for: Kevin Johnson, a Sacramento native, played 12 seasons in the NBA
and was a three-time All-Star. Via his St. Hope organization, he's made a
major investment in the economic and educational future of his
childhood Oak Park neighborhood. [Elected Sacramento Mayor in 2008.]
Background: Johnson emerged as a top player at Sacramento High, leading the state in scoring in 1983. He had a stellar college career at Cal before being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1987. A year later, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns, who reached the 1993 NBA Finals before losing to the Chicago Bulls. In 1989, he founded the St. Hope Academy, which started in a portable classroom at Sacramento High School. Through St. Hope, Johnson has invested more than $11 million in Oak Park, creating 14 businesses and 282 jobs. His 40 Acres complex on Broadway at 35th Street includes a Starbucks, Guild Theater, a bookstore and apartments.
A highlight: St. Hope also operates St. Hope Public Schools, a K-12 independent public charter school district composed of six small schools, which is planning to take the reins of a New York City school with historic ties to the famous Boys Choir of Harlem
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.