I have always liked basketball. I grew up outside of Stockton on a 5 acre lot, and we had the house were all of the kids would come over to play. We had a dirt basketball court, and we would often play tackle basketball. I believe that is why, to this day, I have a hard time making a shot without contact.
My parents were Warriors fans. I can remember going to a couple of games before the Kings moved to Sacramento. I am not sure why exactly, but I do not think we went to any games in the early 80s. I know my dad was a fan of Rick Barry, so him retiring probably had something to do with it. The Warriors were pretty bad if my memory was right, but I was able to watch games on channel 2 when the weather permitted.
When the Kings moved to Sacramento, I had already been indoctrinated as a Warriors fan. The Run TMC days solidified that fandom. I loved Tim Hardaway's game and accent, but Mitch Richmond was the first guy to become my favorite player. I loved his intensity on both ends of the floor. I know (or I think I know) his nickname is "The Rock" because of his consistency, but I like to also believe that he could completely stop an opponents momentum. I swear he would catch their shoulder square in his chest on he would not give an inch.
I thought the Warriors were fools for trading Richmond to the Kings. I started watching Kings games just to watch Mitch. I think my Kings fandom partly started because the energy of the crowd. That, and I was able to watch Kings games much more clearly and consistently on channel 31 than I could Warriors games on channel 2.
Lionel Simmons was another player that I liked watching Kings games early on, but I didn't become a die hard fan until the drafting of Brian Grant and Michael Smith. I loved to watch that team play. Despite the fact that Mitch was my favorite player, Brian Grant's was the first jersey that I purchased. I believe I was making about $5/hr at the time, so that was a big investment.
By the time Mitch was traded for Webber, I was more of a Kings fan than just a fan of his. I was hooked.