Needless to say, the events of Friday the 13th will forever mark a dark day for me. The Kings' chances of staying in Sacramento were greatly hindered, detonating countless 'f-bombs' across the valley. I watched the press conference, unblinking. The Maloofs were betraying us, and were genuinely offended by the city's valiant attempt to keep the team. A tear rolled down the side of my face.
A major foundation in my life was leaving.
The stability the team created in my life was paramount to my development as a person. This team taught me glory, fear, joy, loss, and most of all: perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds. In the world they exist in, the Kings are handcuffed in their attempt to succeed due to an element they themselves cannot change. They are located in a small market, unfortunately. I, like them live in a world where I deal with disadvantages from the get-go. As an autistic there are things that I am simply not able to do easily, much like the Sacramento Kings. However, I have reached the age of eighteen and events in my household have begun to push me out of the family unit. I myself know, I am not ready to leave the nest but I may soon be forced to by my mother's boyfriend. He and I share the same name, but that's pretty much it. Fights break out constantly, many verbal, some nearly coming to blows. My sister and my own mother have begun to side with him on many occasions. I understand that I need to improve some things, but as the task-list he presented me was whittled down, I got a job, paid for my own food and gas, and began to take a much more independent stance in the family; he began to scream and rage over the smallest missteps I made around the house. He alienated me from my blood relatives in the process, and I've been escorted out the door several times to live elsewhere. The situation has been tense for awhile, but it boiled over on, you guessed it Friday the 13th.
That night, I admitted it. I admitted that I feared the man who shared only my name. He sneered down at me, and told me I was worthless. I turned to my family, and they did not answer my desperate gaze. Seconds passed, and then they broke the silence by telling me in polite terms that he was correct and that if things didn't change quickly, I would be out. They told me they no longer could stand living in the same house as me. I had been trying my best to make things work, I had truly tried. But now, I am apartment shopping and trying to get a second job for the summer. One of my few bastions of security has fallen, and the team that has long been so important to me is about to follow. I love my family, and I love my Kings; both now stand on the precipice of being lost to me. I am continuing to try to make things work here, but my exit is imminent. My future is decided, but the Kings still have hope.
The esteemed Tom Ziller detailed the Kings as directionless, and they have been for far, far too long. Yet, we are reaching a turning point, if we win this fight the Maloofs will surely be ousted by either their peers or their own incompetence. Dream, Kings fans. Dream of a day where you can be proud of your ownership, know that they are working tirelessly to put the best product on the floor like the Mark Cubans and Mikhail Prokhorovs of the world. Kings fans have been presented an extraordinary opportunity throughout all of this. We have been given the power to sway the course of our team's trajectory far beyond a cheer or a boo ever could. Sure, by choice we would never reach this point where we receive this power, but here we are. Whether it is a war of attrition or a grand show of strength, we can still win this. It will be hard, and let's face it we still have a long way to go to keep our Kings thanks to those asshat Maloofs.
We have done more than any other fans to keep our team, and it has been said there is nothing else we can do. We can't tie the Maloofs down and beat them until they submit to our whims, but we can still offer an asset that will aid us in being swept off our collective feet, viability. Yes, the very thing the Maloofs have been claiming we don't have is our biggest strength. We sold out 18 of the last 26 seasons, and through our demonstrations to keep the team we have done more than delay their movement, we have put the community of Sacramento on the national radar of a few billionaires like Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle, and Larry Ellison of Oracle fame. When has that ever even been a possibility? The Maloofs were rich before, but the "b" word? Nonsense. No one becomes a billionaire by being stupid, and they both know by putting a winning product out, the money will sort itself out. We beat the Maloofs, and we could very well be contending in a year or two at the rate real NBA owners are spending. How long has it been since anyone could talk about that seriously? Nearly a decade, I'd say.
No matter what, I will be leaving. Whether its just my house, the county, the state or even the country I will be leaving. I may never see another Kings game in person, but I will only root for them if they stay at home. I will never forget the last game I went to, in Sacramento's ARCO Arena, where the Kings belong. Someday, I may return to sit in an unfamiliar seat; an older man, Someone who is good enough to stay, but only became such by leaving. It will be a home the Kings earned, through toil and sacrifice from Mayor Kevin Johnson, and the members of the Sacramento community as well as the world-wide members of the Kings family. Now, I strive to earn a home through much of the same.
In summation, I ask the city of Sacramento, and the users of Sactown Royalty to continue fighting for your Kings. Not for the Maloof-owned Kings, and not just the organization itself. Fight for your personal glory, your happiness, and yes even your crushing defeat. As a man who has just lost his home I beg you to not let your flawed but beloved team leave. Even if the fight is impossible, continue it. We are the best fans in the NBA and we will damn well prove it over the course of the next year if it takes that long. We can choose to make a flagrant and damning statement towards our ownership that would feel very satisfying (no denying that), or ride above their bullshit and continue to cheer as loud as we can for the Sacramento Kings.
I'll rest my voice when their gone. Because I won't be needing to cheer anyone on for the rest of my life.