For as long as I can remember, among my family and friends, I’ve been “the Kings guy”. In school, I was the one wearing Kings shirts to school every day. I’d wake up and turn the Sacramento Bee to page C1 to catch up on the latest news. I’d be glued to the television every night, or if it was a radio broadcast (or if I was grounded) playing the game with an invisible ball as the G-Man called the action. I’d go outside and play out imaginary scenarios (usually involving Peja hitting a game-winning shot) on the hoop my dad installed in the back yard.
My friends were Kings fans too, and so were my relatives. But I was “the Kings guy”. I could name every player, their stats, the upcoming opponents, whatever you wanted. When I left for college, it was my first real time away from home. Keeping track of the Kings was a lot harder. I’d go to ESPN and Yahoo and keep track of the scores, but I couldn’t listen online and I couldn’t watch on TV. So imagine my delight in 2008 when I came across an article on Yahoo Sports which linked to this site called Sactown Royalty, where a bunch of Kings fans were going crazy after the Kings took Jason Thompson with the 10th overall pick in the draft.
I was hooked immediately. Here was a place where all the other “Kings guys” and “Kings gals” around the world hung out. For someone who thought they knew a lot about basketball and the Kings in general, these people blew my mind. I’d login daily to see the latest Tom Ziller piece or the latest FanPost by a brilliant commenter. It wasn’t long before I wanted in on the action. I was determined to become a part of Sactown Royalty.
My first foray into the FanPosts wasn’t exactly Pulitzer material. But I kept at it, spending much of my time in the comments and learning a ton from my fellow Kings fans. With the Kings stinking it up on the court, we found our own ways to keep ourselves amused and entertained. It didn’t matter that the team was bad, we were still having fun.
Eventually I started a little series called “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” where I tried to recap the week that was in Kings basketball, and you all seemed to like it enough that soon after Tom Ziller started publishing them to the front page and eventually asked me to join him, Greg and the Robs (section214 and Biegler) as a staff writer.
That moment changed my life forever. Now I was covering the Kings, writing nearly every day. Best of all, I could interact with my fellow fans and readers. Half the fun in writing an article was the next day of discussion that would occur in the comments. The Kings, despite being the central conceit of the site, became almost secondary. It was the community that kept me coming back for more.
That community stepped up big time over the years, but especially during the multiple relocation attempts. I’m extremely proud of the work we did here in launching the Here We Stay movement. And stay we did. We haven’t had much to celebrate in the last 15 years basketball-wise but that moment felt as good as a championship.
When Tom left the site and handed over the reins in 2014 it was daunting. The shoes I had to fill were enormous and I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. Over the last six years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the most passionate, intelligent and frankly crazy (because who spends this much time and energy talking about a basketball team that hasn’t even been .500 in over a decade?!) writers. Over the years I’ve been sent hundreds of e-mails from people asking to write for the site. My response would always be to thank them and tell them that if they’re interested, they should start with a FanPost. Few did, and even fewer stuck around after that. I didn’t want someone who was just here to use the platform to build themselves up before they moved on. I wanted Kings fans as crazy as myself, and that’s what I got.
This is supposed to be a goodbye post, and in one sense it is, because this will be the last post I ever write for Sactown Royalty. But despite the unfortunate circumstances in which we find ourselves having to vacate the premises, we’re not going anywhere. You can find us at the Kings Herald, friend. I, and the rest of our staff, look forward to seeing you there soon, and hopefully we can keep this truly special community going strong together.