clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer

Kevin says farewell to StR

As I think is true for many sons, my father and I didn’t always get along. It would be unfair to say I wasn’t a great student... I was a horrible one. I paid very little attention in school, never did homework, and was constantly in trouble for my attendance. I was “disappointing” and needless to say, my Dad was solidly unimpressed with me. He wanted me to be more like my brother and sister and I just wanted him to let me live. Translation: He just wanted the best for me but I thought I knew better.

I think it’s fair to say I wasn’t his favorite son much of the time and while I wouldn’t say he didn’t like me, he definitely didn’t understand me. We had very little to discuss and we had very little in common. The one thing we did have was Kings basketball.

My Dad took me to my first game in 1985. I think he got tickets through work maybe and the whole family headed down to ARCO I (which is now an office building). I was 4 or 5 years old and while I don’t remember much from that age, I can still picture the events of that night in my minds eye. It was incredible. The building seemed HUGE, Reggie Theus was electric, Otis Thorpe was dominant, the crowd was going insane all night. I had never seen a game on TV and I was too young to really understand that the team had only just arrived here. The fans, fully decked out in Kings gear and chanting things in unison, seemed as though they’d been going to Kings games their entire lives. My dad got me a hotdog, I had my own seat, I didn’t know much about the game but we cheered TOGETHER. The Kings won that night and I was hooked.

This was before the days of local cable deals when only a small percentage of the games were aired but I watched every game I could. I was in love with the Kings. Dad didn’t grow up with basketball but he could see I was a fan, so he became one too. One Christmas he surprised me with a hoop that he permanently cemented into the driveway. It was the greatest gift i’d ever received.

I’d spend thousands of hours out on the driveway. The moment I got home from school I’d run outside and I’d be getting shots up well into the night. My parents would flash the garage lights when it was time to come inside for dinner and we’d repeat the whole thing the next day. It was my escape. On that driveway I was Mitch Richmond, Walt Williams and Brian Grant combined. I wasn’t the greatest but I definitely thought I would be someday (I wouldn’t).

My Dad inquired several times about purchasing season tickets but they were next to impossible to get. Despite never winning, the Kings had sold out every game for years and the only option available was adding your name to a years-long waiting list and never hearing back. And then the 1998 lockout happened.

By the time the dust had cleared and the labor dispute was finally settled many fans had declined to renew their season tickets. There was a window of opportunity and we took it. We were finally season ticket holders and JUST IN TIME.

The NBA would play a shortened season that year and the Kings had been miserable the year prior, but we did care because we were going to be in the building for all of it! But then something magical happened. First came Vlade, then Webber, then Jason Williams and a Serbian holdout named Peja. Holy shit, the Kings were good!!

My Dad and I have been going to games together ever since. It was our thing. A few hours, a few nights a year, where we were fully aligned. We didn’t always have a ton to say but we’re there together enjoying the time and cheering for our team.

Dad would grow to love the team just as much as I did. Sometimes I would come home and find him standing on the opposite end of the lawn holding a basketball getting ready to take 40-50 foot shoot. When i’d ask him what he was doing he’d tell me he was practicing so he’d be ready if the Kings ever picked him to shoot the half court shot at the game. I never saw him make one to be honest.

When news broke that the Maloofs were attempting to relocate in 2011, I was devastated. They couldn’t take my team. They couldn’t take Dad’s team. They couldn’t take this from us. I was looking for information and an outlet. I found all of you. I found Sactown Royalty.

StR was essential reading. A place to read the latest news from unbiased sources in the articles and then the pulse of the fans in the comments. It would become a gathering place for all of us to plan our rebellion and commiserate. On this site I’d find out how I could get involved. I could share my story and read all of yours. It was here we laughed. It was here we shared. It was here we stayed.

You know the relocation story so I won’t rehash it here, but somewhere in the midst of all that chaos I became heavily involved and I’d meet so many of you. Eventually Tom Ziller tapped me to take over Sactown Royalty’s social media and it changed the trajectory of my life.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities this site has given me and the love all of you have shown me throughout the years. I owe StR for some of the greatest experiences and many of the best friends I’ve ever had. I owe StR for giving me a way to get involved. I owe StR for helping to save the one thing my father and I could agree on.

I’ve never been a prolific writer - most of my work for the site has happened on Twitter and Facebook - but I’ve written an article or two in the past and this has always been a place where I felt comfortable sharing my story. My favorite piece was probably my Square Duck story from 2012. It’s still weirdly relevant today - https://www.sactownroyalty.com/2012/12/18/3779710/square-duck-sacramento-kings-keith-smart

It’s been an incredibly wild ride. One I had no plans of getting off any time soon. But here we are and while it’s sad to leave this place that we’ve all held in such high regard, it doesn’t have to be the end.

In April we will be officially launching kingsherald.com and I hope you all join us. You can go there now and sign up to be notified when the site officially launches. You can also follow us on Twitter @TheKingsHerald and on Facebook. In the meantime we’ll be working hard to create an awesome site with the kind of coverage you all deserve - By Kings fans for Kings fans.

I love all of you and i’m so thankful for the times we’ve shared together.

Let’s do this again... in a couple weeks.