Mayor to take Kings issue to NBA Board of Governors

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Mayor to take Kings issue to NBA Board of Governors

April 1, 2011KINGS PAGE KINGS VIDEO

SACRAMENTO (AP) The capital city isn't losing its NBA team without a fight.

Mayor Kevin Johnson plans to attend the NBA Board of Governors meeting next month to plead Sacramento's case to keep the Kings. The former NBA All-Star wrote on his blog Thursday night that he will give the league one final pitch to prevent the Kings from moving south to Anaheim and take steps to lure a franchise back should they leave.

"There's still a little time left on the clock regarding our future with the Kings," Johnson said. "Second, Sacramento means business when it comes to continuing our 25-year partnership with the NBA."

Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof appear determined to relocate to Southern California next fall. About the only thing standing in their way is a majority vote of the NBA's owners.

The Board of Governors meetings are April 14-15 in New York. Johnson said the league already has granted his request to attend and speak on behalf of Sacramento.

An NBA spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. The league, which along with the Maloofs has not commented on most relocation talk, already has granted the Kings an extension until April 18 to file a request -- mere days after the Board of Governors meet.

Johnson said he spoke with former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory about how the Southern city dealt with the loss of the Hornets -- who moved to New Orleans after the 2001-02 season -- and, perhaps more importantly, how the city quickly lured back an NBA franchise. The Charlotte Bobcats formed in 2004, the league's last expansion team.

Plans were still being made, Johnson said, but he will likely bring business and community leaders with him from Sacramento and the Central Valley to speak to NBA owners.

"They will want to know about possibilities of a new arena in Sacramento, and whether after all these years, our community can finally deliver," Johnson said. "But the bottom line is, the opportunity to speak straight to the NBA is a huge step for our community. It puts our destiny exactly where it belongs: back in our own hands."

Giants spring training day 8: Melancon, Hundley go way back

Giants spring training day 8: Melancon, Hundley go way back

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A couple of days before he signed a four-year deal, Mark Melancon fired off a midnight text to Nick Hundley. 

“Call me,” Melancon wrote.

When Hundley called, he found out his college teammate had chosen the Giants, ending a free agency process the two spoke about often. Two months later, it was Hundley’s turn to reach out. 

“I asked him if he wanted to play together again,” Hundley said. “He said, ‘You better not be messing with me.’”

The Giants signed just two free agents who are guaranteed of being on the opening day roster. In an odd twist, the new closer and new backup catcher have known each other for over a decade. Hundley was a second-round pick in 2005 out of the University of Arizona. A year later, his college teammate Melancon was a ninth-round pick. The two have stayed close throughout the pro ball journey. They were groomsmen in each other’s weddings and their wives and children hang out together. 

“We always talked about playing together,” Hundley said, adding that the odds were long in a 30-team sport.

The friends have crossed off a good chunk of them. Melancon has played for the Yankees, Astros, Red Sox, Pirates and Nationals. Hundley has played for the Padres, Orioles and Rockies. Finally, the two have hooked on to the same team, and the Giants are excited to have them both. Hundley will be the veteran catcher the team has missed in recent years, and the Giants are hopeful that he’s a pinch-hit threat, too. Melancon, of course, was brought in to fix the glaring problem in the ninth. Hundley is confident he’ll do it.

“I’ve caught him since 2005,” he said smiling, “And he’s always been nasty.”

NEW FACE: It’s hard to take much away from drills, but Orlando Calixte certainly impressed. As the Giants worked out on the field for the first time in three days, I asked GM Bobby Evans what Calixte showed the team’s scouts. “Just his athleticism, his tools, they stand out,” Evans said. They certainly do. Calixte is smooth out there, and he showed quickness at short that might differentiate him from the pack of infield options. 

Calixte has also played second, third and the outfield in the minors, and while the Giants intend on keeping five outfielders, that versatility could come into play. The Giants plucked Calixte from Kansas City’s system and put him on the 40-man roster when it became apparent that other offers were out there. They thought he could provide more versatility than Ehire Adrianza, and it helps that he has an option remaining. Calixte has to beat out a bunch of guys to win a roster spot, but given his glove and his status on the 40-man, it would be a surprise if we don’t see him at some point this season. 

ICYMI: Bruce Bochy said he’ll call Johnny Cueto to talk about his preparation for the World Baseball Classic. 

POSITION BATTLE: Matt Cain, the clear frontrunner for the No. 5 spot, faced hitters on the main field. Bochy liked what he saw. “He’s gotten more time away from that surgery and he’s throwing the ball well,” Bochy said. “Buster said the same thing. It’s coming out good.”

NOTEWORTHY: The Giants are serious about making Trevor Brown a more versatile option. He fielded grounders at short today and also spent plenty of time at second. 

QUOTABLE: “Just a good day. We (the coaches) were talking about how it’s changed a little bit. We’re not even in March yet and guys are letting it go.” — Bochy on the first day of live BP sessions. The pitchers were certainly well ahead of the hitters today. 

The good and the bad

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The good and the bad

What experience had the biggest impact on your life and career in sports and why?

This is going to sound like an odd answer, but surviving various challenges in our business. I’ve gone through everything from having to get a police escort to shoot video when I was a news reporter, only to be suspended from being on-air because acquiring the escort made me late for a 5pm deadline on a 10pm show. That supervisor who made the decision was also sued for gender discrimination by a previous employee.

In another market I dealt with a mass layoff after we’d have to hear about what happened in court proceedings regarding our station on Twitter.

Then there was the simple, but not easy, task of shooting video every day with a 35-pound camera and 18-pound tripod for seven years in several different markets. 

Who’s had the biggest impact and why?

The person who has the biggest impact on your career in this business … is yourself.

What are some of the funniest moments you’ve experienced as a woman in sports?

When I was a “one-man-band,” where you shoot video, edit and report it -- and I carried the gear around -- I’d get a lot of “that camera is bigger than you are” discussion. I’d just laugh it off. I’ve had a guy accuse me of using my looks to get hired at a radio station because they didn’t get the NASCAR results fast enough (this is when we’d get updates from a wire service faster than the internet would refresh them). That made me laugh. 

What was the most negative moment you’ve experienced? The one that got you fired up or perhaps made you think about quitting...

Various moments will make you question your employment in TV. You just have to keep going. 

Have you had any teachable moments? Like when someone made an ignorant comment but had no idea you were offended until you said something?

Sadly I don’t have much of a filter, so when someone makes a comment and I get upset about it, they know pretty quickly. I’m the one who should probably look into that more on my end than the other way around.

Any awkward moments?   

I’ve had people ask about my dating availability. I say I don’t want to lose my job. That makes it pretty self-explanatory. What frustrates me is when I’d be having a perfectly normal conversation with an athlete (aka, a coworker) and if I was talking to that person “too long,” I’d worry that someone would think something wasn’t right with the situation, that it would look suspicious. When in reality, we were probably talking about Target or something very basic like that, or someone was teaching me something about the sport they play, or there was a play during a game they wanted to describe, etc. Simply because I’m a woman and the athlete is a man, it could “look bad.” 

What are you most proud of?

Again, I’d say surviving. This business is hard on relationships, personal lives, self-esteem, you name it.

A lot of girls look up to you and aspire to be on TV covering sports. What is the most important message you want to send to them?

The obsession with looks in our business has really increased since I started out. That may sound weird given that it’s TV, but I’ve been told I won’t get a lot of jobs because I’m not blonde. It’s true. I didn’t get some chances because I didn’t have a certain look. But don’t get discouraged. Don’t go changing because someone else wants you to. “Do you,” and know that the biggest asset is always knowledge. If you want to be taken seriously, read and watch as much sports as possible. That’s how you stay employed.