On the night that an ESPN "30 for 30" film on his political efforts was scheduled for release, current Sacramento mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson declared that he would not be running for re-election in 2016, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“[A]fter much thought and soul-searching, I have decided not to run for a third term,” Johnson wrote in an email to The Bee on Tuesday evening, which he later tweeted.
The decision comes just four weeks after Deadspin published a longform feature detailing Johnson’s reported sexual abuse of then high schooler Mandi Koba two decades ago. Deadspin was then able to acquire and disseminate a video of Koba's 1996 police interview. The one-two punch of the article and video has led to the renewal of public scrutiny and the resurfacing of unwanted questions for the two-term mayor, who saw ESPN pull its "30 for 30" film in the aftermath.
“[Not seeking re-election] was an incredibly difficult choice, but one that I feel confident about,” Johnson stated Tuesday.
Johnson’s political portfolio is highlighted by his successful battle to keep the Sacramento Kings in town. The effort led to the conception of the new $507 million arena currently being built in downtown Sacramento and was the crux of the ESPN film scheduled for release on Tuesday night.
The $507 million estimate for the arena is a $30 million spike from previous projections, and the city is on the hook for a reported $255 million of the total cost.
Claiming the mayoral seat in 2008, Johnson is a three-time NBA All-Star best known for his time as the point guard of the Phoenix Suns. He gained his office in the state capital less than a decade after he retired from the NBA.
“I leave this job humbled by the opportunity and honor of serving my community,” Johnson’s statement concluded. “I leave knowing that my relationship with and work on behalf of the city is far from over.”
Johnson’s full statement can be seen below.
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