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SBD/October 31, 2013/Franchises
NBA Kings Kick Off Ranadive Era With Sellout Crowd, Pregame Salute To Stern
Published October 31, 2013
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CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: In Sacramento, Jason Jones notes last night's game featured "pregame pageantry, pyrotechnics and star power at courtside," while the "improved video boards showed the local fight to keep the Kings from being sold and relocated to Seattle." The fans' "roar evoked memories of the Kings' days as a championship contender a decade ago" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 10/31). The BEE's Ailene Voisin: "This was the Kings' opener of openers, a purple carpet ride for the decades, an evening when the past and future converged on a cleaned-up old barn." It was a "bit of a circus but in a charming, Sacramento sort-of way." Ranadive, who "joked that Stern will have plenty of idle time when he retires Feb. 1 after 30 years ... handed the commissioner a hard hat." Stern said, "I have had so many highs in my career. ... (But) it feels really, really good to keep the Kings in Sacramento" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 10/31).
SALUTING STERN: USA TODAY's Sam Amick writes, "There was no freshly built statue awaiting David Stern ... but that didn't mean he wouldn't receive the royal treatment." He was the "man who helped save" the Kings, and five months after the league's BOG voted to keep the team in Sacramento, "this was their night for a shared victory lap." Ranadive said, "What (Stern) has built in the NBA, it's truly a once-in-a-century platform. He's has created what will be a golden era for the NBA. It's got great players, great rivalries, and it's also got global interest. ... He's a man who's clearly ahead of his time." Johnson said of Stern, "He basically helped me put it all in perspective early on. He said, 'You know this league as well or better than anybody. Draw from your competitive advantages, whatever those may be.'" Ranadive: "He is always one step ahead of everyone else. He saw the China opportunity before anyone else did. He saw the globalization opportunity when nobody else did. He saw the Olympic opportunity, and now of course the rest of the world, like India" (USATODAY.com, 10/31). Stern noted the game was being broadcast live in India and said NBA "social media is up" in the country. He added NBA games in India "are increasing in their audience." Stern said the league is trying to "deliver our sport and its values to growing numbers of Indian youth" (KXTV-ABC, 10/30).