On May 26, 2002, I was at my cousin’s birthday party. In between eating hot dogs, swimming, and other shenanigans I was glued to the television set watching the Kings beat the Lakers by a hefty margin. Then, I had to leave. For the next hour, I had to listen to the game on the radio, but I made it home for one last play. The ensuing events which shall not be named have haunted me for nearly 17 years since. None of that matters, however, because the Kings have finally done it! They have gotten rid of the load they’ve been carrying for almost two decades. The Kings have conquered the ghost of Robert Horry!
Sure, there are flaws in the Kings path to avenging such a terrible moment. 13 years without the playoffs, two-and-a-half relocation sagas, and 73 head coaches weren’t the ideal method to doing so, Some might even say that they haven’t avenged a thing, and to those people I would say, “Tell that to the iceberg that the Titanic sunk, nerd.”
When LeBron James signed with the Lakers, I dreaded seeing my favorite non-King of all-time on my least favorite team of all-time, but cheering against him has proven remarkably easy. My hatred of the Lakers trumps my love for almost anything in the world, and LeBron demoting himself to a part-time basketball player who moonlights as a movie mogul made things a lot easier than I thought that they would be.
When Bogdan Bogdanovic hit that game-winner back in December, it felt special, but it wasn’t until last night that it officially knocked the Lakers out of the playoffs. For years, Lakers fans will look at that shot and cry the way that we have cried for years. They will curse the name of Bogi. They will fear the name of Bogi. They will hate the name of Bogi. And they will respect the name of Bogi.
The Lakers have LeBron James. They have the guy who many feel is at least in the discussion as the best player of all time, and the Kings have dethroned them singlehandedly. Oh, you say they were injured, that there were non-basketball reasons that led to their eventual loss? Mike Bibby’s nose would like a word with you! Oh, you say there was unnecessary drama that bogged down the season and made the environment toxic? Brandon Williams would like a word with you!
Some might try to say that the Kings aren’t responsible, that there are 10 games left in the season, that they werent even playing the Kings last night, and that I am being a pedantic moron, but I would posit that the Lakers were still reeling from the heartbreak of Bogi’s game winner last night, that the Kings blew that lead against the Nets to give them confidence against the Lakers, and that I am a pedantic moron.
The Kings have defeated the Lakers, and the Lakers will never recover. It just feels good to have the Horry-sized boulder that we’ve been carrying up the mountain finally slide down the other side into the abyss of forever.
Kings fans! We have done it. All the blood, sweat and tears we have gone through has finally paid off! 17 years is a long time, but we never have to think about Horry, Kobe, Dick Bavetta, or Shaq again! Raise a glass, Kings fans! You deserve it.