Let me explain to you what is going to happen at Sleep Train Arena on October 30th, 2013... and then let me show you exactly why.
There are so many uncertainties surrounding this franchise - so many variables, so many moving parts, so many possibilities in play… but history, deconstruction of information and modern analytics have revealed one thing that Kings fans can take straight to the bank: Sacramento will kick the living shit out of the Denver Nuggets on opening day.
Laugh and shake your head all you like. Take your computer monitor or laptop outside and urinate on it. Hire thugs to track me down and remove my spleen. You can do all of those things and nothing will change the irrefutable evidence that points to one, and only one, possible outcome for this year's rare home opener - a critical beatdown of the Nuggets at the hands of the Kings, plain and simple.
I can hear your howls of derision from miles away. "Not only is ANY outcome completely unpredictable at this stage of the offseason, but the whole idea of a thrashing by Sacramento is ridiculous!"
I say to you this, and I'll say it only once: Bow down to science and lick the boot of probability. After you do that, go outside and wash my car. Then, hey, why don't you dry it by hand using a Waffle Weave Microfiber Towel?
Look, I can provide endless examples showing instances in which I correctly pinpointed a specific prognostication and threw it at you, only to be mocked and treated with derision. But I won't do that. I don't need to. With my system finally revealed, you can take a look for yourself at all of the evidence I've unearthed and simply enjoy the clarity that it will provide you. When we are done here, you will actually be able to visualize the whole game from start to finish with such precision that you may opt to skip the whole affair entirely and just enjoy the victory here and now.
Did I say victory? Sorry, my bad. It will be such a total evisceration of Denver that even the hometown fans of Sacramento will be weeping at the humiliation that they have witnessed. Do not be surprised when an StR story after this game examines how far is too far when it comes to emasculating a opponent. The NBA likely will investigate just what the hell happened on the fateful night so as to prevent exposing children to another ass-kicking of such viciousness and violence.
Enough talk. Let's bust out the data and dig in.
Over the years, an intricate but obvious pattern has developed. Note that when ownership of the team changed, the Kings enjoyed a home OR Tokyo, Japan opener the following season every time. In each case but one, that game has netted the Kings a win. When we look at the data, you will realize that it was the one game the Kings did NOT win that sets the team up for a dominant win this October. How can that be?
Though it doesn't seem to fit into our example set, the first game for the Rochester Royals in what has become known as the NBA occurred on 11/6/48 against the Indianapolis Jets. With a convincing 69 to 58 smack-down, owner Les Harrison enjoyed sweet victory in the team's home opener and first ever game in the Basketball Association of America. This doesn't qualify for our data set as Les had owned the team for a few years prior to the BAA debut but it does set the table for an interesting run that begins to reveal it's shape over the decades.
18 years later and now in Cincinnati, directly following a purchase by Max and Jeremy Jacobs, the Royals again experienced home opening victory for game one, a 103 to 99 nail-biter against the Pistons on 10/15/66. Oscar Robertson exploded for 37, yes, but it was a double-deuce drop… um, wait… I mean 22 points from Adrian "Odie" Smith that pushed the game over the top and swung the Royals into the win column. What pushed him to raise his game on this one night? The information existed, but the Pistons got it too late. Vivek's mantra would have served the scouts well on this night...
What the Pistons were not privy to was Odie's deep love of The Troggs - a 60's garage rock band from the UK… and what nobody in the gym but closet UK rock fanatic Smith knew was that earlier that day Australia banned The Troggs' single "I Can't Control Myself" for being "terribly obscene." And what opposing Detroit guard Chico Vaughn likely did not know was that Odie, also an anti-censorship advocate, was pissed off about this. Vaughn likely was not referencing the banned rock single when he nailed a deep bucket (using his unorthodox behind the head release developed on the playgrounds of Portland, Oregon to avoid being blocked by taller players) and screamed "I Can't Control Myself" into Smith's face while grabbing his junk in a menacing fashion. This set Odie off. He turned into a defensive animal and an offensive juggernaut, limiting Chico to 10 points and rolling for the aforementioned 22, all while whistling the entire known catalog of The Troggs.
Let's zip to October 12th, 1971 - it's the home opener, game one, and a group locally known as "those 10 fucking business guys" had purchased the team and were settling in to watch what would be the first game of the last season in Cincinnati. Tiny Archibald drops 27 and looks sweet doing it and Tom Van Arsdale pours in 34, almost double his average. This one-two punch knocks the Hawks right on their bird-feathered asses for a final score 127 to 113. One of these two was likely to carry a nice helping of the scoring load on any given night, but both at once was not the norm. What was different on this night?
Overheard by many just before tip-off as Tom held Tiny by the shoulders and looked deep into his eyes: "Let's do this for Gene." Some even said the a single tear could be seen rolling down Archibald's cheek. Curious to say the least. First thing to note is that Tiny and Tom shared some raucous late nights together hanging out, playing cards and listening to music. One night, Van Arsdale put on an old 45 and said, "Check out this good shit, Tiny!" The record was a bootleg copy of Gene Vincent's "Rip It Up" and from that day forward, Tiny and Tom shouted out "Let's rip it up" before games to get fired up. But not this game. Hours before and many miles away, Gene Vincent died shockingly at age 36 from bleeding stomach ulcers while in California visiting his father. The two teammates celebrated his life with a game for the ages.
What happens next may seem like it throws a wrench into our little pattern of victory, but together we will peel enough layers off the onion to require shielding our eyes from the pain of deep knowledge. 12 years later, it's the 80's. In fact, it's October 28th, 1983 and, yes indeed, a new ownership group has taken over the team… this time headed by Gregg Lukenbill. Also, it's a home opener in Kansas City and the Kings were taking on the later-to-be-hated Lakers. And they lost. It was a 107 to 117 thumpfest and it was 100% inevitable. Here's why: Nothing rock-related happened on that day - but something very alarming was revealed that totally disrupted the equilibrium of the team: Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton moved into Billboard's #1 song position with their gentle duet, "Islands in the Stream" which was possibly the song most loathed by an entire Kings team ever… not necessarily because of it's dull, plodding and predictable sound or it's non-stop barrage of grating platitudes.
The 83-84 Kings had in common a deep love of Hemingway, sparked by point guard Larry Drew's "Oinbones" monthly book club. As the hit was creeping up the charts, it was often a hot topic of conversation among the 7 person strong book club that "that dumb-ass song" had no right to be using that title when "it's about nothing!" When player Billy Knight rolled into the clubhouse with the news of the new #1 song in America, word is that a heavy, empty cloud instantly filled the room and stayed there throughout the game and into the night. Rock and Roll destiny had delivered the team a roll of snake eyes. Kings were doomed.
Flash forward 16 years and who happens to become the majority ownership group of your Sacramento Kings? Yes, the Maloofs. With one eye on the team and the other on the next U-Haul out of the Capitol City, the new owners had their ear to the wall trying to gather some clue as to where the season would begin that year… and word was NJ was in play. Also in play: several games overseas.
Newly acquired free-throw head case and budding saxophone player Nick Anderson, a HUGE fan of the pioneering experimental rock band Mr. Bungle, was extremely thrilled to learn through a reliable NBA source that the Kings were likely scheduled to open on the road in New Jersey against the Nets on November 5th. With an early-ish 6pm start that would have allowed him to bust over in time to see Mr. Bungle live at Birch Hill Nite Club in Old Bridge, NJ, Nick excitedly called up singer and pal Mike Patton to see if he could stop in. Allegedly, Patton replied "bring your sax, you are getting on stage!"
Alas: Nick was Maloofed. Gavin had not just OK'd a last minute commitment to play the season opener Japan against the Timberwolves but he'd actively pursued the opportunity in hopes of promoting the Kings brand abroad. Anderson was so disgruntled and ornery throughout the flight to Tokyo that teammates couldn't help but ask what the hell was wrong. His explanation sent shockwaves of laughter, derision and jokes across the plane as teasing was a staple of the new-look Kings thanks to their new jokester center from Yugoslavia. The Kings grabbed a 100 to 95 win led by Anderson's team-leading 17 points including 5 of 7 from downtown, 10 boards and 5 laser-precise dimes. Anderson was heard to have murmured "Fuck the Maloofs" as he hoisted each 3, much to the amusement of prankster/teammate Vlade Divac who had placed a Mr. Bungle CD in Nick's locker before the game with a fake message "signed" by Divac as band leader and singer Mike Patton: "Too bad about Japan, wanted to jam with you!"
And so begins the new reign and yet again, another home opener. How might rock music play or not play into the game's outcome this time? No need to wait and see. The answer is staring us in the face. And laughing.
You may be surprised to learn that, though all of the current Kings have all sorts of varying musical interests, there is one band that brings them all together.
No, it's not Drake.
It all started last season when Patrick Patterson joined the team and an ever-goofing Cousins greeted him in the clubhouse with an exaggerated bear hug. From P-Pat's jacket fell a phone and, with the headphones removed, the music could be heard aloud. It was Arcade Fire's "Suburban War."
Boogie squinted at the phone. "What's this weak shit?" After a few seconds however, an intrigued Cousins plugged the unit into the locker room sound system and ramped up the volume. Heads turned, at first in anger… but soon looks of interest began to appear, followed by some surprising emotional outbursts. As the album played on, Kings players from all walks of life began to discuss themes of childhood, lost innocence, growing up in an uncertain world and moving forward in search of catharsis despite feeling trapped by our own existential limits. Only one Kings player of note shook his head and rolled his eyes: Tyreke Evans.
Now let's look at when the next Arcade Fire LP drops. Yep, October 29th, day before the opener. And the team is HYPED. So hyped that they have already planned a listening party. When? Oh look! Right before game one. This unexpected wave of rock communion has united the locker room like never before:
Over the decades I have shown you how emotion, rock music and home openers have combined to propel a Kings/Royals player or pair of players to unbelievable heights. What has never been seen is anything on the level of what is about to pop off on 2013's inaugural home and season opener. On October 30th we'll have an exponentially combustible synergy of rock, fresh ownership and crowd excitement that will launch - not one or two players - but the whole team into the stratosphere.
Get your tickets and be ready for a massacre of a shellshocked, totally unprepared Denver Nuggets team.
Long Live the Sacramento Kings.