Sacramento Kings co-owner Joe Maloof is planning a crown jewel of a skate park for the Maloof Money Cup South Africa world skateboarding championships this fall.
The permanent park will be built near a former diamond mine in Kimberley known as the "Big Hole." It will feature a 15,000-square-foot concrete street course shaped like a diamond, a halfpipe billed as the biggest on the continent and a Mini Mega ramp.
Several of the world's top skateboarders will compete Sept. 30-Oct. 2 for nearly $450,000 in cash and prizes, with $100,000 going to the winner of the street competition and $75,000 to the vert winner.
Maloof, who along with brother, Gavin, is considering moving the Kings to Anaheim, said it's important that skate parks be left behind in the cities that host the various Maloof Money Cup events. After starting with a single event in Costa Mesa, Calif., in 2008, the Maloof Money Cup has expanded to four contests this year -- New York in June, a yet-to-be-announced U.S. stop during Labor Day weekend, South Africa and then back to Southern California.
South Africa will be the first overseas contest in the series.
"I think it's a great opportunity for us to go international and not only bring something that's very positive to the country of South Africa, but to be able to leave a skate park there and do something nice for the kids in all those areas," Maloof said.
Maloof, who started his contests after noticing how many people skateboard, said he couldn't comment on specifics of the Kings' possible move to Orange County. On Tuesday night, Anaheim's City Council unanimously approved a $75 million bond deal to entice the Kings to relocate.
"I just think that whatever happens, we have a responsibility to do what's best for the franchise as owners, and we have a responsibility to do what's good for the league as well," said Maloof, whose family once owned the Houston Rockets. "We love it. It's part of us, part of our fiber, part of our being, the NBA. It's a great, great fraternity to be a part of."
The Maloofs, who also own the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, have quickly become big players in skateboarding with their big-money contests.
For previous Maloof Money Cups in Southern California and New York, course designers have included replicas of local obstacles.
For the South Africa course, pro street skater Geoff Rowley and Colby Carter of California Skateparks designed the main obstacle and the outline of the park itself in the shape of a diamond.
"It's a nod in a positive direction to the local community," Rowley said.
Rowley helped design the street courses for the last two Orange County contests and last year's inaugural Maloof Money Cup New York. The courses for the three Orange County contests, held in an outdoor arena at the county fairgrounds, had to be torn out. The New York contest was held on a new, permanent skate part in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens.
Rowley said the obstacles on the South Africa course will be designed so kids will have something to learn on.
"If you saw the kids in New York, how stoked they were watching the contest and seeing all their favorite professional skateboarders, and they knew that the second it was over it was going to be their park, you'd know what I mean," he said.
The Mini Mega ramp, which was added to the Maloof Money Cup Orange County vert competition two years ago, was a must, Maloof said.
"When the South Africa officials came over and saw the vert contest last year, they were stunned," he said. "They were just thrown back how cool it was. We promised them we'll have a great vert contest."
While the halfpipe will remain at the South Africa park, the Mini Mega ramp won't. The Mini Mega ramp includes a 30-foot drop-in ramp and a 25-foot gap with a handrail that skaters grind across as they sail toward a quarterpipe.
The top U.S. skaters from first two Maloof Money Cup contests this year will qualify for the top 16 spots in South Africa. International skaters and South Africans scouted during Skateboarding for Hope tours will compete in an open qualifier.
Past Maloof Money Cups have attracted vert stars such as two-time winner Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek and Andy Macdonald. It's not known which street skaters will compete because several stars have signed exclusively with the rival Street League Skateboarding.
The Maloofs have started a program to collect new or used shoes and skateboards in Southern California and give them to kids in South Africa. Vans donated 1,000 pairs of new shoes to the program.