Vivek Ranadive is Polishing His Ego Again

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: Vivek Ranadiv? (R) attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings at Arena on January 18, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Marc Spears sat down with Kings owner Vivek Ranadive for a piece published this week on his site Andscape, and in a nutshell, it was perhaps the most insufferable cases of transcribed verbal onanism on the part of Ranadive.

Don’t know what onanism means?

Look it up.

When it was clear that the playoff drought was going to be buried, the credit was sent in various directions, from the players to the coaching staff to the front office, and that even includes ownership.

Not for the same reasons though. Not even remotely close.

Short of his part in keeping the team in Sacramento–something then-commissioner David Stern was eager to carry out–Ranadive spent the bulk of his time as owner being an absolute cockblock, for lack of a better term.

Involvement, meddling, interference, control. Those are all words longly and directly associated with the ownership of Vivek Ranadive. 

One of the biggest signs of optimism about what lied ahead came about this time last year that Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee put out a piece that put yet another spotlight on the “toxic” nature of Ranadive’s operation, detailing his habit of inhibiting the front office from functioning, which, again, has been chronicled throughout his time as owner. However, the optimism lied in the assurance Anderson got from an unnamed minority owner, who said they do not believe “Vivek is micromanaging Monte [McNair]” any longer and that McNair “is in charge and has total control.”

So the credit to the ownership exists because he stayed out of the way and let the adults handle the basketball side of things.

And yet, Spears gave Ranadive a chance to try and rewrite the history and polish his ego.

The first proclamation that stands out is how he immediately tries to dispel all the consistent reporting and rumors that pointed to his faulty tendencies:

“So, there were things that were often said and written which were just simply not true. And it was not for me as much as it was for my family and friends, that I felt bad that they had to read those kinds of things.”

And throughout the interview, he just could not stop himself from trying to mask his heavy contributions to the years-long malaise he contributed heavily to.

Asked about the Sabonis-Haliburton trade last year and the “trust” Ranadive put in the front office, the owner began with this statement, for no apparent reason other than to try and use an eraser as a paint brush:

“I decided that I was going to really get involved in everything because people were saying I was involved, but I wasn’t actually involved. And so, I got involved in the coaching search and that process, and I just really got close to everybody.”

Ranadive did not necessarily take credit for the Sabonis trade–though he tried to impart how he saw something special in Domas back when the Kings and Pacers played in India–but he more than did that in regards to the hiring of Mike Brown, repeating later on:

“So, I got very involved in the process, and I had Coach Mike come to my house and we had a six-hour dinner while the Warriors were in the playoffs [last year]. And he’s in San Francisco. I live in Atherton. And I had a long list of questions.”

Jumping around in giving his response, he continued to note that it wasn’t Brown’s experience that was impressive, but rather the fact that he got Team Nigeria to beat Team USA, implying that he had some revolutionary vision of the fact that Brown can bring in some “new school” tactics (you know, similar to his genius idea for a 4-on-5 defense).

Ranadive went on to describe the meeting:

“When I met with him, I said to him, I said, ‘Coach, I haven’t been that involved, but I’m going to get involved. And so, you and I are going to talk. So, if you don’t like that, then you shouldn’t do this.’ And he said, ‘No, I love that.’

“So, I said, ‘OK, there’s only two rules that are going to apply. One is radical candor. So, I’m always going to be honest. You’re always going to be honest. But couched with that is rule two, which is radical love, where there’s going to be unqualified love and support for you, and it’s going to be a safe place.’ So, we’ve operated on that premise.”

If someone read this piece without knowing anything about Ranadive and without knowing anything more about the Kings other than their playoff drought, they’d view Sacramento’s owner as very different than reality suggests.

The conclusions that Kings fans make upon reading this is up to them, and same goes for their opinions of Ranadive–which, to be fair, can be fluid–but it’s an interesting read that, with all things considered, feels like a desperate attempt to salvage his image at a juncture where the image of the franchise he owns has flipped. 

The major difference is, the team’s doing it with actions and he’s doing it in softball interviews.

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