Today is the last day of themed posts at the NBA blogs around SB Nation. This week's theme is "Comeback Day". When it comes to comebacks, Sacramento pulled off one of the greatest ever. And no, I'm not here to discuss the 35-point comeback against the Chicago Bulls in 2009. If you'd like to relive that, I don't blame you. That was an amazing game, an amazing moment for this franchise. And, echoing sentiments I've expressed many times throughout these themed posts, that would definitely be what this post was about if it wasn't for the nightmare that is the Maloofs.
It's easy to forget how bleak things were. The Kings were gone at the end of the 2010-2011 season. It wasn't speculation, it was fact.
The Here We Stay movement began in late 2010. It was our attempt to fight before it was too late. To make out voices heard. Blake Ellington, Tom, Akis, James Ham, Kevin Fippin, Carmichael Dave, Ed Montes, and so many others stepped up to the plate. Efforts were organized. Our voices were being heard, but it still felt like it may have been too little too late.
By February of 2011, the NBA had washed its hands of the matter, and was no longer involved in the dealings between the Kings and Sacramento. The league, it seemed, was resigned to the fact that the Maloofs would be moving.
In the first week of March 2011, Kevin Johnson told reporters that it looked, "more likely they're going to be in Anaheim." That was right around the same time the NBA granted a deadline extension for the Maloofs to file for relocation. The extension was seen as a stay of execution. A momentary delay to allow the Maloofs to get their affairs in order.
On March 3rd, 2011, the Maloofs filed trademarks for names such as the Anaheim Royals. A few weeks prior they had registered the domain for anaheimroyals.com.
On April 13th, 2011, the Kings played what appeared to be their last game in Sacramento. Grant and Jerry gave us one of the most impactful and lasting images of the ordeal, their tearful signoff. Kings fans refused to leave Arco. Refused to say goodbye. The Kings players and coaches came back out to acknowledge the fans, and to thank them. It was only when Carmichael Dave asked that the fans finally dispersed.
It was surreal to watch what seemed to be the end.
And then, the comeback happened.
In the first week of May 2011, Mayor Johnson dropped the Burkle bomb in New York. KJ swung the NBA's favor. KJ showed the NBA that there was more to be done. The NBA told the boys to hold off on Anaheim, and that Sacramento would get another chance.
Here We Stayed.
No matter how hopeless things seem right now, we have to remember that things have been worse. It feels like we have no play, no next step? We've been here before and came through just fine. The Maloofs seem like an unstoppable force of idiocy and buffoonery? We've been here before and came through just fine.
And that's the beauty of a comeback. Once you've seen it happen, you know that you should never give up hope until the final buzzer sounds. No matter how improbable another comeback may seem. We've been at the brink of disaster, stared it in the face, and came out stronger on the other side. We're resilient. We are easily one of, if not the, most resilient fan bases in the entire NBA.
Here We Stayed wasn't the final buzzer, though. We all know what happened next, and where we stand today. Here We Stayed is the greatest comeback in Sacramento Kings history.
Here's hoping we've got one more comeback in us.