This weekend over at Deadspin, which I read more or less exclusively to steal Drew Magary’s jokes and subsequently pass them off as my own on this site, they ran an open thread in the wake of that ESPN franchise ranking thing, debating whether or not the Maloofs are the worst owners in sports. I think it speaks to the sheer level of ineptitude of the Maloofs that there is even any kind of conversation about this. I understand pro sports, I understand that after the coach the owner tends to have the most contentious and mercurial relationship with the fans (unless you’re in Sacramento, where your coaches are drunk driving, teeth whitening, 19-year old slandering incompetents, and most fans still just feel sorry for them because of who they have to work for). I understand that people, entitled assholes, but still people, will find reasons to complain about Jerry Buss. I understand Sacramento is the Jermaine Jackson of California. But with all we’ve had to deal with these last 5 plus years as Kings fans can you not at least allow us the small schadenfreudic victory of world’s worst ownership?
Yeah I get it. The Irsays and Modells moved your teams in the dark of night. At least they had the courtesy to do it while you were sleeping. The Maloofs have spent the last two years attempting to move the team in broad daylight while simultaneously pretending to do no such thing. It’s like they’ve broken into the underwear drawer of some prospective paramour and as she catches them leafing through her panties the Maloofs turn, whistle, say something along the lines of “Oh, hey, uh, um, yeah, huh, hah, I was, gah, gak, cough, sweat, more sweat, a little more sweat, oh, um, yeah, looogoverthere” and proceed to runoff…with your panty drawer... Admittedly it’s an awkward analogy, but I feel it’s a not entirely inappropriate one as I’m certain this has happened to the Maloofs on more than one first date.
Is there any other city in America that has a more visceral hatred of their ownership than Sacramento? And is there any place where it’s more justified? It’s not just that the Maloofs don’t want to be in Sacramento. It’s that they’d like to be literally any place else. Seriously. Any place else. Our city is basically the No Homers Club. Look at the list of rumored relocation locations; Anaheim; Las Vegas; Virginia Beach; Branson; Laughlin; Fresno (don’t laugh, let’s use Virginia Beach voucher logic, “hey, it’s a desirable location for players, it’s 3 hours closer to Los Angeles, and there’s a Dave and Busters downtown”). I’m shocked they haven’t suggested just building an arena on a Riverboat Casino and moving it up and down the Mississippi whenever law enforcement is hot on their trail, like a sort of sweaty, stinky, Joe Francis-ey “Love Boat.” But with bad basketball.
What owner, objectively, could you argue is worse? I get Dan Synder is a controlling prick that hangs out with Tom Cruise and likes to make splashy personnel moves that have no basis in reality. But he never tried to hire Kyle Chandler as his head coach. And Hell at least Kyle Chandler was a good fictional high school sports coach. Donald Sterling is a racist, classist pig? That sucks, and is nothing to make light of, but he did trade for Chris Paul. Jerry Jones? Indeed, he pays someone in his luxury box to wipe his glasses for him. But the Maloofs have Grant Napear on the payroll pretty much exclusively to clean Maloof Oakleys (those really cool camo ones that go perfectly with their black muscle shirts that are two sizes too small). Mike Brown? Yeah he’s a callous rich old white guy who keeps fucking things up with only his best interests in mind. But this is America. We’re used to callous rich old white guys fucking things up with only their best interests in mind. We’re being jerked around (and I think by merely writing that in relation to the Maloofs I put myself at risk of an STD) by the Butabi brothers. By owners that make all of their sartorial decisions after visiting “Hot Chicks with Doucehbags.” By owners that not only think Karl Welzein is real, but have reached out to him about producing his “Road House” sequel with Guy Fieri. These are guys who, when they learned ESPN selected the Kings as having the worst uniforms in sports, suggested a remedy, putting those long-sleeved Ed Hardy-tattooed-arms-shirts under players’ jerseys. Oh and gold chains. Always gold chains.
The Maloofs can’t even play the role of villain properly. They aren’t aggressive or indifferent or bullying or Machiavellian. They aren’t schemers from Oklahoma who buy a Seattle team pretending they intend to keep it in Seattle while all the while they, and everyone else, knows the inevitable outcome of their purchase. These are people who have literally no concept of what they’re doing. None. And they’ve decided to spend the remainder of their “fortune”, at least the remainder they have access to, paying people to tell them that not having a plan is the perfect plan. I mean Jesus Christ the team store is inaccessible because no one moved it from Geocities. And I still have gold chains to purchase for the ‘12-13 season.
And the big kick in the balls is that our franchise is owned by morons whose intellect and taste is almost in direct inverse to that of its fanbase. Anyone who visits Sactown Royalty (the Deadspin article referred to us as venerable, that’s pretty high praise), anyone who has talked to Ziller, anyone who witnessed the Here We Stay movement, knows how bright, capable, articulate, driven, forward thinking Sacramento fans can be. Meanwhile the Maloofs are watching “Honey Boo Boo Child” marathons. Much of the public seems to think it’s okay for ownership to want to leave Sacramento, because they believe every bad stereotype about Sacramento. A situation that is only exacerbated by ownership that aggressively reinforces every bad stereotype about Sacramento.