Vagrant Kings: David Stern, Kevin Johnson and the NBA's Orphan Team
Jounalist Graswich provides a fascinating exploration of the deal making and legal wrangling that ultimately ensured a professional basketball franchise would remain in Sacramento, Calif. The NBA’s Sacramento Kings holds the dubious distinction of being the most transient team in American professional sports. When the team moved from Kansas City to Sacramentoin 1985, many people were skeptical that the Kings would stay, or that the area could support a professional basketball team. But when things looked bleak for the Kings in Sacramento, NBA Commissioner David Stern made it his mission to keep the team where it was. And, after much legal maneuvering, Stern succeeded, a deal was reached, and the Kings stayed put. Graswich was employed in the office of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson—a former NBA all-star—when the city worked with the league on an arena project for the Kings. His familiarity with the team’s saga in Sacramento and key players involved makes this a detailed and engaging insider’s account. And while the author’s treatment of local politics can be a bit dry, and he doesn’t always vividly capture the personalities involved, fans of the NBA—especially those with an appetite for behind-the-scenes deal making—will find a lot to like here.