First, I want it to be noted that I have been a devout Sacramento Kings fan since I was old enough to understand basketball.
Where as I was happily brainwashed to be a San Francisco 49ers and Giants fan by my family, I was left to my own devices when choosing an NBA squad to call “my team.”
It was the early ’90s, and I could have easily gone with the eye-pleasing Chicago Bulls, at that time boasting Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, John Paxton, Bill Cartwright and Horace Grant running the floor and providing a level of basketball that no one else in the world could contend with.
But I stayed true to my Northern California roots, even choosing the Sacramento Kings as my team over the Golden State Warriors, who at that time had Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin and one of my favorite players of all time in Mitch Richmond.
But I went for the Kings. I fell in love with the red, white and royal blue worn by the likes of Spud Webb, Walt Williams, Wayman Tisdale, Lionel Simmons and eventually Richmond.
I suffered alongside many other Kings fans through losing season after losing season, eventually being rewarded with heartbreaking playoff losses to the Lakers during the Chris Webber era.
Since then, the Kings haven’t offered a quality product, yet their fans haven’t relented in their love for them.
And even in the last few years when talks of relocation sprung up, Kings fans remained loyal, coming out in droves to keep their beloved in Sacramento.
But with this latest possible purchase and relocation to Seattle, I feel like the loyalty has run out.
And now I can see with clear eyes that the whole time the Kings and Sacramento were together, Sacramento loved the Kings far more than the Kings loved Sacramento. And that’s a relationship recipe that ends in tears every time.
At first, everything was all lovie-dovie. Even though the Kings were atrocious on the court, they still sold out every game. Sacramento was enamored of the Kings. That’s what I call the honeymoon period.
Like any relationship, the years slipped by faster and faster with some good and some bad, but a breakup was never in the cards ’til about three years ago.
As soon as things got tough financially, the Kings started looking for a new suitor. And like an open-minded fan base, we watched as the Kings looked around to quell their curiosity, hoping they would realize the gem they had waiting at home for them.
But nothing came of the search, and Sacramento and the Kings started their 27th year together, and everything felt a little safer.
But now that Seattle has come calling with a shiny new offer, the fans are again put in an awkward spot: hold onto something that obviously doesn’t love them back or let it go and hope one day a better team will come calling.
I say let it go. As a franchise, the Kings have turned their back on their life force for the past 27 years and left thousands of devoted fans in the lurch. We are left questioning: What did we do wrong, and what do we do now?
The answer is nothing. Sacramento fans did nothing wrong. The Kings are the ones with the problem, and Sacramento deserves better.
So to you, Kings, I say good riddance, get lost, and I hope Seattle treats you the way you treated Sacramento.
The city of Sacramento doesn’t deserve to be left in limbo. Just leave it and let it recover.
But what are fans to do after breaking up with one of the great loves of their lives.
Do we jump on the Warrior bandwagon, or do we look for comfort in the arms of the best looking team out there? That’s up to each fan himself, but I will tell you what we don’t do. We don’t love them from afar. We don’t watch them thrive with the arms of a new city around them.
I write all this now when I’m mad, but I know if the Seattle move doesn’t work out and the Kings come crawling back with flowers and an apology, I would welcome them back.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call (530) 477-4232 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.