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TZ Minus Zero - These Are A Few Of My Favorite Kings

With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Julie Andrews and the entire Von Trapp family -

Corliss and Richmond and C-Webb and Martin,

Joe Kleine and B-Jax just can't be forgotten.

We may not own any championship rings,

But these are a few of my favorite Kings.

We all have various players and moments that initially made and later solidified us as Kings fans. It was almost a year ago that I posted when I became Kings fan. The following are some of the players that have helped to make me a hard core Kings fan.

Now, there are those moments that we all share as Kings fans, such as this one. Or this one. But we also have our personal favorite players and moments, and they're not always the players that belong in the rafters or the moments that deserve to be preserved in the collective memory bank of all Kings fans. These are the guys and moments that were crucial in my evolution as a Kings fan.

Joe Kleine - Most of it is in the above link. I will add that my affinity for Kleine is largely prejudiced because I had the opportunity to meet him, and he was perhaps the nicest and most homespun "celebrity" that I have ever met. His misfortune was being the 1st round pick (7th overall) for a bad team that needed much, much more than a journeyman center. He was later well received in Boston, where he was a guy that could lay a little wood off the bench, not a 1st round washout that could have instead been Karl Malone. Because of Joe Kleine I learned that the five stages of grief and being a Kings fan can be interchangeable:

  • Denial     C'mon, Kleine has got to be better than this. We drafted him 7th, didn't we?
  • Anger     Have you seen this Karl Malone kid in Utah? And we drafted Joe Kleine? Who was the rocket scientist that pulled the trigger on that one?
  • Bargaining     Maybe we can bring in a big guy like Bill Russell to work with him.
  • Depression     Karl Malone, Karl Malone, Karl Malone, Karl Malone, Karl Malone.
  • Acceptance     OK, it didn't work out. But Greg Kite might help us, eh?

Vinny Del Negro - Vinny is on this list for one reason and one reason only. In 1989 I was at a nightclub in Old Sacramento (I think it was Popeye's). A rather attractive and extremely inebriated young lady came over to my table, convinced that I was Vinny, despite the fact that I was eight inches shorter than him. I tried to convince her that I was not Del Negro, but she would not take no for an answer. It was on this evening that I learned how having the Kings in Sacramento was a good thing, even when the team wasn't playing. Good night. Thanks, Vinny.

Danny Ainge - Ainge taught me that the most reviled opponent can become  your favorite player once he is in your uniform. I hated Ainge. Hated him! And I was none too pleased when the Kings acquired him. But his hard nosed play was a breath of fresh air while he was here, and it made me look at guys like Dennis Rodman and Charles Oakley in a different light. I mean, don't you wish that Robert Horry was wearing a Kings uniform in 2001-02 right about now?

Mitch Richmond - I won't spend a lot of time here as Richmond's contributions have been well chronicled. But I'll always remember that 1st shot of civic pride that I felt when The Rock won the MVP award at the 1995 all star game and was on the gold medal olympic team a year later.

Corliss Williamson - Again, a lot has already been said about Big Nasty here. But he was the 1st draftee to come here to say that he was excited about coming to Sacramento. That was huge at the time. And as I've said before, he was the first guy not named Mitch Richmond willing to take the big shot during the Richmond era. That set him apart from Walt Williams, Brian Grant and others.

Vlade Divac and Chris Webber - Yeah, we were willing to pay him more than anyone else, but Vlade Divac came here. That was a new phenomenon. Yeah, Chris Webber re-signed with us because we could pay him more money than anyone else, but he stayed here. That was a new phenomenon. Big moments for this franchise and my psyche.

Sergei Monia - Just kidding. I wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

How about it? What are some of the players or moments that galvanized you as the type of Kings fan that would participate on a blog that talks almost exclusively about the Kings every day? Put another way, how and why has this happened to you? Was it Peja's fault? B-Jax? J-Will? Who do you thank/blame for your current lot in life as it pertains to your NBA rooting interests?