Former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson Won’t Run for Re-election as Sacramento Mayor

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson took himself out of the running for a third term as mayor of Sacramento late Tuesday.

“After much thought and soul searching I have decided not to run for a third term as Mayor,” the former Cleveland Cavalier and Phoenix Sun explained in a statement. “It was an incredibly difficult choice, but one that I feel confident about. As I’m sure there will be much speculation on this, let me proactively say that I am not leaving for another specific job or position.”

Much speculation centers on Johnson’s relationships with girls. ESPN recently pulled a hagiographic film on the three-time NBA All-Star after old allegations of Johnson preying on a sixteen-year-old girl living with him resurfaced. A similar allegation of Johnson messing with a female student at Sacramento’s St. HOPE High School arose in 2008 during his initial campaign for mayor.

George H.W. Bush named Johnson one of his “1,000 points of light” and Stephen Colbert more recently called him “Baby Barack.” But his critics derided him as a cradle robber. And unlike former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards (guilty of corruption involving cash and not underage girls), who famously quipped that “the only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy,” Johnson likely understood allegations involving a live girl as threatening to his electoral chances.

Johnson, married to former Time and Newsweek covergirl Michelle Rhee, never specifically addressed the allegations hanging over him in his statement announcing his decision. He perhaps obliquely references the scandal by saying that, as mayor, “I’ve experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows.”