Shaquille O’Neal, who once referred to the Sacramento Kings as the “Queens,” is buying a minority stake in the National Basketball Association franchise, the club said.
The Kings were sold in May to a group led by software billionaire Vivek Ranadive, who is the league’s first Indian-born owner. O’Neal will be introduced tomorrow morning in Sacramento, the Kings said in a statement.
Perry Rogers, O’Neal’s agent, declined in a telephone interview to say how much O’Neal paid or what size stake he’s taking in the club. Rogers did say O’Neal is a limited partner.
The group paid the Maloof family $347 million for a 65 percent stake, which values the team at an NBA-record $535 million. The team is building a new arena.
O’Neal’s Lakers eliminated the Kings en route to championships from 2000 to 2002. The league’s Most Valuable Player for the 1999-2000 season and a 15-time All-Star, O’Neal is an NBA analyst with Turner Sports’ TNT.
The Kings were 28-54 last season.
O’Neal joins a growing list of former players who have become owners, including Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, who is now the controlling partner of the Charlotte Bobcats. Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd bought a stake in the team from music mogul Jay Z, who had to divest his stake in order to represent NBA players as an agent.
Former Kings player Mitch Richmond is also part of the ownership group.