Wednesday, April 13, 2011
It's been a nice run, but tonight will probably signal the end of the Sacramento era in the NBA. Despite what was at times a rabid fan base of people who have nothing better to do, the Kings will most likely be packing up and moving closer to their Arch Rival Lakers in Anaheim whenever the next NBA season begins (at this point, it looks like not for a while). The Maloofs, like so many owners and American people in general of late, have been hit hard by the recession and it's time to make the 5th stop in the franchise's history.
In the 26 years that the team has called California's capital home, the Kings have been mostly crap, mixed in with a couple seasons being the most exciting to team to watch in basketball. Although they had a few nice players in the 90's (Mitch Richmond, Billy Owens) the early 2000's saw the Kings take off as a fun, high scoring team of European shooters and slick passers (as well as floppers) and a couple of offensive powers in Mike Bibby and Chris Webber. This time was something of a boom for Euoropean players making their mark in the league as more than just novelty acts with hard to pronounce names, and Sacramento was one of the pioneers. Stojakovic, Turkoglu and old reliable Vlade Divac were a big reason the Princeton offense that Pete Carril implemented ran so smoothly, and Arco Arena became one of the best home courts in the NBA. Unfortunately, exciting style of play doesn't always mean wins, and the Kings have progressively gotten worse as the years have passed. Now, they have a young team that plays in front of a half empty arena.
It's fitting that the possible final game in Arco would be against the Lakers. Even boasting a nearly unstoppable offense, and the conference's best record, the Kings could never get past L.A. Phil Jackson famously called Sacramento a "cow town" only adding to the Laker hate. I'm sure that nothing would make what's left of their fans happier than to beat Kobe and co. one last time, even if it is a relatively meaningless game. Realistically, it's much more fitting that the Lakers will kick crap on the Kings once again for old times' sake.
So long, Sacramento. See you in Anaheim sometime in 2013.
UPDATE: This game ended about as perfectly as a Lupica could imagine. The Lakers were kicking ass, leading by 20 in the 4th before a furious run by the Kings. The crowd sounded like the cow bell ringing nut jobs of the early 2000 playoff games vs. the Lakers and it looked like they would finish their stay in Sacramento with a huge comeback win over their rivals. But then, reality kicked in and Kobe hit a 3 to send it to overtime (showing off his new celebration move) and the Lakers once again took a big steamy dump all over the people of Sacramento. So long, suckers!