Call Him Mayor K.J.

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: November 9, 2008

CALIFORNIA — As the nation celebrates an African American being elected to the highest office in the land, others are following in his steps to occupy offices all over the land.

The big-little town, called Sacramento, just north of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area, appears to be doing the same thing at their City Hall. The new mayor of Sacramento will be “K.J.”, Kevin Johnson in January 2009.

The former NBA All Star, Johnson defeated two-term incumbent, Heather Fargo in a high turnout vote. What a thrill it was to personally meet him while he was a student at the University of California at Berkeley.

In my opinion, he is a very special person.

Mayor-elect Johnson was the star guard for the Golden Bears. He led the Bears in assists, steals, and scoring. He is also the first player in the Pacific Ten Conference to ever achieve a triple-double and to be named to the All Conference First Team.

Johnson wore the number 11 while playing at Cal-Berkeley. That number is one of the few retired numbers exhibited at Hass Pavilion-Newell Court. No Golden Bear will ever wear number 11 again.

His professional career started in 1987 when the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him, however, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns the same year. Johnson’s career ended with the Sacramento Kings in the 2000-2001 season.

Kevin played in numerous All Star Games and took the Phoenix Suns to the playoffs on numerous occasions. Johnson retired in 1998 only to return to play for injured All-Star guard, Jason Kidd during the Suns’ playoff run.

Mr. Johnson can be viewed in the same light as President-elect, Barack Hussein Obama. Kevin exhibits the same temperament as Obama. Both men have the special talent of never get too high nor too low emotionally in any situation.

Johnson and Obama are children whose parents are of mixed cultures. Also, both were raised by grandparents. Their life experiences are very similar. When Johnson attendant Cal, he made everyone feel comfortable and like one of the boys no matter what the situation was.

It was that Point Guard mentality. When our little group of bowlers were at the UniversityBowlingCenter, we had a contest to see who could be the better bowler. Johnson beat me by two points (186-184) in one of the best games we ever played together.

Johnson swept into the mayor’s office with a blessing from basketball royalty –Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. Johnson was destined to make history with his commendable work ethics, his non-profit group, SaintHopeAcademy and the Kevin Johnson Corporation based in Sacramento.

Kevin stated that “Sacramento also made history today in electing its first black mayor,” “Both Obama and myself, we ran on a promise and the theme of change. No more business as usual.”

We all see the evidence of a new political movement in this country. Our fellow Americans have finally put their voices into action. Young people energized both the Obama and Johnson political campaigns and they literally changed the political landscape in this country.

Johnson’s victory affirmed the people of Sacramento desire for something decidedly more impelling. While on the campaign trail, he addressed the issue of putting the state capitol of California on the map.

Incumbent Mayor Fargo embraced a slow and steady program of progress during her term in office. Johnson wants to promote Sacramento so that tourists will want to visit the state capitol and leave it with a positive impression.

Johnson and Obama have many tough challenges facing them as they take office in January 2009. A enormous effort will be needed to repair the damage that has been propagated in this country. With perseverance, endurance, and a deep desire to do what is right, the ills of America can be healed.

Kevin Johnson is not the only sports figure to be elected to a major office.

Here are other sports figures that won in last Tuesday National elections:

–Heath Shuler, NFL, North Carolina congressional seat.

–Sam Wyche, NFL, Pickens County Council in South Carolina.

–Baron Hill, college basketball, Indiana congressional seat.

–Norm Dicks, college football, Washington congressional seat.

–Jason Chaffetz, college football, Utah congressional seat.

–Todd Thomsen, college football, Oklahoma Legislature.

–Tad Jones, college football, Oklahoma Legislature.

–Anton Gunn, college football, South Carolina Legislature.

–Mufi Hannemann, college basketball, Honolulu mayor.

Will Johnson seek a higher office? Only time will tell. The Governor’s office in Sacramento is only a walk away.

As Tuesday proved, anything is possible.