There seem to be moments in time throughout all of our lives where our brains create snapshots so clear that we remember them for the rest of our lives. Sometimes, these moments affect the world at large, and everyone can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing in that moment.
The other day I was thinking about this in relation to the Kings. Unfortunately most of the moments and memories that I can remember with such clarity are of the depressing variety (which as someone pointed out to me on Twitter, is partly due to the brain being wired to remember bad things).
There are three such awful moments that I remember with such clarity:
1. The Robert Horry Shot
This might be the most remembered and hated moment in Kings fan history. Moreso than Game 6, moreso than Mike Bibby's epic response in Game 5, the Horry shot was the dagger in our hearts and in retrospect almost definitely cost the Kings a title. I was just 12 years old at the time, and the Kings were a huge part of my life. I spent my free time trying to win the championship in my mind in the backyard, counting down "3, 2, 1" and then shooting like I was hitting some buzzer beater to win it all. I would grab the Sports Section of the Bee in the morning and read it with my cereal, poring over the articles and stats. I knew how important Game 4 was and how huge it would be to take a 3-1 lead on the hated Lakers.
Kings playoff games were events, and we would end up getting the whole family together to watch the games. For Game 4 we were at my Grandma's house. With the game going down to the wire I found myself inching closer and closer to the TV. I remember Shaq making all of his freaking free throws down the stretch (he was 6-6 from the line that 4th quarter) and getting pissed off because he never makes his free throws. Then the Lakers called timeout with the Kings up just 2. My heart was racing and visions of Kobe Bryant breaking our hearts kept entering my brain. At the time, I was terrified of Kobe Bryant. He was my personal boogeyman. That guy would hit the most ridiculous shots no matter how closely he was being defended. Of course, after the timeout, who gets the ball but Kobe. My stomach was churning, and it almost exploded when he got by Doug Christie, but Vlade was there and had a great contest. But then Shaq got the ball by the rim. He missed! Vlade tipped the ball out! GAME OVE... wait, what? No, no, no NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
I cried on the drive home.
2. The John Salmons Trade
This one probably didn't affect as many Kings fans as it did myself personally. I had a rare half day at work and so decided to go get lunch at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. I was really looking forward to the draft and continued to hold out hope that Brandon Knight would fall to the Kings at 7. There was also a rumor that the Kings might be able to snag Tony Parker away from the Spurs for the 7th pick that was supposedly picking up steam, so I was refreshing my Twitter almost constantly. Then I saw the news that we had traded with Charlotte and Milwaukee.
I stopped eating almost immediately. This can't be the trade the Kings made. John Salmons? We traded down three picks and took on more salary to get John Salmons? This is where having Twitter can be both a blessing and a curse. I went on a Twitter tirade, the likes of which I never had done and never have done since. It was bad enough that I ended up getting e-mails from members of the Kings PR team telling me I should probably calm down.
After seeing how that pick and trade ended up working out for the Kings, I feel vindicated in my reaction now.
3. The Seattle news
I was out of town visiting my best friend in Orange County. It was a three-day weekend, so I drove up on Friday to see him and planned on heading back to Sacramento on Monday. It was a ton of fun, but as a result I missed all the Daina Falk hubbub from the night before and it wasn't until I woke up on Monday, slightly hungover and confused as to why I had so many texts and tweets. I spent that morning reading the Woj article, reading the comments on StR and feeling like crap. This felt like the end. Driving back from Orange County by yourself already takes forever, but with this news weighing on me, it really felt like it would never end. I spent the drive trying to call everybody I knew to try to find out what was going on, what our options were. I have to admit I didn't have much hope at the time. I never really considered Anaheim a real possibility, but the fact that the Maloofs were willing to sell and the fact that it was Seattle made it seem almost impossible that there would be any chance the Kings would stay.
Thankfully, that story had a happy ending.
Now it hasn't all been doom and gloom as a Kings fan of course. One positive moment that I remember incredibly well is Tyreke Evans' halfcourt shot. I was at Disneyland with my family and we were watching World of Color (sidenote: If you go to California Adventures, World of Color is well worth the wait) and I was of course sneaking peeks at my phone to check up on the Kings. I saw O.J. Mayo hit a shot to win it and there was still a little time on the clock. I put my phone away thinking the game was over. When World of Color ended I opened up the ESPN app to check out the final score and that's when I saw that the Kings had won. I checked the play by play and see :
0:00 - Tyreke Evans hits 50 foot three pointer
My first thought was that this was an error. So I check Twitter, and that's when it hit me that it was real. Everyone was going crazy. I've never regretted missing a Kings game live more than that one, even to just have been able to experience it. I spent the rest of that night watching the highlight over and over.
Anyway, those are just some of my Kings moments that I'll never forget. Let me know in the comments what moments stand out in time for you.