An inside account of NBA Commissioner David Stern's obsession with building a home for the Sacramento Kings, a tragically cursed, road-weary basketball team in Northern California.
Stern worked more than a decade to anchor the Kings in Sacramento, guiding NBA owners to reject a record-setting offer from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to move the franchise to Seattle.
Written by a veteran journalist and political staffer, who worked on the Kings' project with Stern and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, "Vagrant Kings" provides an unprecedented look at Stern and the political, cultural and economic impact of the NBA on its host cities.
"Vagrant Kings" explores the special relationship between Stern and Mayor Johnson, a former NBA all-star who hates his home-town team in Sacramento for having failed to draft him in 1987.
The book traces the history of the Kings from their Great Depression barnstorming origins in Rochester, N.Y., and explains how they became the most migratory franchise in American major league sports. The narrative follows the team through Cincinnati, Kansas City and Omaha, on its way to California.
"Vagrant Kings" describes the Kings' often-fractured and sometimes tragic relationships with Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Maurice Stokes, Oscar Robertson, Danny Ainge, Dick Motta, Ron Artest, Chris Webber, Olden Polynice, Bobby Hurley, Wayman Tisdale and other NBA notables.
"The appropriate outcome" is the phrase Stern uses when a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, led by Vivek Ranadive, buy the Kings and vow to keep them in California, despite having been out-bid by Ballmer. Ranadive becomes the first person born in India to own an NBA franchise.
Unmatched in scope, access and reflections on the emotional, political and financial decisions that swirl around major-league sports in America, "Vagrant Kings" is the first book to provide a deeply personal and detailed look at how David Stern runs the NBA, and how the NBA impacts its host communities.