It’s not exactly been a season to remember for the Sacramento Kings. The Maloof Brothers’ team is an unimpressive 24-52 as the calendar turns to April, and have lost their previous 6 games. The good news though is the Kings are much improved from a year ago, largely in part to the outstanding play of rookie point guard Tyreke Evans. Gavin and Joe Maloof, the owners of the Kings, will have another high draft pick this summer to use on a complimentary player alongside Evans, and if some of their other young talent is able to develop next year, the Kings could find themselves playing close to or above .500 basketball and competing for a playoff berth next season.
Gavin Maloof, who of course has been a celebrity judge on this season of Celebrity Apprentice, joined KHTK in Sacramento to talk about what it was like being on the show, what Donald Trump was like to work with, how he ended up as a judge on the show rather than as a contestant, and why he thinks Tyreke Evans is the same caliber of star as a Kobe Bryant or a LeBron James.
On the experience of being on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice:
“Oh it was. Donald Trump is a really, really nice guy. So is his son, he’s really nice. Actually I was supposed to be on the show, and one of the skits involved the NBA, so I had to excuse myself and go on as a judge, and I think I was the first judge they’ve ever had other than the family.”
So he was on Celebrity Apprentice as a judge, rather than as a contestant?
“Yes, that’s what I was slated to do, then one of the skits involved the NBA, so they felt that was a conflict of interest for me. So they asked would I like to judge? And said, well, okay. That’s the next best thing, so I became a judge.”
On what The Donald was like to work with:
“He’s very professional, I mean, what a show it is. They have probably two or three hundred people working on the set, and the production crew. It’s one of the biggest shows on T.V. I think last…the ratings on Sunday were right around 8 million people they had watching and that’s plus another 1.5 million they had watching on the internet, so it’s a huge show.”
On the harsh critique he handed out to one team of contestants:
“Well I figured that’s kind of what my role was, to let them know what the pros and the cons, and the ad that they put together was really impossible to read. I mean, nobody in the world is going to read that ad, especially in the fast-paced world we are in today….I mean it was like a book. So I just told them to condense it, make it simple, make it legible. And my father always told me mark it for a third grade education, make it simple where people can understand it where they can get it within a few seconds.”
On if not owning the Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA will allow the Maloofs to focus more exclusively on the Kings:
“Obviously we were disappointed that we let the Monarchs go, but we wanted to focus our attention on the Kings; that’s our bread and butter. Also bringing in other evens to Arco Arena, lots more events, that’s another one of our focuses. But our main focus is the Kings, getting them back to prominence. Again we’ll have a really high pick this year, all the scouts have been out, we’re hoping Jeff can pull some more magic like he seems to do every year. We feel like there’s some more talent in the college ranks and we’re going to get a very good player again this year.”
On the stellar play of rookie guard Tyreke Evans and how he affects the way the Maloofs view the direction the franchise is heading in:
“Again it’s a process and it takes time. We definitely improved from last year, we had more wins than last year, we have a candidate who can make history to be one of only four players in the history of the NBA to in his rookie season average 20, 5, and 5. Often times people off the street will say why didn’t you get Kobe, or why didn’t you get LeBron? We already have a Kobe or a LeBron! We have Tyreke Evans! This guy’s that good! So we’re trying to get home the point how really, really great this kid is now and how great he’s going to be. What his brothers tell me is he’s going to work really, really hard on his jumpshot, he’s going to take some time off after this season probably and then it’s back to work. He’s really a hard worker, he’s a great individual, I love his family. So we have our LeBron James, we have our Kobe Bryant, it’s Tyreke Evans.”