Vivek Ranadive Becomes First Indian-American NBA ‘King’

Media of Type text

Vivek Ranadive Becomes First Indian-American NBA ‘King’



SACRAMENTO, CA – “It’s going to be exciting,” he told the USA Today after securing an agreement to buy 65 percent of the Kings from the Maloof family for a National Basketball Association (NBA) league-record valuation of $535 million.

“We’re going to build a global brand with the Kings. We’re going to give the fans the product that they deserve,” the minority owner of Golden State Warriors said on achieving his longtime goal.

The development came just a day after NBA owners officially rejected a bid by the Maloofs, who have owned the team since 1998, to relocate the Kings from Sacramento, to Seattle.

“It’s a little bittersweet, obviously because I’m a huge Warriors fan and I have a lot of friends here,” Ranadive told USA Today. “I’m very, very excited to start the new (challenge).”

Ranadive, who left India as a 17-year-old to attend MIT and later founded his $4 billion company in Silicon Valley, Tibco, has the sort of competitiveness and deep pockets that could lead one of the league’s most poorly run franchises back to respectability, the USA Today said.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has made a concerted effort of late to grow the game in Ranadive’s native India, where “basketball is but a blip on their sporting radar,” the newspaper said.

“I’m going to do what I do in my business, which is surround myself with people that are way smarter than me,” Ranadive said. “But I am a huge fan. I’m going to be there at all the games, be there to support the team in every way.”

“It’s one step at a time,” Ranadive said. “I’m one of these guys who doesn’t like to get ahead of the game.

“We still have a lot of work to do. I’ve learned a lot, but there’s a lot more to learn. And it’s going to be a process. It’s not going to be an overnight miracle there, so it’s going to take some work,” he was quoted as saying.

“I’m going to do what I do in my business, which is surround myself with people that are way smarter than me,” he said. “But I am a huge fan. I’m going to be there at all the games, be there to support the team in every way.”

This won’t be the run-of-the-mill commute, though. When the Ranadive deal goes through, he plans on jetting from Silicon Valley to all of the team’s home games in Sacramento. It’s a routine that would rival that of Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant, who flies in a helicopter from Newport Beach to downtown Los Angeles for home games.

Time is of the essence when it comes to shaping the team, of course, what with the draft coming on June 27 and free agency soon thereafter (July 1). His group’s deal is expected to receive rubberstamp approval from the owners, at which time Ranadive can get to work making the key decisions that will shape his new franchise.

As Ranadive acknowledged, he’ll be taking the imitation-as-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery approach when it comes to using his Warriors contacts and institutional knowledge to his benefit.

“(Warriors owner) Joe (Lacob) has been a tremendous coach and tremendous teacher,” Ranadive said. “I’ve learned a lot from him, learned a lot from the Warriors playbook and have tried to replicate that playbook.”

“It’s one step at a time,” Ranadive said. “I’m one of these guys who doesn’t like to get ahead of the game. Obviously it’s a relief (to have the deal done with the Maloofs), but I had an opportunity to chat with the Maloofs when we were in Dallas, and they seemed like good guys and I had no reason to believe that we wouldn’t reach an agreement.

“We still have a lot of work to do. I’ve learned a lot, but there’s a lot more to learn. And it’s going to be a process. It’s not going to be an overnight miracle there, so it’s going to take some work.”