From Bashing & Ridiculing the Team to Later Owning It, Shaquille O’Neal’s Love Hate Relation with Sacramento Kings

Published 02/12/2021, 1:59 PM EST
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 18: Shaquille O’Neal arrives ahead of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal was arguably the most fierce man on the court. Standing tall at 7’1  and weighing a massive 340 pounds, ‘Diesel’ dominated his opponents left, right and center with his skillset, coupled with that massive build.

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After his retirement, Shaq has been deemed as one of the funniest NBA analysts. But the often overlooked aspect of his post-retirement moves has been the strides he has taken as a businessman.

Over the years, Shaq has cemented his position as one of the most successful businessmen in the NBA. He has invested in the likes of Papa Johns Pizza and Google to name a few. But in 2013, Shaq made an investment which was somewhat of a head scratcher.

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Shaquille O’Neal Invests in Sacramento Kings

Shaq and the Sacramento Kings have a storied history. When O’Neal played for the Lakers, the Sacramento Kings and the Lakers shared a bitter rivalry.

While the duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led the Purple and Gold, the Kings played an unselfish brand of basketball with players like Vlade Divac and Chris Webber leading the side.

Ahead of their clash in the 2002-03 Western Conference Finals, the cocky Shaq was at his best. Before the series even started, the then 30-year-old labelled the Sacramento Kings as the ‘Queens.’ This did not bode well with many fans and the Kings, but ultimately, the Lakers prevailed in a controversial seven-game series.

In 2013, when the Sacramento Kings were sold to millionaire Vivek Ranadive, the then retired star bought a minority stake of the team and officially became a part-owner of the Kings.

In a press conference during this announcement, Shaq explained why he had made those comments about the Kings.

He said, ” (Sacramento) was a tough place to play.” He added, “I know today you’re going to ask me about my ‘Queens’ comments. I was a marketing expert, and I just wanted to rile the people up.”

“In my mind, if we could survive this and win here, we will win the championship. So, I wanted to bring everybody out. I understand their passion — a lot of people took it personal. If I offended anyone, I apologize.”

How have the Kings performed under Shaq’s ownership

With Shaq on board, it was expected that the 4-time champion would help the team to finally make it to the playoffs. That hasn’t been the case so far. The Kings are amongst the worst run franchises in NBA and haven’t made the playoffs since 2005-06.

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In fact, it seems like even Shaq is least bothered with the side. On an episode of Inside the NBA in 2020, O’Neal forgot who Harrison Barnes was despite being the Kings’ co-owner.

Shaq says “my Sacramento Kings” are going to make the playoffs, and then proceeds not to know who Harrison Barnes is😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/C9Vivd9ZtL

— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 28, 2020

The Kings, over the years, have also been massively unlucky with their draft picks. The most notable example was when they passed on Serbian prodigy Luka Doncic and drafted Marvin Bagley III instead.

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While Bagley has been decent, Doncic could have been the franchise player for the team. The Kings have a decent young side but might need some help. Can they break their drought and finally make it to the playoffs this season?

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Aditya Mohapatra

620 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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