What is in this article?:
- Mark Mastrov Discusses New Ownership of NBA's Kings
- Landing the Kings
- Teamwork, the Draft and Shaq
- The Media Spotlight
- Splitting Time with his 'Day Job'
In his first lengthy interview since becoming part-owner of the Sacramento Kings, Mark Mastrov of New Evolution Ventures talks to Club Industry about becoming an NBA owner.
Teamwork, the Draft and Shaq
CI: When you met the media in New York in April, you talked about the importance of having a great team in place from top to bottom in the organization. Do you still feel that way?
MM: I think we've gone beyond even my expectations of the quality of people we've been able to bring into our GM spot, our coaching spot, the president of operations, the development of our arena. We just have been very fortunate to have been able to hire some amazing people who are excited about coming to the Kings to resurrect and redevelop that brand and build a great team and at the same time develop a new arena and move into a brand new arena in the next three years. It's not often you get that opportunity, and we're excited about it.
CI: Were you in the Kings' draft room on draft night (June 27)?
MM: I was in the draft room. It was a lot of fun. They call it the war room. Obviously, we leaned on our basketball experts, Coach [Mike] Malone and [General Manager] Pete D'Allesandro and their team. Vivek was very, very involved. We had ranked our top 100 players from one to 100 and then the draft ensued. We had Ben (McLemore, from the University of Kansas, the Kings' No. 1 pick) up top, and we were surprised he was still available to us. We just got lucky as some of the teams made some surprising choices. We had him No. 1 overall, in our opinion, for best player for a whole bunch of reasons.
CI: You and Vivek Ranadive took Shaquille O'Neal to dinner recently. What was that dinner like, and how involved do you think Shaq will be with the Kings?
MM: I've been friends with Shaquille for a long time, and he happened to be in town. He and I were getting together to catch up, and I had Vivek join just to meet him, so we had a very nice dinner. I don't know that we made any decisions on either side of what we might do in the future, but Shaquille's the best of the best, and I just love that guy, and Vivek got a chance to meet him and loved him as well. He's a true gentleman but a character beyond characters. Just a fun-loving guy, smart as a whip. A great guy to spend some time with.
CI: Shaquille O'Neal called the Sacramento Kings the "Queens" several years ago and again during his jersey retirement ceremony with the Lakers. Will Sacramento be miffed if he's going to help the Kings?
MM: Things change over time. I think if we're all held for every quote we've ever made at the moment, a lot of us would have difficulty moving forward. I think Shaquille, everybody knows he's a humorous guy. He's just a big fun-loving man, and I think it could be interesting in any role he might play, although we haven't really had any serious conversations with Shaquille to date. We just had a nice dinner with him, and we'll take it from there.