Fil-Am mayor in Kings arena fiscal teamBy Percy D. Della
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SACRAMENTO, California—There’s a Filipino presence in “Here We Build,” the commission formed by Mayor Kevin Johnson to come up with a financing plan to build a new $387-million arena for the Sacramento Kings.
Christopher Cabaldon, the youthful Filipino-American mayor of West Sacramento, this capital city’s twin city across the river, will join 59 other elected officials, business and labor leaders from across the Sacramento region in hammering out a financing proposal over the next 100 days.
It remains unclear how the cost will be divvied up between public and private sources. It will be up to Cabaldon and company to fashion that piece of the puzzle.
The National Basketball Association has said that Sacramento must build a new home for the Kings if it wants to keep the team in town. And the Maloof family, owner of the Kings, said it needs to see a financing blueprint by March or will consider a move to Anaheim again.
The taxpayers’ part of the arena costs has proven to be a spectacular failure in the past. Two ballot measures to raise the sales tax in Sacramento County to build a $541-million pavilion downtown were soundly defeated by voters in 2006.
While Johnson’s group tackles the prickly issue of financing, one thing’s for certain. With Cabaldon’s presence on the commission, investment opportunities to keep the Kings from moving south have just become more attractive for members of the Deep Pockets Society and the Set for Life Club back home.
Whether Cabaldon can make the investment platter more appetizing for would-be Filipino investors remains to be seen.
But if you are a Manila entrepreneur and buying the Sacramento Kings is not on your wish list, your business presence in California’s capital would be met with open arms. It would be a godsend if your immediate plans include helping pay for a new sports and entertainment complex to tame the team’s wanderlust.
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With the Big Diesel, Shaquille O’Neal, announcing his retirement yesterday, only a few senior citizens remain in the NBA. Two of them are playing in this year’s Finals—Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks and Juwan Howard of the Miami Heat.
Kidd, 38, has become the oldest guard to start a game in the NBA Finals. He is two years older than Ron Harper was when he started for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000.
Now on his 17th year in the NBA, Kidd, is on a short list of league greats whose resume lacks only a championship. He came close with the New Jersey Nets who lost the NBA Finals to the Lakers in 2002 and the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.
“Jason’s still playing at a high level, and keeping up with a lot of young guys,” said Miami’s Howard, who is a month older than Kidd and is the only player older than Kidd in the NBA Finals.
“Normally when you’re our age, people count you out,” Howard told the Associated Press. “They say you don’t have anything left in the tank. But as you get older in this league, you get wiser.”
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