When not writing on local government as editor of PublicCEO, I do some writing on the side covering basketball for NBA.com.

Sitting at press row at Wednesday night’s Sacramento Kings game, I grabbed this quick video on my iPhone when Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson grabbed the mic and took the hardwood to endorse Kings rookie Tyreke Evans for the NBA’s Rookie Of The Year Award.

The campaign for Evans to win the award is purely marketing on behalf of the Kings, considering the award means little and there are really only two people in the city who have a vote for the award anyways.

Initially, my thought was, “Why is the mayor constantly promoting the Kings?” I was skeptical to why he consistently attended the NBA games and why he seemed to be so involved.

But then it hit me. Johnson isn’t marketing the Kings, he is marketing the city – to the city.

By taking the spotlight in front of thousands of residents, Johnson is increasing his visibility and showing he is involved.

More importantly though – and something that really hit me when I saw him shaking the hands of the Maloof brothers (owners of the Kings franchise) – I realized Johnson was also a keen businessman.

The city is still hoping to finally reach a deal to build a new arena, a venture that Johnson and others feel would provide a big boost to Sacramento’s downtown economy. He’s shaking the hands of the right people and developing the relationships that are going to help that process.

From Thursday’s Sacramento Bee: “After two months of work, the mayor’s Sacramento First Task Force’s 83-page report on new arena proposals is out. The panel delivered it to the City Council at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, and the council discussion is beginning.

Being visible to residents and decision-makers is a good move.

James Spencer can be reached at jspencer@publicceo.com