Mark Friedman is perhaps the biggest financial investor with local ties in Vivek Ranadivé’s group that’s vying to buy the Sacramento Kings. Early last month, Friedman stepped forward publicly to join Ranadivé’s effort after supermarket magnate Ron Burkle dropped out of the bid. It appears that Friedman has assumed some of the responsibilities that Burkle, a billionaire with land development experience, once had in respect to developing the proposed new arena.
David Stern was complimentary of Friedman’s presentation after yesterday’s 22-8 vote against relocating the Kings to Seattle. The NBA commissioner noted how Friedman’s experience developing projects around the Sacramento region left a lasting impact on league brass.
“Mark Friedman was outstanding in his presentation with respect to his development, experience, and the likelihood that this thing would, in fact, get built,” Stern told reporters in Dallas yesterday afternoon. “So it was advantage incumbent.”
Friedman made these remarks to media in attendance about the process and the capital city’s unexpected push to keep the Kings:
This is a big day for Sacramento. I think several weeks ago it would be very, very difficult to imagine being here today. But the kind of effort that we put together, the way in which the city and the community pulled together and put forth the proposal that we did is nothing short of remarkable.
When I was a kid, my mom used to read me the book The Little Engine That Could, and that’s kind of how I feel about Sacramento right now. All through this process we’ve said I think we can, I think we can, I think we can, and today we did. We couldn’t have done that without the mayor and his extraordinary leadership, the way he rallied all of us has been absolutely remarkable.
Vivek, you are a wonderful partner, a terrific leader. Thank you for including all of us in this group.
You know, we are on the cusp of doing something that is truly transformational in our community. The construction of the new downtown arena will absolutely transform our downtown. It will give us the kind of entertainment facilities that all of us have wanted for many years, and I have to thank the NBA for giving us that opportunity. Because, as the mayor said, this is more than basketball, but it wouldn’t be possible without basketball. So thank you to the Commissioner and to the Board of Governors for giving us this opportunity.