Shaquille O'Neal had quite the history with the Sacramento Kings. During his incredible stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sacramento Kings were the team that caused him and the Lakers the most problems. But they were able to overcome the tough battles with the Kings in order to dominate the NBA between 2000 and 2002.
Shaq once even trolled the Kings, and their star player Vlade Divac, by singing a customized version of the 'Cheers' theme song to insult them. During the peak of the Lakers-Kings rivalry, O'Neal had dubbed the franchise the 'Sacramento Queens' in order to insult them.
But about a decade later, Shaq surprised NBA fans when he became a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings in 2013. The franchise that he had such a heated relationship with was now one of his business ventures. Shaq eventually won over the fans and became a beloved part of the Kings' franchise.
Shaq and Sacramento weren't meant to go the distance though, as O'Neal was selling his share in the Kings franchise, thanks to him becoming a brand ambassador for WynnBET Sports. Shaq had to sell his share because the NBA does not allow franchise owners to be associated with betting groups due to a conflict of interest.
Shaq put out a statement last night during the Kings-Lakers game, where he informed the public about his departure and the finalization of his sale. He thanked the Kings organization, owner Vivek Ranadive, and the city of Sacramento for their support, and hoped that he could work with them down the line.
“As a result of a new business endeavor, I was required by NBA rules to sell my interest in the Sacramento Kings. I want to thank the fans, the city of Sacramento, Vivek Ranadive and the entire Kings organization for our great partnership. I loved being an owner of such a forward thinking organization and I hope to be back someday. I was fortunate to have Arctos help me with this transaction. I’m sure they will be a great partner for Vivek, the Kings and the NBA going forward. Till we meet again…”
Clearly, Shaquille O'Neal was not happy about having to leave the franchise. But because the NBA rules don't allow for him to continue his new business venture, he had to make a choice. Seeing as though his role as brand ambassador is probably more lucrative, Shaq made the fiscally responsible decision.
Could Shaq return to the Kings organization one day? He certainly seems to be hopeful and enjoyed his time there as a minority owner. Perhaps when O'Neal's business ventures aren't an obstacle, Shaq will return to the Kings.