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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Jackson

My Favorite Hat

At age 8, as a reward for being brave while getting my cavities filled, Dr. McDaniel bestowed 2 tickets to my first sporting event.  Basketball was literally King in Sacramento, because it was the only ticket in town.  We had “nose bleed” seats, but to my innocent eyes, they were the best seats in the house.  My father, an import from the Philippines, tried to explain the sport to his captivated daughter.  I marveled as the Sacramento Kings took the court in their red, white, and baby blue.  Despite the fact that they were terrible, I was hooked.  Twenty years later now living in New York City, I wore the same red, white, and baby blue at my local, the Abbey Pub.  I watched a better Kings team face the Knicks, a rare event since most Kings’ games don’t get national syndication.  While screaming, clapping, looking like a fool (as good fans will do), a gentleman approached and asked if I was a Nets fan.  I barked at him to look at who was playing.  “Oh, you’re wearing the throwback colors.”  My response, “Throwbacks are for posers, this is about being a fan.”

“Being a fan” now a days seems to be lost amongst politics, syndication, money and Mickey.  As Sacramento Mayor Johnson, an ex-NBA player, sadly announced last week that he felt the relocation of my Kings was eminent.  After a valiant effort from my boyfriend to keep news of a possible move, my mother was the one who broke the news to me.  My mother, who would watch games in a separate room from my father – she couldn’t stand how he would yell at the TV, but refused to miss a game.  My mother, who called Mike Bibby – “My” Bibby.  Like shattering the illusion of Santa Clause, my mother, heartbroken, told her daughter that there would no longer be a home team.  I cried.  Even though the talks were still early at the time, I knew that my nightmare was becoming a reality.

Can our city really cry loss when the team didn’t belong to us in the first place?  One of the oldest franchises in basketball, the Kings were once the Rochester Royals, who then moved to Cincinnati, and landed in Kansas to become the Kings.  And just like the current problem in Sacramento, Kansas did not pull in the revenue, so they moved to the California capitol.  The team is marked with migration, following water from an under franchised well.  Even with the state of financial woes, Sacramento will face more without a professional team calling it home.  Like Kansas the revenue depleted and as Sacramento falls into a greater financial funk, there is little water left to feed on except for the drops drenching the faces of the fans.  I am crying, I am lost – the city is crying, the city will be lost.

Surrounding all the chatter, it seams everyone has some choice words about the city that embraced the Kings and the fans that have stood by a team through over twenty years of turmoil.  I have some words for you –

To the sports radio host who alluded to the lack of dedication from the fans as a reason that the team is leaving: Sacramento is a place with hard working families who proudly took on the nickname of “Cowtown” when mocked by Phil Jackson.  It was a hit on the city in an effort to belittle the fans. The fans reacted with cowbells and posters exchanging Phil’s face for the KFC Colonel.  This “Cowtown” has one of the better attendance rates in the NBA considering the lack of “Nike” stars, where some teams have two major commodities and their fans don’t even bother showing up to the first half of the game (hashtag – Heat, Lebron, Not liking you now).  It is difficult to measure the fans who gather together with their families to watch the games on TV because the cost of a ticket is a luxury they can’t afford, or the father who saves from meager earnings to purchase his first American born son a Kings jersey, or the fact that fans still cheer despite having ex-players, bitter that they blew their knee, mock the people of Sacramento and where they call home. The city has been hit hard economically, but to say that current attendance reflects on our fandom is pile of cow dung.

My Parents - St. Patrick's Day 2011

To the Lakers fans who mock us: You know you would bitch and moan as much as we did if the 2002 Game 6 calls weren’t in your favor and shrouded in controversy.   That’s what fans do, but you wouldn’t know much about that since it seems like calls are always in Laker favor.  What if your team was taken away? You would still have the Clippers or are they not good enough to cheer for or serve blue-cheese fries at their games.  You could wave your rings around all you want, I just want my team.  “Beat LA” is a cheer that bonds, so I might not always have a team to root for but I’ll always have one to root against.

To the Maloofs: I understand you tried.  I appreciate Turkey night for the Thanksgiving games.  I know you tried to make the tickets accessible when there was an economic downturn.  I know your investments have taken a hit.  I know that talks have existed between you and the city without a favorable outcome.  Thank you for Slamson.  But be honest with us, was this your plan all along to move?  Since you purchased the team there was always a whisper now a roar about you moving the franchise.  Back when the Maloofs were just prospective owners, people thought an inherent move would happen in the hands of real-estate moguls.  The Kings could move into the Palms pent house.  All the talk of wanting to work with the city, were you just buying time so the NBA could grant your wish?  Is this what “happens when people stop being polite and start getting real?

To the NBA: You have given up on fans and have turned to corporate sponsors.  The skill of a player is only equal to how good they look while chugging down electrolytes.  In reaching out to children, is the lesson in teamwork equal to the lesson in market shares.  The NBA is defunct.  If after all these negotiations, the answer is “we’ve done all that we can.”  What does that mean? The authority should lie with the NBA Board of Governors.  If the NBA can no longer tell the players, the owners or the sponsors what to do, why is there a board?  Will you allow the Maloofs to hold an hour long special about Le Decision to announce they are bringing their talents to Anaheim?  Out of professional sports in America, basketball has the biggest issue with finding an audience because there is a major loyalty issue in the NBA.  Basketball is no longer an American sport; it is becoming an elitist sport.  Basketball is moving in the direction of Broadway: tickets are expensive, scalpers are taking over, and everything is being sold off to Disney.  There is no longer a division of talent, just which market has the most money.  There are no longer teams in Buffalo, Minnesota, and soon Sacramento because they moved to southern California.  But Minnesota still has the Vikings, the Wild and gained the Timberwolves while Buffalo has the Sabers and, for the time being, the Bills.  Sacramento will be left with nothing.  Screw “National,” soon it will be the LABA.

And finally my dearest Sacramento:  We are not without blame.  When led to a vote for building a new home for the Kings with tax dollars, the city voted no.  As a collective, not everyone needs to love basketball.  As a city, people need to be informed about what ups the value of the place they live.  Did the lawmakers, the politicians really stand up for what was best for the city or did they mouth what voters always like to hear, “No new taxes.”  The state is in debt.  It is easy to turn to the citizens and say, “Well you voted against it.”  Thriving cities have thriving professional sports teams; it’s a way to draw people in, to show the vibrancy of the community.  I know that Sacramento is a great place to grow up, but that doesn’t bring in conventions, tourists, corporations.   Is it really the responsibility of the city to carry the burden of monetarily holding up a team when so many of its citizens are hurting financially?  Where are the local investors, the politicians rallying the community to make a move, a prospective season subscription drive if there was a new stadium?  I’m not an economics major, but taking away a team that provided the city with so much life can’t be good financially either.  It definitely won’t help property value.

The fans are begging to be told what they can do and the response: silence or apologies from politicians, the NBA, and the Maloofs.

When I was in London I mentioned being from Sacramento and a Brit got all excited because the Kings/Lakers battle made him a fan of basketball.  While in the Philippines I saw a young boy in Manila proudly sport a makeshift Kings’ jersey. And in New York, I cheered so loudly at the Garden for my Kings that a New Yorker turned around and said, “You need to cheer for the home team.”  I looked at her, “That is home, Sacramento!”

Please don’t take away my home.

From Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins pleads his case to an official after a foul call against him during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, March, 14, 2011. The Kings won 129-119. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)

I’m not losing my team without a fight and I’m not alone.  I know that Arco Arena is no longer Arco and the Maloofs have registered the name Anaheim Royals, but I’ve got to try.  Here are several sites from fans about the Sacramento Kings.  I would love a little back up, so please post a link to this post on the NBA’s site, any Sacramento government site, sports sites or tweet/facebook about it.

With your help maybe there is a sliver of hope for the NBA to tell the Maloofs to give Sacramento one

more year to get something together.

Here We Stay.

Websites to link this post to, but feel free to post anywhere or respond here:

Facebook: Here We Stay, Kings Fan Page, Power Balance Pavilion, Good Day Sacramento, Sacramento

Sports Websites:,,,,

Local Government:, Mayor of Sacramento

Blogs:,, SacBee,

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