shaquille oneal*The Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association has announced that Shaquille O’Neal has become an owner of the team through a minority share he recently purchased. He will be introduced as part of the team’s new ownership group on Tuesday, reports ESPN.

O’Neal has been consulting with the Kings since the summer, when majority owner Vivek Ranadive asked him to mentor young big man DeMarcus Cousins. O’Neal has a long business and personal relationship with 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, who is another of Ranadive’s partners, and Mastrov arranged the introduction between the future Hall of Fame center and Ranadive.

In recent weeks, sources said, the conversation expanded into O’Neal taking a small piece of the franchise. The Kings declined to say how much of a stake O’Neal bought.

Observers can’t help but note that this is an interesting turn of events because O’Neal at one time called his LA Lakers rivals the the “Sacramento Queens” after a tense seven-game Western Conference finals in 2002.

And what a series that was. O’Neal and the Lakers blocked the Kings from reaching the NBA Finals and of course it creating a lot of animosity between the two teams that still prevalent.

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