another African American male to the history books in the 2008 election
season. On the same day that Barack Obama became the first ever African
American CEO of the United States, former NBA All-Star point guard
Kevin Johnson was elected the first black mayor of his hometown of
Sacramento, Calif., riding the same “change” wave that
swept Obama into the White House.
related news, Johnson’s former teammate and Hall of Fame forward
Charles Barkley recently announced his plans to run for the
governorship of fiscally-beleaguered Alabama in 2014.
and myself, we ran on the promise and the theme of change. No more
business as usual,” Johnson said in a Sacramento Bee report. “I am so
ready and so humbled to accept this great honor that has been bestowed
upon me today.”
Johnson, 42, whose quickness
and deadly spot-up jumpers defined his career with the Cleveland
Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns, defeated two-term incumbent Heather
Fargo by a 15-point shellacking. It was a star-studded campaign that
featured the likes of Los Angeles Laker legend Magic Johnson as well as
Michael Bloomberg. The race for mayor was in June, but neither acquired
the majority vote, requiring a November runoff. According to local
reports, Johnson, a Democrat, ran a very conservative campaign and
avoided the inflammatory race issue, much like Obama did so effectively
on a national scale. For the first time ever, the Sacramento
mayor’s victory speech was covered by the likes of CNN and ESPN,
The Sporting News and MSNBC.
immediately bombarded by media to provide solutions to the city’s
projected $58 million deficit. “We need to focus on the big
picture, which is making Sacramento a destination city,” Johnson said.
“Any differences we can set aside. It’s important that we come
Johnson was a high-school
All-American at Sacramento High School, averaging 32.5 points a game.
He starred at nearby Cal-Berkeley before signing with the Cleveland
Cavs with the seventh pick in the 1985 draft. However, Johnson
blossomed into an All-NBA guard with the Phoenix Suns, whom he led to
the 1993 NBA Finals with Charles Barkley. There they lost in six games
to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. –terry shropshire