Richmond. The 6th Man. Webber. Divac. Stojakovic. These are the people the Sacramento Kings have chosen to give the ultimate honor of recognizing by retiring their number forever and hanging in the rafters to date. Yet one name is conspicuous in its absence: Adelman.
Rick Adelman is not only the greatest coach in Sacramento Kings history, he’s the greatest coach in franchise history, dating all the way back to 1949. That’s not an exaggeration either; No coach in franchise history has more wins or a higher win percentage.
He left the team on bad terms as his relationship with the Maloofs soured and the Kings haven’t made the playoffs or even gone .500 since. Since Adelman left the team 10 years ago, the Kings have gone through 8 coaches, with Dave Joerger being the 9th. Only Paul Westphal actually lasted two full seasons.
With the Kings moving into their new home at the Golden 1 Center this October, a building only made possible in part thanks to the success Adelman helped bring to this franchise (would we have fought as hard to keep this team if they had never been successful and we didn’t share those memories?), it’s well past time to honor him. Let’s just take a look at some of the numbers:
34 Playoff Wins - 1st in franchise history
395 Regular Season Wins - 1st in franchise history
.633 Win Percentage - 1st in franchise history
624 games coached - 1st in franchise history
The Kings have won 1058 games in the Sacramento-era. Adelman was there for 37.3% of them. No other coach in the Sacramento-era even has a winning season, and there have been 16 of them.
This wouldn’t be something out of the ordinary either. Teams recognize non-players all the time. The Utah Jazz raised a banner with the number “1223” for Jerry Sloan in 2014, with that number representing all his regular season and playoff victories. Radio personalities like Chick Hearn were recognized by the Lakers.
So let’s raise a banner, or name the court after him, but let’s do something to recognize the contributions he made to this team because he was just as important to this team’s success as the players on the court.