Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Named Grand Marshal of INDYCAR Weekend
Kevin Johnson has proven his ball-handling skills on both the college and NBA hardwood. He’s also shown he wields a mean gavel as mayor of Sacramento.
This month, Mayor Johnson will show whether he has what it takes to fire up a full field of INDYCARs when he assumes the role of Grand Marshal of the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Johnson first gained national prominence for his exploits on the basketball court, as a four-year starter at the University of California and then during a stellar 12-year NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns.
On Sunday, he will add a new item to his resume when he utters the most famous words in racing, “Drivers, Start Your Engines,” in front of a roaring crowd as well as a national television audience on NBC Sports.
"The raceway in Sonoma has an international reputation for hosting world-class events and this year's GoPro Indy Grand Prix continues that rich tradition,” said Johnson. “As a native Northern Californian, I am honored to serve as Grand Marshal of a major motor race being held in my backyard. I'm counting the minutes to the green flag!"
Johnson was named Grand Marshal at the invitation of raceway president and fellow Cal alum, Steve Page.
“Kevin Johnson is a true sports legend in Northern California and he holds a special place in the hearts of Cal basketball fans,” said Page. “We’re very excited to have Mayor Johnson with us for the INDYCAR weekend and to have him play a big part in the event festivities.”
Johnson, who played point guard at Cal, almost single-handedly revitalized their basketball program during his tenure and was a two-time All-Pac 10 Conference player and an honorable-mention All-American selection. He led Cal to its first postseason appearance in 26 years with an NIT bid in 1986, and left Cal as the school’s all-time leader in assists, steals and scoring. He was the first Golden Bear to have his jersey retired (No. 11). For his efforts, Johnson was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in March.
During his 12-year professional career, Johnson was a three-time NBA All-Star and a five-time All-NBA selection. At the time of his retirement, he held numerous Phoenix Suns records.
These days, Johnson stays busy running the city of Sacramento. He was elected to office in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. He is the first African-American and native Sacramentan to hold the position.
Since taking office, Johnson has accomplished a number of objectives in his ambitious action plan for Sacramento, including improving public safety, boosting economic development, and becoming a national leader for championing excellence in public education.
For tickets or more information on the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, CLICK HERE or call 800-870-RACE (7223).