>Tuesday Lunch: Please Don’t Go, Kings

Posted: February 22, 2011 in nba
Tags: , , , , , ,


By Will Robinson

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be involved in professional sports. While I am not Ray Liotta and will likely never have the chance to even portray a Hall of Fame player in any capacity, I have been a sports fan my whole life. My earliest moment I can truly remember is watching John Elway on the sidelines, hurt, being interviewed on Monday Night Football against the Raiders. I watched at Lamppost Pizza in South Davis, which is now a Mitsubishi dealership. Or something. Anyways, I digress.


One of the chief moments after that was my dad turning on a basketball game in 1998. My dad mentioned something about the Sacramento Kings having a new owner, sparking up new player introductions, and overhauling the television production value. The Maloof family, the new owners, bought the team a few years previous and started turning the team almost immediately via various roster moves, such as the drafting of Jason Williams, the signing of Vlade Divac, and the trading for Chris Webber. They made the playoffs and took the third place Utah Jazz to five games. After that, my family, my friends, and I were hooked on the Kings.

Rooting for the Kings only got better over the next few years as they ascended to become the most exciting team in the NBA. They progressed year after year, going further in the playoffs than the year previous. The height of their power culminated in the 2001-02 season, after a trade that sent Williams out and former number two overall pick Mike Bibby. The Kings took the Association by storm that season, compiling a 61-21 record and the league’s best record. My hometown Davis, and I can only assume Sacramento, went crazy during the Kings’ great run. Practically every kid in my sixth grade class was a Kings fan, and Kings promos were everywhere.


Everyone thought Sacramento could break through and claim a title. They started their run beating the Jazz in four games, and the Mavericks and five, which set up a seven game series against the in-state rival, and two–time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings got off to a great start to the series, in a position to secure a 3-1 series lead going back to Sacramento, but then Divac forgot how to rebound as time expired, and Robert Horry nailed a three pointer. It still makes me sick when I see it. Game Five went right down to the wire, as Bibby hit the game winning shot with a small amount of time left. All the Kings had to do was win one out of the last two games to make it to the NBA Finals. The controversial Game Six has been discussed ad nauseum, and everyone looked tired during Game Seven. They shot themselves in the foot that game, and have never been that far in the playoffs since.


Things weren’t terribly exiting after making it to the Western Conference Finals, and it all went downhill. After years of mediocrity and downright awfulness, things are finally on the up and up. They have two possible future studs that could lead the team to success in a few years, but there is an obvious problem: will the Kings be in Sacramento when they become good again? Needless to say, the loss would be huge to Sacramento and its surrounding communities. The Kings are the only professional sports team within 30 miles of Davis. Los Angeles does not need another basketball team in its greater area (it would make them the seventh professional sports team in LA of the top four sports), and while they already have a more modern arena readily available, Sacramento will have nothing.


I know that attendance has dropped heavily since the team lost its luster, but arco08900Sacramento is responsible for two of the top five longest consecutive sellout streaks in the NBA. They have a track record of being able to support an NBA team. The only problem is that they need to have some signs of life, be competitive, and notch some wins. Hell, when news broke about the possible move, a rally was organized and the Kings vs. Clippers game on February 28, a day before the deadline to file paperwork for a move, is almost sold out. The Kings have been mostly competitive this season, but they haven’t been able to get any wins. I hope for Sacramento’s sake, old fans, current fans, and even the seven year old who is just getting into sports still has the Kings around to follow. Otherwise, they may grow up and become Laker fans. Who would wish that on their kids?


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