It was 2006 when Sacramento went to the playoffs to face the forever great Spurs from San Antonio..for the last time.
I grew up as a zealous fan of the Sacramento Kings back in the “Greatest Show on Court” years and man, they were great and exciting as any team in the NBA right now. Anytime they had games live on TV I was watching them, with a basketball in my hands trying to memorize those slick Jason Williams’ dimes and sweet- shooting strokes from Peja Stojakovic. If I have to tell a person or two about this now, it’s kind of weird yeah? Well, the story was like this:
I was in first grade when I went to my grandparents’ house , just right across my elementary school, one afternoon for a little snack when I knew that nobody was home. I decided to go upstairs hoping they were there (nope, still no signs of any human being). Checked it again, none.
As I was dashing my way back, a newspaper was lying lonely on their bed. I read the little fellow and after all those gibberish topics about politicians, I came across this cool photo of the Kings’ no. 16 in a calm yet deadly shooting form. At that time, I was not a fan of the sport but something about the photo deeply persuaded me to become one and start playing already.
From that day forward, I got myself a basketball and started playing the game I’ll forever love.
That story is the reason why I’m not giving up on the team which inspired me to work hard and hustle even more in times of despair.
Sacramento Kings just gave me this eternal- like connection right away. Maybe because this little town in California isn’t as rich and glamorous as LA or San Diego or maybe because after spending time doing research about the team, I’ve learned that they have valuable pieces in them who came from depressed countries (Divac, Stojakovic, and Turkoglu). I’m a small town man in the Philippines so maybe that’s what’s driving me to root for them.
Yet, from 2007 fast forward to 2015, they are no longer in the post- season after the band went apart due to stupid front office decisions and ignorance. Chris Webber and Co. were either traded with a bunch of role players or left behind without any support so the decision of packing their gym bags to other teams.
Frustrations grew bigger and even more bad decisions were passed around. Fans were cursing and felt that they were left hanging on the edge. The franchise was almost bought by a group from Seattle and thank God it was saved and it’s still balling in Sacramento. And oh, thank you Mr. Ranadive and Mr. Johnson as well, you sure deserve the credits!
This season though, it is still the same lousy, talented- but- young- and- misguided team that has been since Boogie Cousins and Rudy Gay put their Kings unis. I mean, three head coaches in a single season? Obviously, the guys in suits aren’t on the same page and worse, the players are confused as to which philosophy or system are they going to play on the hardwood every night.
I love how they started to beat the crap out of several over .500 teams in the league and to be honest, Mike Malone did a hell of a job in changing Boogie. That’s right, he disciplined the big man (well, maybe that WC stint had a part of his change). From an uncontrollable monster to a professional basketball player. A particular game at Phoenix was truly remarkable- Malone lost his temper and was berserk towards the refs from a charge Cousins got yet, Cousins immediately dragged his coach away from them like “It’s okay coach, Imma get this one back, just chill. Hakuna matata” . Hell of a job, Malone must have had the nuts to discipline Boogie.
However, Cousins got ill and missed more than ten games, the team didn’t have the same type of energy on both ends of the court, and they fired the guy who inspired the talented big man. It was pretty clear that the young center hated the action towards his mentor but this is the NBA, like any sports league around the world, it’s still about winning and yeah, business. So, Malone made his exit and was replaced by interim coach Ty Corbin who made a joke out of himself and the team.
While Corbin was still leading the team, the front office was busy publicly offering ol’ man George Karl a coaching job. That was great, unprofessional though. Should have done it in the offseason, besides the team couldn’t make it to the playoffs anyway. So Corbin got his job taken and walked away without a consolation. Karl was then in charge of a problem- filled team and had to figure out of any possible way to compensate their needs through each player’s performance every game.
This offseason, thousands of fans not only in Sacramento are hoping that they can address the problems and find ways to solve them…right away. Got a hint that Cousins is tired of going through the same process again, for six seasons straight.
The team must be committed to work as a team, a single unit just like the Spurs do. Build a mix of veteran and young players to play with him effectively each 48- minute war and 82 games long. Last time was 2006, that was a very long time and the fans are fed up with the “rebuilding” process speeches. The time is now, let’s do this Sacramento!