SACRAMENTO- The campaign to keep the Kings in Sacramento has been fueled by an exceptional amount of momentum during the past two weeks.
"The momentum has been almost unbelievable," said Bob Cook, the minority owner of the Sacramento Kings. "Sacramento has come a long way in a week. We went from almost saying goodbye to hello. We are here again."
A wave of support has swept over Sacramento-- from thousands of loyal fans to deep pockets thanks to millions of corporate dollars pledged.
In many ways, the momentum has shifted to keeping the Kings as opposed to losing them.
"I think this community has been awoken--not just the people, but the business and the Kings themselves. I think it takes Sacramento--which is a slow town to change-- a proverbial gun to the head. Don't know what you've got until it's gone," said KHTK's Carmichael Dave, organizer of "Here We Build." "I think the community galvanizing itself has galvanized businesses to step forward."
Painting the town purple has impressed a lot of people, including the visiting NBA committee. But, equally as important was for Sacramento to prove it's financial backing.
"They want to see if the money is real," said Doug Elmets of Thunder Valley Casino.
In the past week, Thunder Valley Casino stepped up to pledge 1 million dollars. To date, nearly 10 million in corporate pledges have been accounted for.
"There's an enormous amount of momentum. My suspicion is more untapped money and more that will be coming in in short order." said Elmets.
The Maloofs haven't made up their minds yet whether the Kings stay or go and a plan still needs to be formed in order to pay for and build a new arena that will cost an estimated $200-300 million.
"Sacramento is in a much better position now than 8 days ago when fans walked out of Power Balance Pavilion with tears on their faces. Things are looking up. Maybe we're almost home," said Carmichael Dave.
By Suzanne Phan, firstname.lastname@example.org