Two things I didn’t know about Sacramento Kings co-owner and Las Vegas bigwig Gavin Maloof until this week.
1) He and his brother Joe are the guys behind the new permanent skate park being erected on theRFK Stadium Festival Grounds, just West of the stadium itself.
The new space will host the Maloof Money Cup D.C. on Saturday and Sunday of this week from 10-6; the park (which is “inspired by Freedom Plaza and the architecture up and down Pennsylvania Avenue”) will then be open to the community and will be maintained by Events DC. The Maloofs built a similar structure in Flushing Meadows, where they hold a New York Cup. The D.C. space is 15,000 square feet; Geoff Rowley is one of the designers.
“We just felt this should be in the nation’s capital,” Gavin Maloof told me. “We just love the sport; and we think things like this are great for the kids, and to spread skateboarding. There are 12 million skateboarders, more than play Little League baseball. It’s phenomenal. We do so many things, but this is something that we enjoy. We’re gonna have a wonderful event and then we’ll leave it for the kids. This is kind of our way of giving back and making a few dollars along the way.”
As for his own skateboarding career, Maloof told me he hasn’t been on a board since he “fell and hurt myself” as a kid. Read more about the Maloof Money Cup D.C. here.
2) He considers himself close friends with Daniel Snyder, and watched Thursday’s Skins game from the owner’s box at FedEx Field.
“When you’re an owner of a team it’s a very small fraternity,” Maloof told me. “We bought the Kings around the same time [that Snyder bought the Redskins], and we just struck a friendship. He’s a wonderful guy, I just love the guy.”
Maloof had never been to FedEx Field before this week, though he’s hosted Snyder for several dinners in Vegas. He said the two men talk about their team and business dealings, and the broader questions of sports ownership when they get together, saying they have “a great friendship.”
So, naturally, I asked Maloof about the image problem that Snyder has among some Redskins fans.
“I don’t know why that is,” Maloof said. “I can see firsthand he loves this team, he lives and dies with this team. The fans should really like an owner that cares about the team. He’s trying, he’s trying to put together a winner, and I think this year they’ll be considerably better. I think fans should like that. He’s a fan; he wants to win, they want to win. What more could you ask for? That’s a perfect owner, in my opinion.”