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The Last Mailbag: Personalized answers from the entire crew

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Y’all went crazy, just like we asked.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the last edition of the Royal Mailbag that will ever be produced by the staff here at Sactown Royalty. Earlier this week, we asked you to flood us with any question that came to mind, and boy did all of you respond. Without a doubt, this is the largest word count article ever produced for the website. I’ve asked each of the staff members to respond to specific questions that were sent their way, but Will and I also welcomed everyone to answer any random questions that piqued their interest. One additional note: we chose not to include answer to any questions about people who have been banned or anything having to do with politics or religion. Even as a last post, we’re not ready to handle that load. Enjoy the feast!

[Editor’s note: the following post clocks in at over 10,400 words. We did our best, but please be forgiving if there are a few more typos than normal. Thanks, Greg.]

From Bemaki:

  • How many Rising Stars and All-Stars are we going to miss in the draft before we make the playoffs?

Tim: That depends, how long is Vlade Divac going to continue as the General Manager?

Will: Easily four more All-Star level players will pass by the Kings in some way before the Kings sniff the 10th seed.

Akis: I think this roster is the closest the Kings have had to a playoff worthy roster in their 14 year drought. I don’t think it will be much longer. Now whether or not that will be sustainable is another question.

From LaBradford:

  • You’ve given birth. Do you raise the child as a Kings fan, with the knowledge that life will be full of misery, or do you allow the child to choose his/her team, with the knowledge that you’ll have to purchase yellow/purple or yellow/blue jerseys eventually for their birthdays?

Tim: I’ve actually had this conversation with my wife, as I have a son who’s about to turn four years old and a daughter who just turned one. I’m going to let them know about my Kings fandom (my son is sort of starting to understand that I write about the team), but they can ultimately choose their own team. Hopefully, they choose the Kings and the team actually fixes things and becomes a reputable organization.

Will: I let my kids decide their team, as I was allowed to choose. I grew up hating the Lakers first and foremost, so my fandom started with the Sixers before becoming a Kings fan at 11. Plus, if my kid likes another team, it doubles my chances of seeing winning basketball at some point in my life!

Greg: My oldest son is 10. I’ve made no efforts to make him watch basketball. If he does watch basketball, I will make no efforts to make him a Kings fan. Part of that is because the Kings are miserable to be a fan of, but also it’s difficult to be a fan of them in Colorado.

TJ: I would attempt to point them in the right direction, but chances are whatever spawn I raise will turn out to be a malicious little asshole and just end up liking the Lakers to piss me off.

  • If you could magically add one Sacramento King in their prime from any Sacramento era to the 2001 squad to help defeat the L*kers, which player would you choose?

Tim: I’m going to assume we’re saying a player in the middle of their prime with the Kings (otherwise it’s obviously Vince Carter), so I’ll roll with DeMarcus Cousins. He could shoot, pass, rebound, and offers another big body to take Shaq on in the post. Oddly enough, you’re probably bringing Vlade Divac off of the bench at that point.

Will: Damn it. I sat here for 15 minutes looking for a clever answer and wrote about Vince Carter and then saw that Tim hid it up there in parentheses. Honestly though? Meta World Peace. Had 05-06 Ron Artest been on that team, Kobe wouldn’t have seen daylight for 48 minutes. You could Jordan Rules the hell out of Shaq, hack him when need be and get 6 aggressive fouls from Artest.

Akis: This is an easy answer for me. Mitch Richmond in his prime. That Kings team needed a little bit more help on the wing with Doug Christie and Peja battling injuries during that series and Mitch could bring it on both ends of the floor.

TJ: I would KILL to see DeMarcus Cousins in this position with that team, especially going toe to toe with Shaq. Eww, I didn’t mean to agree with Tim. I need to bleach my brain now.

  • How did Greg ruin the guy’s marriage?

Tim: I just can’t figure out how he hasn’t ruined his own yet.

Will: If you let Greg have an affect on your marriage, it was dead a long time ago. That’s all I can say to that.

Greg: “the guy’s marriage”? You’ll need to be more specific on which guy you’re talking about.

  • If any of you Californians were to move away from California, what would be on your bucket list to see/do before you leave?

Tim: I don’t live in California, so thanks for making me feel excluded.

Will: I’ve lived here my whole life. LA, Redding, Sacramento. I think it would maybe be to get inside Arco Arena one last time, say thanks to the old barn and walk around remembering that all this, ALL THIS actually happened.

Sanjesh: I’ve experience the big city environment quite a bit as well as the beaches down the coast, but I haven’t spent much time in Northern Northern California, like going to see redwood trees or visit Shasta Mountain.

TJ: I left Northern California seven years ago and I basically did everything on my bucket list that included traveling all over, living in two different Southern California cities, moving out of those two different Southern California cities, blah, blah.

Tony: I know this wasn’t the question, but I live in the Boston suburbs and I would move to California in a minute if it was feasible. You guys have it so good.

  • Who on the StR staff is the tallest?

Tim: Me!

Will: Tim

TJ: Me

  • Who on the StR staff is the smartest?

Tim: Omer

Will: Robby, because he stays away from it all.

  • Who on the StR staff is the funniest?

Tim: Me!

Will: Literally anyone but Tim

Akis: I second what Will said.

  • Who on the StR staff is the noisiest?

Tim: In our group chat, Richard. In real life, TJ.

Will: Noisiest online is Tim. In real life? Me? I’ve got volume control issues sometimes.

TJ: Clearly, Tim said that because I’m the only woman here. I don’t raise my voice too often because I like sneaking up on people, you disillusioned fungi.

  • Who on the StR staff is the most optimistic?

Tim: Omer

Will: Omer, (which eliminates him from being the smartest)

  • Who on the StR staff is the most like James Bond?

Tim: Everyone on the crew is a basketball nerd, so the correct answer is no one.

Will: Broken husk of a man, rarely follows orders, usually causes a scene and likes to drop bad sexual innuendos at inappropriate moments? Think it’s me.

  • Who on the StR staff is the least like James Bond?

Tim: Sajesh, and only because he’s not yet old enough to drink.

Will: TJ. She’s a strong minority woman and understands consent laws.

  • Who on the StR staff is the first one to show up at work and the last one to leave?

Tim: All of our commitments tend to vary depending on what’s going on with our personal lives, but I would bet that Greg puts in more work than the rest of us. He’s constantly posting and he also does most of the editing and publishing for the site. He never stops, unless you boo him.

Will: Tim. (Will may or may not have forgotten to answer this question and someone may have filled it in for him.) {Will saw this later on... and he’ll let you have it}

Akis: There aren’t any slackers on the StR crew. These guys and gals have poured their heart and soul into this site for the last decade plus and I’m proud to continue working with them over at The Kings Herald.

  • If you were assembling a tag-team wrestling duo, which two Sacramento era Kings would you choose?

Tim: Ron Artest and Zach Randolph. No one’s taking us down.

Will: James Johnson and Ron Artest. Goodnight Z-Bo.

Tony: Georgios Papagiannis and Sim Bhullar. The Skyscrapers.

TJ: Boogie and Rondo. I just want to see someone really clothesline Rondo, but then have Boogie take them down next.

Akis: Isaiah Thomas & Spud Webb. Take them out at the knees.

From CLticketbuyeroflastreaort:

  • Will the Kings draft James Wiseman?

Tim: Assuming they win the lottery, I would be happy with James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, or Deni Avdija.

Will: He won’t be available. The Kings will trade down for more picks and someone they could have drafted at their original position will become an All-Star.

Tony: If they land the 2nd overall pick and Anthony Edwards is off the board, hopefully.

Akis: I am purposely doing no draft research this year so that I don’t get excited or let down about anybody we draft.

From scottymus.prime:

  • Is Tom Ziller thought of positively by the staff?

Tim: Absolutely. Several of the guys here still talk to him from time to time and he’s the reason StR ever came into existence to give us these awesome opportunities.

Will: Ziller is universally beloved by the staff as far as I know. He’s left us on Europa alone and without a visit in quite some years, but he’s an idol of mine to this day.

Akis: Without Tom there is no staff. There is no Sactown Royalty. Tom is amazing and I owe a lot to him and can never thank him enough for the opportunity he gave me and others. I miss working with him directly, but Good Morning, it’s basketball is something I look forward to in my inbox every day.

TJ: Who?

Tony: He was undoubtedly an inspiration for why I started doing this. I read StR long before I starting contributing, and as a Kings fan from Massachusetts, finding a community like Tom cultivated was essential to my fandom. Without StR and the foundation he built, I don’t think I would be a Kings fan today. Wait a minute... that doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe I don’t like Tom.

  • Do you think any current Kings player is still playing (anywhere in the league) next time the Kings are a real championship contender?

Tim: I think De’Aaron Fox will be the second-best player on that team. Other than that, no.

Will: I think De’Aaron Fox will be starting point guard for a Kings playoff team, does that count? Championship contention can’t even be considered with this current core.

Tony: A legit championship contender? Like a top-4 seed type? I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know if the Kings ever get back to that level, and I’m certainly not going to predict it happens in the next 15 or so years. A playoff team? Sure. My confidence in the organization is really low right now.

Akis: It’s been 14 years since we’ve even sniffed the playoffs. To get to championship contender status is something else altogether. I deeply want the answer to be yes, but this team is going to have to make some big improvements in the next few years.

  • Who would be the all-time easiest to root for Kings team for you? (12 players deep from any era).

Tim: The 2001-2002 Kings feel like a cop-out answer, but that’s my answer.

Will: I really enjoyed the 05-06 team that took the Spurs to six games. They were such a wierd spin-off to what we had come to expect of the Kings and Artest was such a strange leader. Everything was cobbled together and odd and so wonderful. True lightning in a bottle stuff.

Akis: The all-time easiest to root for Kings team? They’d have to be good and fun. 2001-02 squad is basically as good as it gets and I don’t know that I’d change a thing.

  • Is Fox the best Kings PG in the Sacramento Era?

Tim: Yes.

Akis: I think he certainly has the chance to be. He’s the first PG we’ve had that can certainly be called the best player on the team (depending on if you call Reggie Theus a PG or a SG). But until the team has some success I’d still have Mike Bibby or Jason Williams ahead.

TJ: Fuckin’ duh.

Tony: Probably, but only because I don’t feel like arguing about something that will likely happen in the future. I think he’ll definitely get there, if he isn’t already, but you can probably argue that Mike Bibby was better in his prime than De’Aaron Fox is right now. Maybe.

  • Did the Donaghy scandal make 2002 WCF more or less painful?

Tim: Much more painful.

Will: Donaghy is a fraudster and an unreliable witness in my eyes. It doesn’t do anything to me because I’m really not sure he isn’t trying to sell a bunch of b.s.

Akis: My thing with the 2002 WCF is regardless of Game 6, which sucked, the Kings choked hard in Game 7. 2 for 20 from three, 16 for 30 from the free throw line, at home, in a game that went to overtime. They should have won regardless of Game 6.

TJ: I wrote out a whole suicide note and dedicated it to him so what does that tell you?

  • If you could pick an entirely new broadcasting crew for Sacramento, who would it be? (including a separate radio host for the Peaches show). Is there anyone you’d keep?

Tim: I really enjoy Doug Christie’s analysis. Occasionally he tries too hard to be funny, but he’s improved a ton over the last couple of years. I would choose to pair him with Jerry Reynolds, and I don’t listen to Grant’s show, so he can keep it for all I care.

Will: Give me Mike Breen and Doris Burke and get the hell out of my way.

  • Other sports fandoms you have?

Tim: LSU Tigers – that’s about it.

Will: The Kings are it for me.

Akis: While the Kings occupy me most of the time, I am also a Raiders fan (yes, I know, I’m a masochist) and a San Jose Sharks fan. Last season I attended Game 1 of the Western Conference Playoffs in San Jose and it was some of the most fun I’ve had at any sporting event (and also my first playoff game).

Sanjesh: 1. I’m a huge 49er and Arsenal fan.

TJ: SF Giants, Tennessee Titans, San Jose Sharks (but only during the playoffs because who are we all kidding: fucking hockey?).

Tony: I used to love sports. The older I get, the more I realize I only really care about basketball. I consider myself a Patriots, Red Sox, and Bruins fan if I have to choose somebody to root for, but I care about the Kings on such a higher level that pretending like those other teams really matter to me doesn’t feel honest.

  • Where did any/all of you go to school? What do you do professionally?

Tim: I went to Mesa Community College and I’ve been a corporate trainer for about eight years now.

Will: I went to Shasta College and graduated from Sac State with a degree in English. I was a Director of Business Development for a couple years with the largest private security firm north of Sacramento for a few years and now I work in sales for a wonderful company that sells, services and installs car washes. I’ve been a Kings fan since the 2000-2001 season!

Akis: Out of high school I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to try to be a computer engineer. I only ended up going for one year before moving back home. I wasn’t ready and it was clear that I didn’t want to be an engineer. I eventually re-enrolled in college at Sacramento State and got my degree in Economics and I work in the financial industry.

Sanjesh: I currently attend Long Beach State and study journalism.

TJ: I didn’t go to college – I’m an autodidact. Started screenwriting in high school and became a professional script doctor. Switched over to cover professional sports because I have a death wish. Now I cover Dallas area sports while script doctoring on the side.

Tony: I attended four different universities studying for several different degrees before finally committing to getting my bachelor’s degree in business administration. It was a big waste of time and money. I currently work in digital media full-time, and wish I stuck with my gut and finished out a communications degree. If I ever lose my current job, I’ll probably go back to school and finish it.

  • When did you become Kings fans?

Tim: I grew up in Sacramento and always played basketball, so at a very young age.

Will: I’ve been a Kings fan since the 2000-2001 season!

Akis: I’ve been a Kings fan as long as I can remember, but I really have to give credit to Jason Williams for stoking the flames of my fandom into a full blown inferno. This guy made basketball a must watch event.

Sanjesh: Early 2010’s

TJ: First time I saw Mitch Richmond.

Tony: Late 90s - early 2000s. I’d credit Vlade Divac for my Kings fandom more than anyone else. I know he wasn’t Greek, but as a Greek human with a big Greek family, everything about him, from the goofy personality to his appearance, reminded me of everyone I grew up around.

From KingsFanLeo:

  • What is the best possible path for the team in the next months in your mind? Let’s say, what moves before the 2020-21 season would have you back in?

Tim: Bring in a respected, qualified basketball mind and give him full control over any personnel decisions. For example, the Kings could hire Sam Hinkie or Troy Weaver, make him the President of Basketball Operations, and allow him to evaluate the performance of every person in the front office and the coaching staff. Whoever he chooses to fire, great. Whoever he chooses to hire, great. Whoever he chooses to keep, great. That’s the best move Vivek can make. Oh, and get the hell out of the way.

Will: Make it a priority to collect assets and then execute by sending anyone over 25 years old away in the next 2 or 3 years. I mean everyone. Truly build around the youth of the teams. De’Aaron Fox is the only timeline that matters, so get everyone relative to his age. Hire intelligent, forward thinking management and coaches.

TJ: Put the entire front office in a Saw-like situation.

Tony: Clean house. My ideal scenario would be an entirely fresh start.

From SactownKingsFan:

  • Okay I’ll bite – do you guys (STR staff, I know what the fandom thinks!) think Luke Walton has real trouble with rotations, and is really stupid enough to think Buddy handling the ball a lot is a good idea, or could he actually just be playing the long game and trying to improve Buddy’s weaknesses to make him into a reliable asset for the few years, knowing that Luke and Vlade have 4 year contracts and that this season was realistically over a long time ago?

Tim: Luke Walton has made some good decisions (Holmes in for Dedmon, Bogdanovic in for Buddy), but his overall plan for the team is terrible. Slowing down the pace, forcing Buddy to guard the opposing team’s best player, making him a ball-handler, overplaying Trevor Ariza, and a host of other choices have spoken to a man who doesn’t understand the strengths of this team. The goal this year was to make the playoffs, and Walton has not leveraged the talents of this core to propel them forward. He’s done a bad job.

Will: Haven’t spent a moment discussing him in my writing, don’t plan to now.

Sanjesh: Dave Joerger should’ve been given a chance with an upgraded roster. Like Tim pointed on, Dewayne Dedmon wasn’t utilized efficiently but it didn’t help that Marvin Bagley never saw enough court time to form chemistry with him. Cory Joseph became a more prominent ball-handler when De’Aaron Fox went out, but there were so many plays when Joseph just dribbled the clock out and chucked something. The offense has been inconsistent and the defensive effort is never consistently there either. I would’ve loved to see what Joerger could improve on.

Tony: In an attempt to be fair in my criticism of the Kings, I often ask myself if a good franchise would do what the Kings are doing. The Kings made it clear that winning was the goal this season, and I think we’ve seen Luke Walton make several decisions that would be defensible if this was a rebuilding year, but the Kings aren’t in a rebuilding year, and some of his decisions have directly impacted their record. I think his overall use of Buddy is a good example of this. A good team trying to make the playoffs would not accentuate weaknesses in an attempt to develop when it’s costing you games.

From SayWhat?:

  • Why does our FO do stupid shit???

Tim: For the same reason I would be a terrible lawyer; I’m completely unqualified.

Will: For the same reason that Tim says stupid shit. We enable him to and don’t have consequences when he really mucks it up.

  • Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Tim: Whichever it was, the Kings picked the wrong one.

Will: I believe Petey D came before Vlade.

From LetsGoSac:

  • What are some of your ideas for a Kings city jersey that actually represents the city?

Tim: Not the color red, that’s for sure. (I have zero art/creative bones in my body.)

Will: Kimani and I discussed this a few years back but I’d like to see something that honored the natural landmarks or indigenous people of the area. Sacramento is the capital of the 7th largest economy on earth and a state rich in history both good and terrible. Nike’s brain trust saying “Oh. umm. Red this year?” is a travesty. Also, give me a gold jersey.

Akis: I liked the concept someone shared with the tower bridge as paneling on the side of the jersey or shorts. Anything is better than what Nike has come up with so far.

Sanjesh: Bring back the throwback black jerseys from the good ol’ days.

Tony: What Sanjesh said. I imagine they are saving the throwback black jerseys for when/if the Kings are actually good, because they will sell so many of them.

From twasserm:

  • If you had known in 2006 that the Kings wouldn’t make the postseason again for at least 15 years, would that have changed how closely you followed the team after that season?

Tim: Probably not. I’m addicted to this stupid team for whatever reason.

Will: I’m a glutton for punishment. I would have loved them anyway.

Akis: If I had known they wouldn’t make the postseason again for at least 15 years I would have made a lot of money betting against them each season.

Sanjesh: If I know they make the playoffs in year 15 and there are multiple good seasons ahead, I stay attached but even if not, I’ll watch anyways.

TJ: I’m a masochist so it wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.

Tony: I don’t regret the time I’ve spent on this team, and I’m grateful for the people I met along the way, so no, I don’t think that would have changed anything for me.

From Doc Logan:

  • Is Richaun Holmes the long term answer at center or is he a backup center playing starter minutes on a bad team?

Tim: Unfortunately with the way the Kings cap sheet is headed, he’s not a long-term solution at either spot. Richaun will almost certainly be out of the picture next summer. From a theoretical standpoint, Holmes is a perfectly fine starting center, assuming that he’s the fourth or fifth best player on the court at any given time. That’s not meant as an insult to his skill set, but he’s not a top-tier big man in the league, and that’s okay. Unfortunately for the Kings this season, he’s been one of their best performers.

Sanjesh: Richaun Holmes definitely turned many heads with his energy and effort that made him easy to root for, especially because he would look like the only King who cared at times. However, monetary funds will make it tough to retain Holmes for the future as Tim pointed out.

Akis: I think Richaun Holmes is definitely a starting center in this league, and I wish the Kings had been able to sign him to a longer-term deal this summer. Priority #1 is getting him healthy. Long term, it may be hard for the Kings to keep him if he plays as well as he did to start the season.

Tony: I’d like to see more, but I think so. I also disagree with Tim on this. We’ve talked about it before, but I’m not willing to predict his exit when the projected cap sheet can change at any time. Player movement in the NBA is at an all-time high, and I imagine what the Kings can or can’t afford by the time Holmes’ current contract is up will be different than it is today.

From forumposter:

  • Can any of you play small forward?

Tim: I’m 6’7” and can still dunk. What more do you need????

Will: I’m 6’2” and a bad facial injury from playing JUCO ball. I’ve got a bad achilles, broken both ankles, my right wrist and have thicked up a good bit... But I’m still the best shooter in the gym. You gotta intramural team needing a man??

Sanjesh: On 2k, yes.

Greg: I can barely sit up off the couch without my back hurting.

From Ars Legendi:

  • What is your favorite book, or the one that means the most to you? What video game do you always come back to?

Tim: Narrowing it down to just one book is tough. I read a lot as a kid, and this book is by no means incredible from a literary perspective, but The Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour really made me fall in love with the world of books as a youngster. My favorite fantasy book is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, my favorite non-fiction is probably 1776 or The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, and my favorite “classic” is 1984. In general, I try to read two books per week.

As far as video games go, The Last of Us is the best game I’ve ever played, although I’m pretty confident I’ve sunk the most total hours into Fallout 3. From a childhood perspective (I’m a 90s baby), Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is perhaps the most underrated and underappreciated game of all time.

Will: The Road by Cormac McCarthy meant a lot to me for a very long time. Hoop Roots by John Wideman was something I read recently that had me in tears a few times with the power of his writing. As for video games, I’m not big on them. I play 2k for the management side of stuff but I’m trash in most games I play.

Sanjesh: I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid all the time growing up, but I played video games more. Anything Naughty Dog related are the best games I have experienced, though sports games like FIFA and Madden I get after a few years.

Greg: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is my favorite book. Catch-22 is runner up. I haven’t played video games on a computer on console in a few years. I play some mobile games on my phone, but that’s about it.

Akis: I wouldn’t say I have one favorite book. I used to read a lot growing up but haven’t over the last few years and it’s something I want to get back into. I love the Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Fantasy genres.

For gaming, I grew up on strategy games like Age of Empires but Ocarina of Time was probably the first game that blew me away.

TJ: I’m a Russian Literature geek so my entire life revolved around Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita when I was young before switching over to Pushkin and Nabokov (I took the “Siren” part of my Twitter handle from him since his pseudonym was V. Sirin). Nabokov’s Ada or Ardor really changed my realm of thought in terms of using vocabulary and word play as a weapon. He always took a really taboo subject and managed to turn it into a work of art.

Tony: It appears I am the only non-reader in the group. Nerds.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book cover to cover. I’m not proud of it. I have a real problem focusing on one thing at a time, so I’ll read a page and retain none of it because my mind wanders. I also have a hard time sleeping because I can’t turn my brain off. Someone diagnose me, I’m sure there is something wrong.

I like competitive games. The last one I really sunk my teeth into was PUBG. I have spent an ungodly amount of time playing DOTA 2. Similar to my issue with books, if I’m playing something with too much story I lose focus and interest.

My favorite franchise of all-time is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and it is a crime against humanity that there isn’t a new one in development.

From Rob Hessing:

  • Did you laugh? Did you cry? Did it become a part of you?

Tim: I’ve laughed a ton, almost cried while writing the final mailbag piece, and I take more pride in my work here than in my 40-hour per week job. The other staff members here at StR are about as close to family as a group of folks, some of whom I’ve never actually met, can be. So yes, Sactown Royalty is, and always will be a part of my identity.

Will: There hasn’t been a single day on this site that I haven’t laughed. Even when it is you all rejecting my humor, pointing out my boneheaded errors or just talking about anything other than the stuff I’d written about in the comments, this community has been a singular joy in my life. I probably overlap my own personal failings and struggles in my various works here, but through death and loss and wild happenstance, you all are the first I’ve come to when things went wrong, so crying has absolutely happened there as well. Sactown Royalty has been a part of my life since before my home had internet. I used to go to the library at school and copy and past articles and comments onto thumb drives to read on my family desktop later that night. I grew up fans of the writers and commenters, even more so some seasons than a fan of the actual players. Your wit, humor and sharp eyes raised me into the fan I am today and without StR, I’m not a fan of basketball.

Sanjesh: I was just a 17-year-old kid trying to write about my favorite sports teams as a side passion in high school. I reached out to Greg and Akis about writing for STR, they gave me a chance and because of this platform, I got a media pass to cover a Stockton Kings game in early January. Ripping this site from us absolutely sucks, as this helped me develop a voice as I aspire to become a professional journalist after I graduate college.

Tony: I landed my full-time job largely because of my affiliation with SB Nation and StR. This website literally changed my life. I’m going to miss it immensely, but it would have hit much harder if I was also losing my connection to the staff and community. Those relationships aren’t going away, so I’m at peace.

TJ: Does laughing at everyone in here count?

From Amateur Nerd:

  • Did any of the StR writers consider selling their soul and applying for one of the new staff writer positions with Vox/SBNation so they could keep writing for StR?

Tim: The Vox announcement was obviously shocking. I was walking out of my son’s first ever school Christmas concert when I got the message from Akis that he was pretty sure he had just been terminated. Of course, we all immediately checked our email and found the same basic message. Although I don’t believe any of the writers applied for any of those positions, we all encouraged each other to if someone had the desire, and I still hold that feeling today. More than anything, we want to see each other succeed in this business, so I wouldn’t begrudge anyone from going for it.

Will: I think we knew pretty early on in the process that any attempt to have us apply for a job was solely an empty gesture meant to save face from the cold, heartless decision that they’d made. Everyone on staff encouraged each other to go for it if they so desired, because we’d rather friends run the site than some asshole Lakers fans with no desire to cover the Kings. Whelp.

Sanjesh: I didn’t apply but I wouldn’t stop anyone else if they wanted to continue here.

Greg: I considered it for a moment but quickly decided I had no interest in continuing to work for the company that had just screwed over me, my friends, and countless other writers that I admire and respect.

TJ: Clearly, you’re drunk if you assume I applied. I’d rather chew glass while doing the butterfly in a pool of acid.

Akis: It quickly became clear that the new role SB Nation was creating was not what I would be interested in doing. I’m a Kings fan and I want to write about the Kings, not other teams as well.

Tony: Not really, but I wouldn’t fault anyone else for doing so. If I had to write about other California teams, especially with a ‘fan’ perspective, it just wouldn’t have been genuine. I think having passionate and informed voices is what made SB Nation great, and I believe they will regret moving away from that model.

From Reddingtyguy:

  • What’s a better deal at Golden 1 Center to drink my sorrows away against the grizzlies? Beer or hard alcohol What’s been your favorite story to read and/or publish on the site? Mine was the time machine to gather the greatest Kings of all time. That story is amazing.

Tim: Can I be mysterious and melodramatic for a moment? My favorite piece I’ve ever written was about 3,500 words and was never able to be published for certain reasons, but it carried a larger impact than everything I’ve ever written after or had written prior, combined. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter. Figure that one out, Sherlock!

Will: Definitely go for the hard alcohol... As for my favorite story to publish? I’ve had previews that have pissed off opposing fanbases enough that they threatened to hurt me, I’ve had TV personalities from the most surprising places telling me that jokes I’ve made cracked up opposing locker rooms, I’ve had a guy venmo me money after betting on my advice in one of my weird predictions and actually winning on the score I predicted. The City of Memphis still has an APB out for my likeness, I think. Those have all been so much fun. But, my favorite is still my very first, the one that got me the writing gig here. A lot has changed in the five years since “A Call to StR: A Dancer’s Date with Destiny”: Sienna and I don’t speak, the SKD has been disbanned, I stopped writing my Houston Rockets themed Shawkshank ripoff. But, seeing a community rally around someone who meant so much to me personally, who worked so very hard to get within mere steps of her dreams and to have you all there to help carry her across was something I will never ever forget. There is nothing as simply joyous as watching someone live their dream and I had the pleasure to bear witness to it, many nights for a few years. Getting to share my life with you all as a result of that piece has just been icing on the cake.

Akis: Ok here’s what you do. You go to the game early and you go this bar called the Chambers Room near the arena and get the $5 40oz. of PBR and drink that there. You’re going to want a beer during the game and the arena does offer a lot of nice options, but $13 or more a beer adds up quick.

From RikSmits:

  • What do you see here?

Tim: The duplicative nature of seven years without the playoffs under the Maloofs and seven years without the playoffs under Vivek.

Will: Why would you have an inkblot that looks like Slamson and me kissing?!

Akis: It kinda looks like two Dumbos attacking a giant mouse.

TJ: Your mom.

  • With which NBA player would you choose to be on a deserted island with for a year? And which former NBA player?

Tim: I’m taking Steven Adams as my current player, as I’m relatively confident he would be the last man standing in any sort of post-apocalyptic scenario. He would help me survive and would be endlessly entertaining. As far as former players go, I’ll take Tim Duncan. He seems like a cool dude.

Will: CJ McCollum. We could just chat ourselves into starving to death. Former? While he technically didn’t play in the NBA, I’m still picking Greg Popovich, the former goddamn Air Force officer and spy!

Sanjesh: I would go with LeBron as a current player. For a former, I’d choose Jason Williams.

Tony: Beno Udrih, Tyreke Evans, etc.

From thishotfirekevin:

  • Is there a poster/commenter you just hate ? Like someone who is always grumpy, or overly happy, or who has bad credit?

Tim: I love all of you with the intensity of a thousand fires. In all seriousness, as long as people aren’t trolling or being intentionally offensive or rude, I love to hear all of your opinions, even when they’re wrong (A.K.A they disagree with mine).

Will: “You really think the Kings are going to beat the Lakers by 47 points?? Lakers score 71 points the entire game??? LMAO Get real, bro!” - You all do such a good job of showing those people the error of their ways but damn do they make me laugh in righteous frustration.

From g-naps:

  • Do you believe there are any commenters who are employed by the Kings?

Tim: Regular commenters? Nah. Lurkers? Sure. Do the Kings know what we produce here? Absolutely.

Will: Absolutely there are. More than we think. I know for one particular article I posted that some former executives on the business side of the Kings commended me in person only to say “well, I commented on the article already ;)”

Tony: I once found a burner account on Twitter that I’m 95% certain belonged to a member of the Kings organization, but just couldn’t put all the pieces together to go public with it. Maybe he or she will slip up one of these days. I’m still on it.

From Klam:

  • Has there been any kind of decision you had to make in your life maybe you weren’t sure if it was the right choice (or you saw it as a negative at first), but it ultimately turned into something positive or even life-changing?

Tim: Back in 2010, I got engaged (that wasn’t the negative part). I was 20 years old and going to school part-time and working part-time, and I decided I needed to leave school and find full-time work to support my soon-to-be wife and future family. My brother hooked me up with a job where he was at, but from a personal and from an outside perspective, my decision probably looked pretty foolish. Here I was, a relatively smart kid and an athlete leaving school to go work 40 hours per week at a call center. Yikes, right?

Anyway, I started as a normal call center employee, but was able to leverage my work ethic to gain a promotion within 8 months, and was subsequently promoted to a trainer shortly after that. I’ve now been in the training world for about 9 years, and the position has provided well enough for my wife to stay home and raise our two young children, as well as numerous other benefits. So my advice for anyone debating a decision out there? Bet on yourself, always.

Will: After college I was broke, severely depressed and pretty much the world around me was falling a part. I retreated home to help take care of my father who had cancer. I lost my aforementioned best friend of six years shortly thereafter because of all that. But fast forward a few years, that move freed me to write the way I wanted to, allowed me to prove myself in my line of work, helped my parents for a few years, secured my life financially and I ended up in a relationship with someone far healthier for me! Probably wouldn’t be alive today had I stayed in Sacramento and coming back in triumph has been such a pleasure.

TJ: Moving to Dallas and making the decision to cover the Dallas Mavericks. I wasn’t sure I couldn’t be bias when it came to another NBA team, but it changed my entire life for the better. I was able to cover Dirk Nowitzki in his final years and now I’m lucky enough to watch Luka Doncic grow into his role as a basketball prodigy here. Am I bitter about the Kings not taking him? Duh. But do I let it get in the way of my work? Also, duh. But, my fucking god, it is awe-inspiring to watch him in person. Sorry I just made most of you cry but that was my intention in the first place.

From Klam:

  • Where did you get the idea for your STR username? And did you have any other usernames you considered?

Tim: I think I’ve told this story on a couple of different podcasts, but babygiraffe nickname found its genesis in my freshman year of high school. I was playing for the varsity squad, and I managed to jump the passing lane and went coast-to-coast for a dunk. Keep in mind, I was the lankiest 14 year old in the world, with a massive wingspan, about 6’5” and I probably weighed 145 pounds. While that fast break was happening, the high school principal turned to the girls’ coach in the stands and remarked something like “You know what Tim looks like when he’s running down the court? A baby giraffe.” That nickname immediately took hold at the school and for the rest of my career at home games I was announced like this: “And starting at center, number 22, Tim “the baby giraffe” Maxwell.

So that’s how the nickname was born. I’ve kind of kept that throughout my adulthood and my license plate even reads “BBGRAF”. Now, that wasn’t a particularly kind thing for an adult to say about a rather gawky teenager doing his best in sports, but I did get my revenge.

I married his daughter. Yes, my father-in-law is my former HS principal

Will: It’s my name with a little anonymity tossed in for kicks. I previously was maloof-fool-am because i thought it was great the maloofs mirror image proclaimed them to be fools.

Akis: Aykis is my favorite mispronunciation of my name (for four letters I’ve heard a ton of different ways to say it) and 16 is in honor of Peja Stojakovic, my favorite player ever.

From JackassCentral:

  • Final StR Night? Who lives in the Sacramento area, or is willing to travel, and wants to get together on 3/31? Pretty sure that no recently-laid-off StR writer would have to pay for a drink all night. I’ll bring the name tags and sharpies.

Tim: I can’t guarantee anything for certain, but if there was a final StR night, I would do my best to make it up to Sacramento (I’m in Phoenix) to attend.

Will: If there is a final STR night, I will be there.

  • Who is the StR commenter who consistently cracks you up?

Tim: LaBradford, RikSmits, and Rob Hessing

Will: You all do, seriously. There’s someone new everyday that I bust a gut over.

  • Who you always want to hear weigh in on something complicated?

Tim: RORDOG

Will: PookieGuru/KingsGuru was always my go to read back in the day.

  • Who you are jealous of the writing skills and insight of?

Tim: It’s not a commenter, but Robby Biegler.

Will: Jman1949. I have to point him out. I wish I knew how to thank him enough over the years but I’m insanely jealous of his consistent brillance. The guy writes a new limmerick every game and has done some for years. Brilliant.

Tony: I don’t know if jealousy is the right word, but I’m really proud of the writers here and I think they are very talented. Will is the best game preview guy in the business. I would put his previews up against anyone anywhere. Tim does an excellent job defending his stance on something with a healthy combination of easily digestible stats and common sense. Greg is just a content machine. It probably takes me two hours to write something he could put together in 30 minutes.

From Malrock:

  • How did the dress code become pants optional?

Tim: Pants are always optional, as long as you’re cool spending some time in a cell.

Will: Rob can answer that one. I assume it was just pressure and time.

  • If one train leaves Sacramento traveling East at 30 mph and another train leaves NY headed west at 20 mph where will the two trains meet?

Tim: The trains will meet outside of the playoffs.

Will: I’m the preview guy. I don’t have to do math.

  • Do you have non-compete clauses in your agreement preventing you from writing for another site for a period of time? If yes then how long is that period of time?

Tim: We do not.

Will: There will literally be a zero day overlap between writing for STR and the next spot!

Akis: We have never had non-compete clauses. In fact you can read Greg, Richard and I in the Sacramento Bee from time to time now as well.

  • Why does Greg think it is ok to ruin things like marriages etc.

Tim: Greg’s a bad person.

Will: He’s so good at it, we can’t tell him it’s harmful now.

TJ: Who?

  • Are we allowed to boo?

Tim: Your life is your own to live.

Will: I encourage all forms of legal self-expression.

Tony: Yes.

  • Why have the comments become so caustic lately? Seems like a lot of bitterness.

Tim: The comments are probably bitter and caustic because the Kings are the least successful franchise in the entire NBA.

Will: Fans cycle through the stages of death at their own pace. Many are at the anger stage.

  • Since we haven’t been doing the scoring thing can I be declared the Nostradamus of the year? Just for asking?

Tim: No.

Will: Yes. In my eyes, you’ll always be a Nostradamus for this season. That work?

  • Does Buddy ever get his starting role back?

Tim: Probably not – I don’t think Buddy will be on the team at this time in 2021.

Will: He’s a starter on almost any other team in the league. It might take him moving to one of them, but yes.

  • Can you see any scenario where Cousins comes back?

Tim: No.

Will: As much as I would love that, no.

  • What is the land air speed of a European swallow?

Tim: Faster than Zach Randolph.

Akis: Laden or Unladen?

Will: I knew somehow this questions would get asked. I plead the fifth.

  • What is your favorite color besides purple?

Tim: Blue.

Will: I’m a big fan of black.

  • Are you a reasonable human being or do you like Brussels sprouts?

Tim: Brussels sprouts are delicious.

Akis: Most vegetables are good if you roast them.

Will: Goddamn, I love some brussel sprouts.

  • If you were a minor lotto winner and had 1 million post taxes what would you do with it?

Tim: I would invest in multi-sectional real estate and retire in a few years.

TJ: Bribe someone to get Tim fired.

Akis: I’d probably use some as a down payment on a house and then invest the rest.

Will: Burn Tim and Akis’ houses down and use the rest on a lawyer to prove my innocence.

  • Do you like regular pizza toppings or are you a monster who likes pineapple on their pizza?

Tim: Pineapple on pizza is fine, although not great.

Akis: I only eat pineapple on pizza when it’s a Hawaiian Pizza. My go to is traditional combo.

Tony: My preferred pizza is pineapple and bacon.

Will: The real move is mango on pizza, but you aren’t ready for that conversation.

  • How long can you stare at the sun before you go blind?

Tim: Not long.

Will: True story, when I was a kid I used to stare at the sun for minutes at a time and wonder why I never went blind. In high school, it dawned on me one day in math class that they probably meant that you’d go blind someday down the road and I have never gotten over how dumb I was as a kid not to realize it.

  • If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

Tim: The ability to control probabilities.

TJ: Teleportation.

Akis: I like TJ’s answer. Teleportation would be seriously useful, especially if I could take people with me. Dinner in Rome and then back to my own bed? Not bad.

Tony: I want to live forever. The idea that the future is going to happen without me is unsettling.

Will: The only good answer here is mind control. Oh Tim controls probabilities? I control Tim. Akis and TJ can teleport? Looks like I’ve got DoorDash to any place in the world I want to eat. Why have a power when you can control everyone elses?

  • Regular or fiery Cheetos?

Tim: Fiery, although Takis and hot fries are better.

Akis: Fiery all the way.

Tony: Simply CHEETOS® Puffs White Cheddar Cheese. The best bagged snack in the game.

Will: They’re all gross. Salt and Vinegar chips please.

  • Are the gold King’s jerseys the worst of all time? Would you be embarrassed if you received a personalized golden Kings jersey as a present?

Tim: The golden jerseys are easily the worst, although the red aren’t far behind.

Akis: Before this year I think the gold jerseys were easily the worst jerseys the Kings have ever worn but these red ones are giving them a run for their money. I’d still probably lean gold but I never want to see red as a primary jersey color for us again.

Tony: They’re terrible, but I hope we see the Kings play in them again someday. I’d laugh.

Will: I will die on this hill. The gold jerseys are good and Sacramento SPECIFICALLY should find a way to bring back gold. The fucking gold rush started here!

From Widdowolf:

  • Is Jason Thompson still arguing foul calls?

Tim: Does Vlade Divac still smoke a couple of packs of Camels a day?

Will: Wow. Cold World.

From ArcThunder:

  • Those of you who listen to Bryson Tiller, what’s your favorite song of his? If you had a choice between having rookie John Wall, knowing his prime capabilities and disregarding his injuries, would you rather have him or Marvin, Buddy, and Bogi? What’s been your least favorite memory of the Kings since you started writing about STR (preferably not Luka)?

Tim: I don’t know who Bryson Tiller is. I’ll take Marvin, Buddy, and Bogi because I don’t need Wall with Fox. My least favorite memory is the constant stream of violent men who have been brought in by the current front office (Matt Barnes, Isiah Thomas, Brandon Austin, etc.).

Will: I’d roll with the guys we’ve got. My least favorite memory not including the Luka debacle... I took time off in my first couple of years for a personal reason. During that time away, I learned that role models of mine that work in the public arena and are/were involved in one way or another with the Kings was not someone worth admiring in anyway. Snakes in the most surprising of grasses!

From GBHood:

  • Tim, you’re in Arizona, right? Where in Arizona are you at? Is there a group of people in AZ who follow Sactown? And are there any bars where you watch the game? Recently moved here with a job transfer.

Tim: I don’t know of any bars (I’m not much of a drinker), but there are quite a few fans that you’ll see if you attend a game here in Phoenix. We usually get together at halftime to chat. Come join us next year!

Will: I... I’ll leave you two alone for this one.

From CloudyEyes:

  • Visiting the Golden 1 Center for a game is on my bucket list - Is the trip worth it?

Tim: It’s a pretty cool arena. If you have the funds and the desire, I would make the trip.

Sanjesh: Yes

Akis: Golden 1 Center is the only other arena I’ve watched basketball in aside from Arco Arena. I knew Arco was always considered a dump but I didn’t understand just how bad it really was until I saw Golden 1 for the first time. It’s the crown jewel of downtown Sacramento.

Will: The arena is great. I don’t know where you’re traveling from but it is absolutely worth it.

From BlueJohn:

  • Have you done your best writing in a post or a comment?

Tim: I think in a post.

Akis: Posting, definitely.

Will: I have pissed off at least half a dozen franchises at one point or another with my writing so I’ll say the posts.

  • Did you learn punctuation in English Class or from LPA?

Tim: My mother was an English professor for several years, so mostly from her.

Will: I’m still learning punctuation and I’ve got a degree in English!

  • Who has been your consistently favorite (non staff) poster? As in when you scroll down the recommended and submitted posts which person’s stuff will you at least take a look at?

Tim: I always enjoy Rob’s posts

Will: This is a cop out but there is way too many to name. I am fans of so many of you, especially the one’s that consistently come into my articles to ham it up in one way or another.

  • What is the stupidest thing someone has said to you in the comments threads?

Tim: Not necessarily a single comment, but I find it hilarious when people on Twitter or in the comments call the staff members here “fake” or “bad” fans. We put more hours into this team than almost anyone on this planet.

Will: There are those people that come into a preview expecting a certain level of analysis and professional insight and then will make it known that they’re disappointed that I’m instead... Oh I don’t know, Comparing the Warriors to various Transformer’s films etc. It makes me laugh every single time.

  • Is there one national writer (not including Amick or Ziller) who you think actually knows something about the Kings?

Tim: Marc Stein is always very reliable.

Akis: Marc Spears is pretty connected to Sacramento. I also think Zach Lowe knows what he’s talking about because that guy actually watches every single team in the NBA. I don’t know where he finds the time but I love reading his analysis and thoughts on each team.

  • Are there any current King’s players you think will be on the team when they next make the playoffs?

Tim: De’Aaron Fox for sure – likely Bogdan Bogdanovic as well. I’m not confident in anyone else.

Will: Fox and only Fox.

  • Does Vlade get fired this year or next?

Tim: The Kings justify the season with injures, probably fire the training staff, and keep Vlade and Luke for one more year.

Will: Next. Vlade’s leash gets infinitely shorter but won’t choke him.

  • What is the single worst decision that Vivek has made as managing owner?

Tim: Passing on a franchise and likely Hall of Fame player in Luka Doncic.

Akis: Firing Mike Malone instead of Pete D’Alessandro.

Will: Trusting Chris Mullin and Pete D’Alessandro with this franchise.

From Sacto_J:

  • What have been some of your favorite pieces to write about? And who do you take inspiration from, if anyone?

Tim: I already mentioned my mysterious, favorite piece above. As far as inspiration, I appreciate Greg constantly referring to me as “the Zach Lowe of Sactown Royalty”, but I really model a lot of my writing off of what Matt Moore used to do for CBS before he moved onto Action Sports. I love the way he educates through his writing.

Will: I love when Akis and Greg allow me to “Let Bartlet Be Bartlet” with me on certain match-ups. I try to refrain from doing it all the time and I scaled back this year quite a bit... But when the Warriors of previous years or the Lakers come to town, just knowing I get to punch up and talk as much shit as I want, those are the only times I feel alive on this cold planet. STR’s editors really had no reason to let me off the leash but I’m awfully glad they trusted me with it. I really love reading Robby Biegler’s pieces when he gets a chance to write something and starting out, seeing his attitude bleed through his writing really gave me the confidence to share my voice with you all.

From Patrick from Davis:

  • You have mentioned your choices on who you would prefer as a new GM on Twitter, but could you reiterate those with your reasons why?

Tim: I would love to have Troy Weaver, Sam Hinkie, or even Daryl Morey as the GM of the Kings. My reasoning is pretty simple: they’re all experienced men who have proven themselves as competent managers.

Will: Sam Hinkie is who I’ve said in the past. He’s right up Vivek’s alley in terms of Silicon Valley idealist willing to think outside the box to win. The Process was how he felt the Sixers would best vie for a championship, I’d love to see what he’d be inspired to do with the Kings current pieces.

  • The same as above but for new coaches, why do you want the ones you have one your list?

Tim: From a coaching perspective, I don’t really know that I have a list because I don’t think Luke Walton is going anywhere, even if the Kings move on from Vlade. He’ll be given at least another year under a new GM to prove himself.

Will: I want a good young coach, but also don’t want to ruin any good young coaches chances at long-term success so I don’t want to suggest anyone and then monkey paw them into being stuck with this current management.

  • What are your suggestions for following the continuing saga of Greg and Liam Neeson? I refuse to call it fan fiction, that’s literature.

Will: I’m pretty sure that Tim wrote this question and refused to answer it so: how dare you call it literature. Be ashamed.

From socksofthewiz:

  • Which member of Sactown Royalty has the worst tattoo, what is it, and what makes it the worst?

Tim: We present, Tony’s mistake:

Will: Tony. DUCKS FLY TOGETHER!

Tony: Mistake?? No way. First of all, the picture here is incomplete. This was after my first appointment. And I regret nothing. It brings me joy. You should hear what my next tattoo is going to be...

From HoustonJP:

  • What is the remaining line of credit on LaBradford’s credit card?

Tim: $420.69

From kingsforaday:

  • Best city to live in California, if cost was not a factor. Alternatively, your favorite place to visit in California.

Tim: San Diego and San Diego

Sanjesh: Yeah, I’m with Tim. San Diego is extremely beautiful and the most underrated city in the state but that’s because it’s in the shadow of Los Angeles when people think about SoCal.

Will: Sacramento. Legitimately and with no bullshit, Sacramento. I love living here. Favorite place to visit? I enjoy what Oakland and San Fran has to offer for a day or so.

And finally, to anyone who kindly asked about the plans for a new site, every single staff member here at Sactown Royalty will be transitioning to our new project, The Kings Herald, launching in April of 2020.

For the half-dozen of you who made it through the marathon that was this mailbag, I once again want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your comments, questions, ideas, trade machine proposals, and complaints over the last several years. This site, this community, and this staff would be nothing without all of you.

Thank you,

Tim

I can’t wait to get back to these, someday. So much love to you all for asking us questions over the last year or so and a great many thanks to my partner in this, Tim. Tim has, on MANY occassions, postponed publishing until I could write my answers, rewrite my answers or even until I told him I couldn’t write. He’s been the workhorse on this and has been given very little credit. I am the Vlade Divac of writing partners and he consistently has this project looking like an all-time great dynasty.

An Abundance of Love to You All,

Will