My weekly power rankings were victims of timing. They had started just a few weeks prior to news breaking that the Maloofs were selling the team to Seattle. With our minds focused far away from the court, the power rankings were silently shelved. But now that it looks like the team is staying, it seems like a good time to dust these off.
There is quite a shake-up at the top of the list. A lot has changed. These rankings should reflect that.
1. Kevin Johnson
Where would we be without KJ? Seriously. Without a mayor like Kevin Johnson, Sacramento would have likely suffered the same fate as Seattle in 2008. The differences in political leadership are the biggest differences between the two outcomes.
1. Vivek Ranadivé, Mark Mastrov, Ron Burkle, The Jacobs family, et al.
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our beloved whales. Ron Burkle has been an honored name around here since the infamous "You've got Burkle?" moment. But he turned out to be the first. We have a tremendous group of investors who stepped up and believed in Sacramento as a market.
1. Here We Stay, Here We Buy, Crown Downtown, et al.
This entry is to represent everyone who got involved in the grassroots movements. Particularly Akis, Blake, Ed, Kevin, Tom, Mike, and a hundred others I'm surely forgetting and feel horrible for not mentioning by name. This entry includes anyone who showed up at a meeting, anyone who showed up at a Here We Buy game, anyone who participated in Here We Purple, all the folks who chanted endlessly in New York, anyone who spread our story via social media, anyone who donated money for tickets, and everyone who pledged tickets.
1. Sacramento media coverage
The amazing team at the Bee, including (but not limited to) Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler, Ryan Lillis, even Ailene Voisin. The amazing local television reporters, of which there are too many to name. And the online presence of folks like James Ham, Sam Amick, Aaron Bruski, and David Aldridge. The news wasn't always good for Sacramento, but we knew which news was reliable. We were given news with appropriate doses of skepticism. And still that skepticism remains, as it should. Nobody is declaring victory yet, because the coverage has been solid in ensuring we knew exactly where things stand.
1. Darrell Steinberg, and the Sacramento City Council
Similar to my comments about KJ, the political elements at play here were the game-changer. Having the force of local and state governments supporting our efforts to keep the Kings was a huge factor in this story.
1. David Stern and the NBA Board of Governors
I don't choose to believe that Stern was against Seattle in this process, or that he was necessarily for Sacramento. I believe Stern wanted to ensure that this was a fair fight. I believe Stern wanted to ensure the Maloofs didn't screw a market out of spite. When the Maloofs went behind Sacramento's back to attempt to sell the team to Seattle, I think Stern ensured Sacramento was given a fair opportunity to counter. If Sacramento had failed to do so, I think Stern would have been fine with the team moving to Seattle. I'm thankful Stern ensured that the NBA controlled the process, not the Maloofs. And I'm thankful that Stern gave Sacramento the opportunity to pull together a counteroffer. And I'm thankful that the Board of Governors considered both offers, both markets, and took extra time to ensure all their questions were answered. We may have agonized over each delay in this process, but I'm glad they took it serious enough to take that extra time.
This isn't a declaration of victory. I won't truly celebrate until the Maloofs have signed over the team. But given what has transpired in the last week, given the dramatic comeback from the assumed outcome in January, I felt it was a good time to thank and recognize all of the people who brought us this far. I'm sure I left out a couple very deserving people, and for that I truly apologize. Do me a favor and thank them in the comments.