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Software magnate Vivek Ranadive buys US basketball team

Vivek Ranadive Sacramento Kings

Washington, May 17 (IANS) Indian American software magnate Vivek Ranadive, who has become the first person of Indian descent to become the owner of a major US basketball team, plans to build the Sacramento Kings into a global brand.

“It’s going to be exciting,” he told the USA Today after securing an agreement to buy 65 percent of the Kings from the Maloof family for a National Basketball Association (NBA) league-record valuation of $535 million.

“We’re going to build a global brand with the Kings. We’re going to give the fans the product that they deserve,” the minority owner of Golden State Warriors said on achieving his longtime goal.

The development came just a day after NBA owners officially rejected a bid by the Maloofs, who have owned the team since 1998, to relocate the Kings from Sacramento, California, to Seattle, Washington.

“It’s a little bittersweet, obviously because I’m a huge Warriors fan and I have a lot of friends here,” Ranadive told USA Today Sports. “I’m very, very excited to start the new (challenge).”

Ranadive, who left India as a 17-year-old to attend MIT and later founded his $4 billion company in Silicon Valley, Tibco, has the sort of competitiveness and deep pockets that could lead one of the league’s most poorly run franchises back to respectability, the USA Today said.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has made a concerted effort of late to grow the game in Ranadive’s native India, where “basketball is but a blip on their sporting radar,” the newspaper said.

“I’m going to do what I do in my business, which is surround myself with people that are way smarter than me,” Ranadive said. “But I am a huge fan. I’m going to be there at all the games, be there to support the team in every way.”

“It’s one step at a time,” Ranadive said. “I’m one of these guys who doesn’t like to get ahead of the game.

“We still have a lot of work to do. I’ve learned a lot, but there’s a lot more to learn. And it’s going to be a process. It’s not going to be an overnight miracle there, so it’s going to take some work,” he was quoted as saying.

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