It has been quite the week in sports-the Warriors, a team full of passion and heart, were eliminated from the playoffs. The LA Kings scored two goals in 22 seconds to take home a playoff win. The Memphis Grizzlies have advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. And last, but certainly not least, the Sacramento Kings are officially staying in Sacramento.
Like Dirtbags, the Sacramento Kings were a part of growing up. I attended Vinny Del Negro basketball camp as one of two girls. I spent hours outside in my driveway driving to the hoop like Jason Williams. During Sacramento Kings basketball camp, I had the opportunity to play at Arco Arena. In fifth grade, I was ball girl for the Kings for a game and handed Corliss Williamson a cup of Gatorade after he had a career high 40 points. I remember where I was when Robert Horry hit the game winning three to defeat the Kings in a playoff battle. I’ve been a part of the best fans in the NBA. I know what it’s like to feel disappointed by a team and betrayed by the owners. I know how it feels to have your team almost taken away. And most importantly, I know the sense of relief when the headline of the Sacramento Bee reads: “Source: Deal Made for Kings.”
Being a Kings fan hasn’t always been easy. We’ve been robbed of a championship appearance. We’ve been made fun of by Phil Jackson and the Lakers time and time again. We’ve drafted talent, but can’t seem to form a sense of unity on the court. Even our owners gave up on us. But, part of being a fan is believing. You have to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As our season has been cut short year after year, we continue to pick each other up. “Next year will be our year, just wait and see,” we tell each other.
Win or lose, it was the Kings who inspired me to play basketball. It was Tyus Edney who inspired me to wear the number 5 and Spud Webb who showed me that height means nothing when you have raw talent. It’s the Kings who bring out the emotion in me; the sense of pride when they pull off a surprising win against a top-ranked team and the disappointment when our best player is benched for behavior issues.
For the past two seasons, rumors have been swirling regarding the fate of the Kings. Were they staying? Were they moving? After what seemed like a never ending roller coaster ride, our prayers have been answered. The Maloof’s have agreed to terms to sell 65% of the team to a Sacramento based group for $348 million with the Kings total valuation in the sale of $535 million, an NBA record.
With the sale of the team comes a new arena, new owners and a new sense of pride. It’s time to put Sacramento on the map. It’s time to get our team back on top where they belong. This is our city. This is our team. Here we stay.