KJ, who grew up in Sacramento, returned to his hometown to become mayor.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)

There is no more American of a story than of a hometown boy making good. That narrative was illustrated well by Sacramento native Kevin Johnson, who after a storied NBA career, returned home to become the mayor of the city he grew up in.

Johnson, who was a three-time All-Star for the Phoenix Suns, became the first African-American mayor of California’s capital city Tuesday, defeating two-term Mayor Heather Fargo. Known for being a Democrat with Conservative social views, Johnson told the Sacramento Bee that his first two goals as mayor would be to create a definitive budgetary plan to reduce a ballooning deficit and to forge unity among city council members.

“Sacramento also made history today in electing its first black mayor,” Johnson told the Associated Press. “Both Obama and myself, we ran on a promise and the theme of change. No more business as usual.”

The Suns’ all-time assist leader is looking to make financial cutbacks of $140 million over the next four years. But despite what he accomplishes as mayor, Johnson’s tale is one that others can use as a model for those interested in public service.

“A little knucklehead kid, a poor kid from Oak Park going away and coming back and being the mayor of the city he grew up in — that’s the American dream,” Johnson told the Sacramento Bee. “I hope it’s a great example for every young person in our community that if you work hard, you get a great education and have good character, anything is possible.”

KJ, who ousted Fargo by 15 points, will take office in 21 days.

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