When one of my writers approached me in September of 2012 about the possibility of adding the Sacramento Kings to our coverage on Golden Gate Sports, I was very reluctant to do so.
Why? First of all, the Kings technically aren’t even located in the Bay Area, and second, was it really worth it to recruit writers and dedicate my time just to cover a losing team?
I finally gave in, but only because the NHL lockout appeared nowhere closing to being resolved, and I hoped that our Kings coverage could make up for the lack of Sharks’ content.
Within a few weeks, I hired a few Kings writers to write previews, recaps, and analyze the team. After a few deep breaths, I added “Kings” to our main toolbar, behind the Warriors of course. I swore to myself that I would always consider the Warriors the main basketball team in the Bay Area, and really hoped that I was making the right choice by adding the Kings to our coverage.
Now at this point, you may be thinking that I am a complete Warriors homer and will never give two cents about the Kings.
Four months ago, you would be right.
Even though I reside less than two hours away from Sacramento and have made several trips up to our state capital, I have never been to a Kings game and don’t get their games on my Comcast package.
When my writer suggested that I add the Kings to our coverage, all I knew about about the Kings was that they were a good team in the late 90′s and early 2000′s before they traded for Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace) and everything spiraled downwards from there.
I also knew that they had a horrible team with an awful head coach in Keith Smart (although his name would suggest otherwise) and an
outdated arena sponsored by SleepTrain, which might be the second worst stadium sponsorship in sports behind the O.Co Coliseum.
Those were the only thoughts I could conjure up on the Kings four months ago, and I have to admit that was a pretty unfair and biased assessment.
Fast forward to January 9, when reports indicated that the Maloofs were in serious talks to sell the team to a Seattle investment group led by Chris Hansen and relocate the team in 2013-2014 season.
I was in utter shock, and the first thing that flashed across my mind was that this would be our first, last, and only season covering the Kings on Golden Gate Sports.
Based on the narrative, you might be thinking at this juncture that I was elated to not have to cover the Kings anymore and focus on the Warriors outright after this season.
You could not be more wrong.
In the four months between reluctantly adding the Kings to the site and the news breaking that the Kings would be relocating, I have been completely sucked in by this team.
Despite the fact that they’re way out of playoff contention, have no team chemistry whatsoever, and stuck with the immature acts of DeMarcus Cousins, I have grown to support the Kings as much as I support the Warriors.
Sometimes, when you force yourself to adapt and adjust to a new environment, you will eventually get the hang of it.
It is similar, in a way, to listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” when it comes on the radio. As the song starts, you are reluctant to listen to it and may even tone the volume way down. But somehow, someway, you wind up blasting it at full sound and singing along as it ends (Guys: admit it, this happens to you from time to time).
Dare I compare them to a teenage pop song, but that is exactly how I feel about the Kings. I was extremely hesitant to make a routine out of following their games and transactions, yet four months later, I check the Sacramento Bee daily and make an effort to watch Kings games on League Pass whenever possible. There is no plausible reason for my sudden devotion to the team, but let’s just say that I’ve blasted the volume and I’m along for the ride.
Sometime in the near future, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson will present a counter-offer to the $340 million transaction between the Maloofs and Hansen’s investment group at the NBA Board of Governors meeting, and I am hoping like hell that he convinces them to reject the current deal in place.
The Kings deserve better than this. Sacramento deserves better than this.
Just because a team has been rotting away thanks to the carelessness of the Maloofs does not mean that the city has to be deprived of their only professional franchise. Just because Seattle lost the Sonics to Oklahoma City does not mean that they can just steal a franchise that has played in the same city since 1985.
This may be a far-fetched thought, but I have a feeling that the Kings will stay in Sacramento, much like they did in 2011 when a move to Anaheim was all but done. Fans have rallied together and already collected more than $17 million and counting of money pledged toward season tickets for a new arena in Sacramento. Mayor Johnson is working his rear end off to save the future of the Kings in Sacramento, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he pulled off a miraculous act and delivered in the clutch once again.
Relocation changes everything. Players and their wives will have to move and find a new place to live in a new, unfamiliar area. Their kids, who have settled in nicely in the community, will have to make new friends in a new school in the middle of the semester. Coaches, trainers, and executives will be fired. Ushers, concession stand operators, and ticket scanners will be unemployed. Broadcasters, beat writers, and PA announcers will have to find another place to work.
Most importantly, the city of Sacramento will be the victim of highway robbery, with the criminal speeding away towards Seattle.
When mayor Johnson steps to the podium in front of the NBA Board of Governors, the pressure of keeping the Kings in their rightful place will be placed on his shoulders. I’m sure that I – along with the entire city of Sacramento – will be crossing my fingers, hoping that the Kings will stay right where they belong.