O'Neal dominated the Kings during the Los Angeles Lakers' three-peat from 2000-02, but now the big man will try and help the Kings turn things around under new owner Vivek Ranadive:
"What interested me in this deal is the new vision, the new Kings, the new everything," O'Neal, who so famously deemed the Kings the "Queens" at the start of the 2002-03 season, said. "I've always wanted to be part of something like this...It's going to be great."
O'Neal will immediately get to work in his new role, meeting with Kings players and coaches in Sacramento and also having dinner with DeMarcus Cousins. O'Neal plans on mentoring Cousins, and his initial discussions with Kings ownership involved working with Cousins in a consultant role before things got more serious about becoming a minority owner.
One of the main reasons this partnership came to be is the friendship between O'Neal and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, who is part of the Kings' new ownership group. Ranadive highlighted that relationship among other things when discussing why he wanted O'Neal to join the team:
"I wanted to find somebody to add to the ownership group who truly represented 21st century basketball, who represented my vision of NBA 3.0, which is having an understanding of technology, wanting to build a global brand and being global in their thinking, and really being committed to having an impact in the community," Ranadive, the former Golden State Warriors minority owner who heads the group that bought the team for a league-record valuation of $535 million, told USA TODAY Sports. "The most iconic person on the planet was Dr. O'Neal. So Mark Mastrov is good friends with Dr. O'Neal, and Dr. O'Neal and I spent a day at my house shooting hoops, hanging out with my kids, and just talking about how to create the franchise of the 21st century.
"We talked about what the forces were that were shaping the 21st century, we talked about technology, we talked about new companies that we were looking at, and based on that we came to a conclusion that we could - what my (late) friend Steve Jobs likes to say - put a dent in the universe if Dr. O'Neal became my partner."
Sacramento's new ownership group will try and fix a franchise that was recently ranked as the worst in sports by ESPN. The Kings had floundered under the Maloof family and nearly moved to Seattle before the sale to Ranadive. A new arena in Sacramento is in the works, and O'Neal believes it's going to be great for the city:
"I've seen the (arena) plans," O'Neal said. "I don't know if they've talked to you about the plans, but woo - wee. That's all I can say: woo-wee. Oh, you know what, that's our new slogan: Sacramento - woo-wee.
"It's going to be sort of like a mini LA live, and it's going to be great for Sacramento, especially when they build the arena...If we put our heads together and hire the right people, I know that this arena is going to be the best arena in the country."