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April 17, 2013
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Ford: Kings future up for grabs as season closes

A wise person once said, “If you truly love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was meant to be.”

I agree with this on many fronts. When it comes to relationships, animals found in the wild and boomerang’s I think it’s sound advice. When it comes to Sacramento and professional sports, not so much.

Tonight the Sacramento Kings face the Los Angeles Clippers at Sleep Train Arena in both teams’ final game of the NBA regular season, and for the Kings, possibly their last game in the state’s capital.

The future of the Kings franchise will be decided in the coming weeks and while 16 markets across the NBA will be busy rooting for their teams in the playoffs, the black and purple faithful will anxiously await their team’s future.

Whether the Kings stay or leave will be crucial to the future of Sacramento sports. If the Kings do set sail for Seattle, it may be a very long time before there is another major professional sports team that plants roots in Sacramento.

The California capital has never been a desired spot for free agents. It’s not a sexy location like Los Angeles, or Miami, and frankly Sacramento is seen as a cow town by the rest of the sporting world. Kings fans haven’t helped that by ringing cow bells incessantly at games, but that’s besides the point.

Unless there is a Sacramento born investor in the future I don’t see any reason a team would come to Sacramento.

It’s not viable for the NFL to have three teams in Northern California. Same for the MLB, and with the Sharks just a few hours away, there wouldn’t be a big enough fan base for an NHL hockey team to move to Sacramento.

So here we are, in the same situation Seattle was just a few years ago. Hoping our beloved team will stay, and hoping that loyalty wins out over greed. It didn’t work out for Seattle, who’s former team is now the No. 1 seed in the Western Division playing under the moniker of Thunder in Oklahoma City.

If the Kings do leave for Seattle, another basketball team would be Sacramento’s only option. And don’t even mention the MLS. Bringing a professional soccer team to Sacramento is not the same thing.

But given Sacramento’s track record, why would any basketball team take that gamble. In the 28 years the Kings have been in Sacramento they never won a championship or even made it to the NBA Finals. They boast only one potential hall of famer in Mitch Richmond, and have more losing seasons than I can count on my hands and toes. Obviously they didn’t make enough money to keep ownership happy, so for Sacramento’s sake and the future of sports in the city I hope the Kings stay, but no matter the outcome I envision a much different Kings team next year.

Much like the Thunder who rose from the ashes of the SuperSonics like a Kevin Durant shaped phoenix, the Kings will rise from all this politicking and uncertainty to be a better team.

Next season, the Kings will know their fate, their home and their fan base. Stay or leave they are getting a new stadium, new owners and a new found optimism. They have strong players in DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton and John Salmons and have struggled so mightily this season they will have a lottery pick in the NBA draft.

So for all you Sacramento King supporters, make sure you don your favorite Kings jersey today, and if you can’t be at the game, catch it on TV, because it may be the last time we see what is known as the Sacramento Kings.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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The Union Updated Apr 17, 2013 01:14AM Published Apr 17, 2013 01:14AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.