The last great frontier of Sacramento basketball has been a distant memory in the discourse of the decade, as this past November marked eleven years since the Sacramento Monarchs folded.
One of the eight inaugural WNBA teams, the Monarchs brought a title to the City of Trees, along with countless All-Stars, Hall of Famers and genuine success in the narrative woven into the league’s history. But just three years after bringing a ring to Sacramento, the Maloof family decided in 2009 to go all-in on the Kings, implying that the Monarchs were an after-thought despite their success in the city and adoration amongst the league.
The fold was a stunner, though many had predicted that the W’s map would look quite different in the decade to come with the idea of expansion and relocation. However, wiping away the Monarchs was on no one’s docket.
The Maloofs were ready to give basketball hell to Seattle in 2013, and the fight to keep the Kingdom was on for the city and its fan base. Enter Golden State Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadivé, who sold his share in the soon-to-be dynasty and climbed aboard Sacramento’s “Here We Stay” movement.
Aside from actually keeping the team in Sacramento, the new majority owner in Ranadivé made a popular promise to the city that he would restore the Monarchs and return their tenure to the WNBA landscape.
Ironically, the Maloofs made the choice to rid themselves of the Monarchs and focus all of their energy on the Kings. With an organization still in disarray, nearing the longest playoff drought in league history and the general odor of “disfunction” wafting throughout the rest of the association, it seems that the current ownership needs to keep the Kings at the forefront of their endeavors. In essence, this organization is in no place to take on another project while they are still lighting Bunsen burners under their male counter-part.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert has recently emphasized the desire to expand the league beyond its current 12 teams. Pillars of the women’s foundation don’t exist anymore like the Monarchs, Houston Comets, Detroit Shock and Charlotte Sting have fallen to the wayside of “remember whens” and left fans to only reminisce on their city’s dominance.
The hope of the Monarchs returning to Sacramento remains dimly lit in the hearts of fans who never wavered. Where Kings’ brass choose to go from here remains undecided, as their plates seem to be forever full with trying to fan the flames of whatever issue arises. Despite the promise staying unfulfilled, the thought of Ticha Penicheiro or Kara Lawson or Yolanda Griffith returning to Sactown with a clipboard in hand could be a very sensible reality in the next decade, and it will unequivocally be worth the wait.