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Maloof brothers no longer Kings of Sacramento

  • FILE - In this Dec. 26, 2009, file photo, from left, brothers Phil, George, Gavin and Joe Maloof, co-owners of the Sacramento Kings, watch an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif. After backing out of the deal to build a new arena in Sacramento and announcing the sale of the Kings to a group that wants to move the team to Seattle, the brothers have become the city's most-reviled villains heading into a preliminary NBA meeting on the issue Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO — The moment will be seared into the minds of long-suffering Sacramento Kings fans forever.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof standing together at center court, holding hands and raising their arms in triumph after both sides agreed to an arena financing plan to keep the NBA team in town for at least another 30 years.

"There's going to be a beacon of light shining bright in 2015 — a brand new arena," a teary eyed Gavin Maloof told a raucous crowd during a timeout in a win over the Utah Jazz on Feb. 28, 2012. "We still love you. We always loved you, and we always will love you."

Hugs and handshakes followed, and the relocation chatter that had surrounded the Kings for years finally seemed to be silenced. Instead, barely a month passed before the Maloof brothers backed out of the handshake deal — which NBA Commissioner David Stern had negotiated, and the Sacramento City Council approved — and both sides declared the franchise's future uncertain again.

"It was shocking. But this story every step of the way has been shocking, and I think that's something that can't be lost," said James Ham, who covers the team for the website Cowbell Kingdom and was a producer of the documentary "Small Market, Big Heart," which chronicled Sacramento's fight to keep the Kings from moving to Anaheim.

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