Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Stern liked what he saw.
"I think that the site is a 'triple A' site in the words of real estate. It's well located, it's going to form the basis of a wonderful urban - 'renewal' isn't even a strong enough word - a re-imagining of downtown. Very, very exciting," Stern told Sactown Royalty. "I got the tour of not only that, but of Old Sacramento and the connection to the river and the various possibilities for 'Sacramento Live,' like L.A. Live - all good, couldn't be better."
Stern said he is in "regular communication" with Mayor Johnson and the Kings ownership group about the arena plans.
Stern became the commissioner of the NBA on Feb. 1, 1984, just before the Kings arrived in Sacramento, and he has been a staunch supporter of the team staying put over the last several years as numerous relocation threats surfaced. NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will take over for Stern on Feb. 1, 30 years after he took the job.
What does it mean to him that the team in staying in Sacramento?
"It means a lot to me that we were able to respond to this city, which responded so well to us," Stern told reporters on the "Purple Carpet" that was laid out in front of the security entrance of Sleep Train Arena at Wednesday's game.
During the first quarter of the game against the Denver Nuggets, Mayor Johnson presented Stern with the Key to the City.