“Vagrant Kings” release set for David Stern birthday, Sunday 9.22.13

What better date to launch the inside story of David Stern’s quest to save the Sacramento Kings than the NBA Commissioner’s birthday?

Stern will turn 71 on Sunday, Sept. 22. I’m honoring the occasion by releasing “Vagrant Kings: David Stern, Kevin Johnson and the NBA’s Orphan Team” on Amazon Kindle and iBooks for $8.99.

The e-book gives an unprecedented look at Stern’s strategy to anchor the wandering franchise in Northern California, despite a record-setting offer to move the team to Seattle, financed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

“Vagrant Kings” shows how Commissioner Stern really runs the NBA. Stern is a familiar face in global sports, but he’s an extremely private guy. In 30 years, there’s been just one major profile of him in Sports Illustrated magazine, and that was in 1991.

Stern has never allowed a journalist inside the room when doing deals, but I was there as a staffer working for Mayor Kevin Johnson on the Sacramento arena project. What I saw and heard was an amazing story.

The book traces the Kings from their roots in Depression-era Rochester, N.Y. The team’s greatest victory—its 1951 NBA championship over the New York Knicks—came at a former youth prison Drill Hall, where 19th Century teens were beaten and forced to march in formation.

It’s a fascinating story. No major league sports franchise in American history has moved around as much as the Kings. Nobody loved them until they got to Sacramento.

A key element of “Vagrant Kings” is the relationship between Stern and Johnson, a former NBA all-star with the Phoenix Suns. Many people think Kevin drove the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento. The book will show that’s not the case—Kevin was Stern’s soldier in the battle.

“Vagrant Kings” will be available on Amazon Kindle and iBooks for $8.99 on 9.22.13.