I'm a very-long-time lurker (years), first time ever posting, on what may be the eve of the summer of our discontent. I'm sorry if another emotional, retrospective fanpost is tiring and overdone, but seeing the news that Peja may even return for the final home game inspired me to write this.
If what is rumored is true about Peja, and he shows to the game, and it ends up that they "got the band back together," in a way, to say goodbye, I think I'm gonna finally lose it.
Like many of us, I grew up a Kings fan my entire life. I inherited the Raiders from my family as my NFL team, was given the A's by a family friend, but the Kings I came to all on my own. During the start of the good times in 1999 my fanhood flourished, and I still believe the NBA owes us a championship for 2002 (never forget!).
I learned the screen and roll from watching our players run it so well in the good ole' days. I grew to despise Rick Fox, and Kobe, and Shaq, and [he who shall not be named who hit that damn 3-pointer], but also the other less-publicized King-killers, like Nick Van Exel, and Jason Terry, and Troy Murphy, and David Hoiberg.
Jerry Reynolds came to be seen as my distant, but beloved, surrogate grandfather who taught me about basketball. I was saddened but filled with pride when Kara Lawson made it to the broadcasting big leagues with ESPN after a successful stint breaking down the Kings with our man Koz, who we loved so. I even applauded the G-Man (who I admit irks me for what I think is over-criticism of the Kings) when they honored him at halftime this season, because he is ,as much a part of this franchise as anyone else ever was or could be. And yes, I'd even miss you Peaches. Although your radio show makes me angry and you're a hard man to like most of the time, I have always loved "If you don't like that, you don't like NBA basketball!"
I've tried to stay strong, but it's been so hard. First to see the Kings fans band together to try to save our team, led by StR; then to watch Carmichael Dave become the people's hero and the standard-bearer for "Here We Build"; to see C-Webb promise to stand between the Maloofs and Anaheim on national television; to hear former adversaries and heated rivals pay respect to our ARCO madness, and now to see former Kings return home for the last hurrah?
I don't think my heart can handle it. I may burst into tears tonight, and I hope against hope this will not be the last time I see the Arco faithful cheer on our beloved Kings. But if it is, to the Kings fan community, StR and the boys in purple themselves, I give you my most profound and heartfelt thanks. We have shared with each other what being real fans is all about: passion, dedication and undying love for our team.
I haven't decided what I will do with my NBA fanhood if the team leaves - it would be hard to let go of a franchise that's been my own for so many years... But if they leave, with apologies to Tony Bennett, my heart will be left in Sacramento, the rightful home of the Kings.