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Now This is the Team I Know

I've talked about my sordid history as a Kings fan before. Growing up, listening to KFBK 1530 on the AM dial, I listened to the Kings find any way they could to lose just about every game.

From the 1988-89 season to the 1993-94 campaign (when I was 11 to 16, i.e. my formative years), the Kings won between 23 and 29 games a season. Forget about the playoffs. This was a team that couldn't even sniff a 40% winning percentage. In this "era", the Kings finished 6th or 7th in the Pacific Division every year.

No matter who the Kings threw out there... Kenny Smith, Rodney McCray, Danny Ainge, Vinny Del Negro, Wayman Tisdale... Antoine Carr, Duane Causwell, Lionel Simmons... Spud Webb, and finally, Mitch Richmond... the team stunk. We expected them to stink, and while I celebrated their occasional wins, we expected disaster.

In the 1990-91 campaign, the losing became a national joke. After losing the team's first 7 games, the Kings won 87-82 on the road against the Washington Bullets. They would go on to lose the next 37 games on the road, finishing 1-40 away from Arco that season. Then, the Kings lost the first 6 games on the road to start the 1991-92 season, setting an NBA record for futility that still stands, at 43 consecutive losses. (See: "Most consecutive road games lost")

17 years later, we again have a team in the cellar of the Pacific Division (albeit with 5 teams, not 7). We again have a team with a winning percentage that starts with a ".3". We again have a team with players we root for, players we loathe, and... a seven game losing streak on the road to start the season. The Kings' 0-7 start is the worst in the NBA away from home. (The Knicks are 0-6 and the T-Wolves are 0-4)

Maybe the Kings aren't out to break their own record here. Maybe they're better than that historic 1990-91 team was. But while I enjoyed the "fat" years of Webber/Divac/Bibby/Christie/Jackson and continually reaching the playoffs every season, part of me says that those years were not legitimate, and the Kings are back to playing their appropriate role.

Welcome back, Kings. Some sick parts of us missed you.