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Jersey Sure, or How I Spent the Lockout of 2011, Episode No. 2

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The square root of Ron Artest's last jersey number with the Kings is 9.64365076. 9.64365076.

(The following is a collaborative effort by Sactown Royalty editors, authors, and members. The thoughts of each contributor will be preceded by their StR member name.)

section214: On Monday we introduced part 1 of our summer-long series, reviewing the best, worst, and other oddities affiliated with each Sacramento Kings jersey number. Today we press on, picking up where we left off.

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Obligatory

3

Exhibit G: (Starting with a number 03 fun fact) 3 players in the combined history of the NBA and the ABA have worn the number 03 (rather than simply 3).  All three played for the Rochester Royals, so I think they warrant mention.  Pep Saul wore it in 1950 and 1951, Sam Ranzino wore it in '52, and Jack McMahon wore it from 53 to 55, when I assume they ran out of patches and the hand-me-down jersey finally had to be thrown away.

Best - Gerald Wallace.  One could argue for Cuttino Mobley here, considering his impact in the 2005 playoff run.  You could also argue Shareef Abdur-Rahim, for the time before he became part of the hydra of mediocrity and the time after he joined the front office/coaching staff.  I could even argue Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, because he lived in my neighborhood and I saw him standing outside one day.  But for pure joy, it's gotta be Crash.

Worst - Antoine Wright.  I picked him to be worst because one time he wouldn't sign an autograph for my mom.

betweentheeyes: Vernon Mad Max Maxwell. The King you would want to have to take the shot with the game on the line. Pure crazy.   Ike Diogu - a hot tub, five girls, and the most amazing two games by a nobody to ever finish a season. A testimony to the Kings worst season ever - he was cupcake icing on a burnt "sheet" cake of a season.

Aykis16: I remember being ecstatic when we signed Shareef Abdur-Rahim.  New Jersey had just changed their mind, due to something called a "physical" (Psh, who needs those right?), and the Kings had finally gotten someone to play at the PF that I respected.  Reef had always been the best player on bad teams, but he was still a good player and a quality addition to our team.  Unfortunately it never worked out like I had hoped. (I guess New Jersey's doctors actually knew what they were doing).

For pure adrenaline, Gerald Wallace was a breath of fresh air.  He never saw much time other than garbage minutes when he was a Kings team, but it was always fun during blowouts when chants of "We want Wallace" broke out among the crowd, and then he'd come in and do something crazy athletic (He got robbed in the dunk contest, robbed I tell you!).  Unlike a lot of fans who still bemoan the fact that we left Wallace unprotected in the expansion draft, I felt it was the only reasonable thing to do.  It probably was best for Gerald too.  He finally got a bigger role in Charlotte, and developed into an All-Star.  There's no guarantee he would have done the same in Sacramento.

Ime Udoka was only with us for last year, but I also remember him fondly, particularly for the huge role he played in our epic 35-point comeback against Chicago in 2009-10.  

section214: I went with Shareef Abdur-Rahim as my "best" here, but this was a tough choice. Vernon Maxwell brought edginess to the Kings rebuild of the late 90's, Gerald Wallace had a nice showing in a slam dunk contest, Cat Mobley had a nice 43 games for us, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf took a lot of heat for not standing at attention during the national anthem (though it's OK for arena personnel to roam the catwalks or sell beer), and Randy Brown logged the most games (259). ‘Reef was a quality big when healthy. Unfortunately, he was healthy for about as long as Antoine Wright was effective. But ‘Reef gets the nod for this, recapped via an Associated Press article from January 19, 2006:

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim was back in uniform for the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night, making an improbably quick return to action with his broken jaw still wired shut.

Abdur-Rahim missed 10 games over the past 3½ weeks after getting hurt in a collision with Portland's Zach Randolph. But instead of sitting out two months, as the team predicted, the 10-year veteran decided to test his stamina and breathing ability against the Los Angeles Lakers.

"What am I waiting for?" Abdur-Rahim asked through clenched teeth before the game. "I feel good, and I've just got to see what I feel like in a game. There's no way to know in practice until I get out there and get going. I want to help the guys."

Special acknowledgement to Ike Diogu and Ime Udoka wearing the same number, causing me to forever confuse the two of them with each other, hot tub notwithstanding.

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No caption required

4

bte: C-Webb, sure. What about the excitement of Spud Webb? Dunk Champion, utterer of the immortal words "welcome to basketball Hell" (to Mitch Richmond as a welcome to Dick Motta's Kings arriving from the Billy Owens trade) and cameo role champ to Billy Crystal (Forget Paris).

G: Best - It absolutely, positively, has to be Webber.  I love Corliss, and I'll always be fond of Spud, but it's Webber without hesitation.  Worst - It absolutely, positively, has to be Henry Turner.

section: This may wind up being my favorite number. Start with Corliss, who wore this number BC (Before Chris). As I've noted before, Williamson was the first Sacramento Kings draft choice to profess enthusiasm over the prospect of coming to Sacramento, which was a much bigger thing back in the day than it is even today. The Big Nasty was also up to taking the shot with the game. Prior to his arrival, no Kings draft pick wanted the role of taking the big shot when all five opponents were covering Richmond. Not Brain Grant, not Walt Williams, not anyone. Corliss was up to the task. And he netted us Doug Christie in trade, and he went on to win 6th man of the year for a world champion Detroit team, and he came back to us (under another number) and was a pro's pro. Love me some Corliss Williamson.

Spud Webb was a lot of fun to watch, in spite of the fact that he probably would prefer to forget his time here. I am reminded of Spud whenever the grade schoolers play at halftime of Kings games.

I think that a lot of people forget exactly how good Webber was and what he meant to the team and the city. Before the knee injury, he was discussed in the same breath as Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. He was a threat nearly anywhere on the court, a nearly impossible matchup. He was the team's lightning rod, taking all of the hits so that guys like Christie and Peja could fly a little under the radar. He was the Yin to Vlade's Yang. And while he likely re-signed with Sacramento because the Kings could offer the most money, the fact is that he did indeed stay. And Chris Webber circa 2010-11 has only added to his legacy, as he has been a staunch and nationally vocal supporter of the Sacramento community and Sacramento Kings basketball. While Richmond may have been the greater overall player while suiting up for the Kings, Chris Webber may be my all time favorite King (at least until we get to Bobby Jackson or Joe Kleine).

With all due respect to Exhibit G, I'm going to throw Henry Turner a bone here and opt for Ricky Calloway as the worst #4. Calloway averaged 3.2 points per game over 64 games, while Turner roasted him with a hefty 3.4ppg over 66 games (4.3 while wearing the number 4!). This deep statistical analysis proves that not only was Turner more prolific, he was more durable as well.

Aykis:  Peja Stojakovic might have been my favorite player, but the only Kings player I have ever gotten a jersey of is Chris Webber.  Webber made the Kings relevant for the first and really only time they've been in Sacramento.  Playoff Appearances, Division Titles and almost a trip to the NBA Finals, Webber was the centerpiece of it all.  A lot is made of Vlade Divac's passing, but statistically, Webber was even better.  C-Webb had an Assist Rate of over 20% in each of his years with the team except his first (when he was only at 17.8%, jeez).  The only other players 6'9 or over with a higher assist rate than Webber in the last 30+ years? Larry Bird and Alvan Adams, and neither of them had the athleticism of Webber.  He was a once in a generation type player, and I'm glad that I was able to witness his best years.  Even after his career had been done, he was (and still is) a vocal advocate of keeping the Kings in Sacramento, a shocking change for a man who didn't even want to come where when the Kings traded for him in 1998. 

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Baked

5

G: They say stick to what you know.  I've often ignored this advice and wrote about basketball anyway, but in this case I'll make an exception.  Throughout this franchise's history there have been many players who worse number 5.  Storied names like Mike D'Antoni and Rick Adelman and John Kuester.  I only hope the pattern holds, because I want to live in a world where Hedo Turkoglu is an NBA coach.  But I don't remember anyone before Tyus Edney, so I'll stick to the post-Derrick Phelps era.

Best - Hedo Turkoglu.  That crazy guy was fun to have on the team, and he was a great bench contributor on some very fun teams.  I've continued to enjoy rooting for him as his career has become, um, something for which no metaphor exists.  Also, I saw him at a movie theater once and was impressed by how very tall he is.

Worst - Andres Nocioni.  I don't think Noc was the worst player to wear number 5, but I am struggling to recall anything particularly enjoyable about his time with the Kings.

section: It's Hedo for me, but what is with this number when it comes to point guards that don't deliver? Tyus Edney might have been something had he not gotten so banged up (150 games as a King, 226 for his career), but add to that such "luminaries" as Jason Hart, Orien Greene and Bobby Brown. Even Anthony Johnson sucked the one year that he wore this number. I'll opt for Hart as the worst of this bunch, as he was the only one whose attitude sucked as much as his on-court play, though Orien Greene was awfully tough to take.

Aykis:  I have an interesting history in regards to one Hedo Turkoglu.  A lot of you know I'm Greek.  More specifically I'm Cypriot, born on the island of Cyprus.  My father is Cypriot as well, born and raised on the Northern part of the island.  Greece and Turkey have long had bad blood between them dating all the way back to the siege of Constantinople and then the Ottoman Empire's occupation of Greece.  Cyprus and Turkey have even fresher wounds, as in 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and to this day occupies the northern half of the island.  My dad was one of the families driven from his home in the invasion.  As you can imagine, he's not the fondest of Turks.

When the Kings drafted Hidayet Turkoglu, I myself was disappointed.  For one, I had no idea who this guy was (neither did the television analysts).  Second, he was Turkish, and I had heard my dad tell me stories of the invasion.  He himself wasn't pleased when he found out the team had drafted a Turk, but it didn't kill his fandom (although it did for my Godfather, another Cypriot).

When Hedo finally started to play, he was actually pretty good, and reminded me of Peja.  My dad and I would watch games and got to the point where we'd yell "he-Do!" or "he-Don't" depending on whether he'd make or miss a shot.  When Hedo played basketball for us, it didn't even cross our minds that he was Turkish.  He was a Sacramento King.

Hedo was also the first basketball player I ever met in person.  It was May 12th, 2001 and the Kings were down 3-0 to the Lakers in the 2nd round with what would be the final game the next day.  My family and I were at a "Greek Village Inn" restaurant in Sacramento when my dad spied Hedo eating lunch outside with someone (presumably a girlfriend).  I was too shy to go say Hi, so my dad went with me and I said something to the effect of "Hi Hedo, I'm a big Kings fan, have a great game against the Lakers tomorrow".  The Kings lost the next day, but I still felt like a complete baller because Hedo ended up having the best game of his career to date, scoring 22 points on 8/10 shooting in only 22 minutes.  "I told him to have a great game!", I told my grandma. "I told him and he did!".  Ah, to be a kid again.

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This number represents you, the Sacramento Kings fan. You all suck.

6

Aykis: Out of all the teams in the NBA, only the Orlando Magic and the Kings have retired the #6 in honor of their fans.  Kings fans have a reputation as some of the most passionate in the league.  19 (out of 26) seasons of sellouts speaks for themselves, but the extra effort so many went to this past year when it seemed as if our team was leaving was absolutely phenomenal.  Here We Stay, Here We Build, Sac Deflated, they couldn't have been a success without you.  The war for our team isn't over yet though.  We still need to build a new arena.  I have faith in Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Think Big Sacramento, but faith can only get us so far.

If you're interested in helping out, please join the Citizen Architects (You don't have to be a real architect).  You will get information to help spread awareness on the benefits of a new Arena in the region.  Just go here and fill out the form to join, or here if you'd simply like to declare as a Supporter and not an Architect.  Actions speak louder than words, and we can't get complacent.  

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Aykis:  Episode 3 will be out on Friday.  Please pack the thread with your thoughts and memories, and remember to drop section214 and me an email if you have any comments regarding future numbers that you would like considered for publication as the series continues.  Your participation is crucial, so if you have a cool story or anything and want to share, let us know and we'll try to get it in.