Former Phoenix Suns guard Kevin Johnson maintained a picture-perfect public persona from his days of NBA stardom all the way to the mayor's house in his hometown of Sacramento, but there has been a disturbing number of skeletons rattling away in his closet behind the scenes.
The most notorious one of all has now gone public after 20 years.
Mandi Koba, previously only identified under the pseudonym of 'Kim Adams', granted Dave McKenna of Deadspin an interview and gave her side of the story.
To those familiar with the original report, first published by the Phoenix New Times in 1997, there aren't many surprises in the Deadspin article. Instead, it mainly served to clarify a few particulars, the most notable being her claim that Johnson paid her exactly $230,000 for her silence, which is the same number reported by the Sacramento Bee in 2008.
For Johnson, this brings an embarrassing allegation to light yet again, just when the public was beginning to recognize him for his involvement in keeping the Kings in Sacramento.
For the rest of us, this adds a new coat of paint to an old, depressing story. All parties involved did everything they could to keep NBA fans and Sacramento residents blissfully unaware of any of this, and they did a very efficient job if we're being honest here. The Phoenix Suns organization has never released a public comment on the matter, nor has Kevin Johnson.
It's as if it never happened.
Except now, the victim has a name. And a story to tell.
It would be much easier to dismiss Koba's allegations if it weren't for the uncomfortable fact that there exist multiple other charges that portray Kevin Johnson as the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing, using his status in his community as a means to get inappropriately close to women, be them underage or not.
I could segue into a subplot here about the dangers of romanticizing professional athletes and the role they play in society, but I prefer not to insult everyone's intelligence. If you're smart enough to operate a keyboard, by all measures you should be abundantly aware that basketball players are still nothing more than human beings.
Unfortunately, they weren't granted a supreme sense of morality just because they play for our favorite team.
What I really would like to say is, it sucks.
It sucks for a generation of Suns fans who grew up watching Kevin Johnson. It sucks because the proper narrative here should be whether Kevin Johnson is worthy of the Hall of Fame, not what his showertime policies are when it comes to underage girls. It sucks for our country's justice system, wherein even the more heinous accusations can be wished away with the power of a millionaire's checkbook.
Of course, none of that compares to the 20-year anguish of Mandi Koba, if one were to assume that her story is accurate.