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Shaq changes his tune as new Kings-maker

Shaquille O'Neal's verbal jab at the NBA's Sacramento franchise during his playing days was only a bit of marketing gamesmanship, The Big Diesel says now that he's a part-owner of the Kings.

By Antonio GonzalezAssociated Press / September 25, 2013

Shaquille O'Neal smiles during a news conference where he was welcomed as one of the new minority owners of the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.

RICH PEDRONCELLI/AP

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Shaquille O'Neal has apologized to all Sacramento Kings fans for his verbal jabs during his playing career and is promising to restore the franchise to its winning ways as a minority owner.

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Declaring the new name of the city "Shaqramento," O'Neal took several steps to explain his past swipes at his introductory news conference Tuesday. He said he was only trying to rile up people and market the game when he called the franchise the "Sacramento Queens" while winning three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.

O'Neal also offered insight into his role with the Kings and the vision of new majority owner Vivek Ranadive. He says he'll be a mentor to center DeMarcus Cousins and help the team build the NBA's first "indoor-outdoor arena."

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