The Kings wolf pack—Mayor Kevin Johnson and Vivek Ranadive, of course, but even Carmichael Dave and Marcos Breton—flew to Manhattan last week for the premiere of Down in the Valley, an ESPN-produced documentary about Sacramento’s battle to keep its NBA team. By all accounts, the film is a celebration of the mayor and his heart-on-sleeve victory.
That's great. But I'd wager that Valley—and the other saving-the-Kings documentary, Playing To Win, which also premiered last week—overlooks a few small details. So, in the spirit of looking back:
Remember that city subsidy to help pay for the Kings arena? The one city council voted for in March 2013, after less than 72 hours of public debate? The quoted number was $258 million. But did you know it will end up costing Sacramento at least $750 million, and probably more, after we pay off interest over the next three decades? Bet that amount isn't in the documentaries.
Ditto the sweeteners: As we now know, thanks to a citizen lawsuit accusing the city of fraud, Ranadive and the Kings demanded subsidies—parking spots, land, digital billboards, etc.—amounting to nearly an additional $200 million. That's called a shakedown. Probably not in the films, either.
And what about our city clerk and a judge silencing some 20,000-plus citizens, who demanded a public vote on the arena subsidy? Unlikely in the flicks.
Or that the Atlanta Hawks just sold for $850 million, and the L.A. Clippers for north of $2 billion last year, which now means the Kings are clearly worth more than Ranadive's $534-million purchase price. Did Sacramento get clowned?
Yeah, these pesky details would make for one Debbie Downer of a documentary. But Hollywood endings are for suckers, right?