A City Scorned…

By Robin Swanson

I have it on good authority that the Sacramento Kings organization has already filed a letter with the NBA commissioner’s office requesting a move to Anaheim.  They want to leave us.  So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye.  Though right now this will be treated by many as just another “rumor,” the fact is, the Kings have been trying to leave us for years – they’ve had flirtations with Las Vegas, San Jose, and Kansas City to mention a few, and now they are smitten with Anaheim.   Sports writers have written about their exit possibilities, and there is increasing interest in Orange County about the new courtship – but the Maloofs have yet to confess that they’ve filed the paperwork.

This time, instead of clinging onto the Kings like a bad cliché of a scorned love, maybe it’s time to let them go, once and for all.  Like a bad boyfriend who never treated us right, perhaps it’s time to lose their number and donate their left-behind belongings to charity, so we can regain our self-respect.  

I’m reminded of the once-popular book “He’s Just Not that into You.”   The fact is, the Sacramento Kings and their Vegas/L.A.-based M-“aloof” owners have never been “that into” Sacramento as a city.   Now, like any good break-up, we can reminisce about the good times: 8-9 years ago there was a waiting list for season tickets, every seat at Arco Arena was filled and Sacramento was known for producing the “best fans in the NBA.”   And of course, the Kings’ owners loved us – we were a golden goose and didn’t flinch at dropping $20 for a beer and some nachos.

But tough economic times, a housing market gone terribly awry and let’s face it, a lousy basketball team, changed the equation.   It’s time to acknowledge a painful fact: they never put a ring on it.  And now that the Sacramento Kings can’t even sell out the arena on “Groupon,” they want to leave us for what they view as a bigger, better deal in Southern California.  Never mind that Los Angeles already has two professional basketball teams and six professional sports teams.  Surely the City of Angels can support a franchise with the third worst win-loss record in the NBA (dead last in 08-09) – clearly, someone’s hoping for some divine intervention.

Maybe it’s time for us to stop our pity party and lose the baggage.  After all, part of the equation for Forbes’ determination that Sacramento was the nation’s 5th most miserable city was the fact that we had such a terrible professional basketball team.  So can we redefine ourselves as a spectacular city without a professional sports team?  I happen to think that Sacramento has way more to offer on the grid than on the court, and that it’s time for a downtown renaissance.  The Maloofs couldn’t have been less interested in that, and now we need to stop allowing ourselves to be defined by them.  We’re not Los Angeles and we’re not Las Vegas.  Thank goodness.  Sacramento has a soul and I’d like to keep it that way. 

And just so we’re not too starry-eyed about the history of our relationship with the Kings franchise – I’d like to remind of us of a few “rough” patches throughout the years.   Let’s start with the Sacramento Monarchs, former national WNBA champions (2005), who the Kings’ owners summarily dismissed when the economy sank and the profit-margin for women’s basketball diminished.  Didn’t matter that the Monarchs’ win-loss record far surpassed that of their Kings’ brethren – the bottom-line bottomed out, and the ladies were sent packing.  

And let’s not forget about the arena formerly known as Arco.  For years, we heard that Arco Arena just wasn’t good enough for an NBA arena – but we never heard any convincing ideas on how to pay for a new one.   This has never been a fun discussion for anyone involved – but in a budget-conscious era where local fire stations are closing and teachers are getting laid off, it’s hard to convince an already cash-strapped public that they need to pay for a new arena, particularly when there’s been a fickle commitment from the team’s owners to stick around.  

The fact is, if a well-thought-out and fair plan was presented that benefited the whole community, the people of Sacramento and their elected leaders would come together to support it.   That never happened.  And spun-up arguments about millions in sales and property tax revenue generated by the arena and the Kings industry never materialized to improve the local economy, particularly in the hard-hit North Natomas neighborhoods surrounding the arena.

So maybe, just maybe – it’s time to eat our left-over Valentine’s chocolates, have a good cry about it, put everything they own in a box to the left, and move on.  I, for one, am convinced that Sacramento can survive a broken heart inflicted by the “Kings,” and come back hotter than ever.  XOXO

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17 Comments

  1. Annette Ruff says

    YESSSS!!! Finally someone has expressed my sentiments exactly!

  2. Bethany Hill says

    I think Sacramento needs to get over it and the Maloofs need to take the Kings and get the hell out of here. Why would anyone want them to stay if they want to leave so badly? I sure won’t be shedding any tears…and I’m a Sacramento native!

    Good luck in Orange County, Kings. Considering everyone there is a die hard Lakers fan, you’ll need it!

  3. CBB says

    Something to keep in mind… the Maloofs own Arco Arena and the property it sits on. The land is much more valuable than the building. When they move the team, there is a good chance they blow up the arena and develop the property. So Sacramento and the 1,000 or so employees on the Maloof payroll will be able to say goodbye to those jobs, big name concerts, disney on ice, the circus, etc… etc…

  4. Laura Cottrell says

    Awesome article, Robin!

  5. bobby says

    I so agree.
    Maybe the women in this community will stop this insanity. Get lost, kings.

  6. Chantel Elder says

    I totally agree! I was talking to a sports fanatic the other day and they were sayining it wouldn’t be long before another team would come our way anyway. We have a facility and an awesome fan base – we just aren’t that in to the King’s. LOVE love love this!

    Thanks Robin!

  7. Grand Diva says

    I say “let’em go”. Let’s get a team that can win more than they lose. We won’t lose jobs – there’s a million things that can be done with the arena and surrounding property that would stimulate jobs. Thanks Robin, for putting it so eloquently.

  8. Sonny Mayugba says

    The Factor says, this Girl on the Gird nailed with a pretty amazing perspective. Well said. However, the two meows – mountain lions and river cats – while amazing feeders, aren’t quite the same as a pro league team. But, we’ll have to do and either way, the city is waaaaaaaay better than it was in 1991, even w/o sactown royalty.

  9. Robin Swanson says

    Thanks everyone – guess we struck a nerve. Anyone seen the awful and insulting billboards that have gone up saying “If the Kings Leave, We All Lose? Sacdeflated.com” Unbelievable – whoever put those up doesn’t understand our community very well. So insulting. So whoever put them up – you’re on notice – take the insulting billboards down. You’re only making things worse.

  10. Chris says

    That billboard was up last week, before this article was written.

    We do lose a big part of our city though.

  11. Robin Swanson says

    I’m not at all trying to suggest this article had anything to with them. I just find them upsetting, and have to drive by them every day.

  12. Patrick says

    Robin,

    As this article is well written, I believe you are off base on a few points but the bottom line is that if the Kings leave Sacramento we won’t all go into the toilet but if we ever needed a new World Class Venue / Arena it is now. The job stimulation just from the construction of a new facility would go a long way in helping our unemployment rate. So many folks keep saying we could use that money for Police and Firefighters, etc but the reality is that if we had an World Class Venue with a professional sports team it would also go a long way towards building Sacramento’s future and also help stimulate all of the things a lot of people say the money could be better used for. I’m obviously the minority on this story board but lets face it Sacramentans – regardless of its the Maloofs or the Kings or whatever we are viewed by the rest of the country as a small time cowtown and this small minded view that its not important for Sacramento to have a professional sports team/ new entertainment venue is just that – small minded. We have enough difficulty luring big business here now and if the Kings leave, it will be that much more difficult. These are the types of things that stimulate the economy – Lets look to the future of our fine town and think a bit bigger folks.This also includes our local politicians that seemingly have no clue what they are doing.
    The “Sac Deflated” campaign shouldn’t be upsetting to you but I guess the truth hurts, doesn’t it?

  13. Christina says

    Blah, blah, blah to Patrick (you had me till the last, insulting, line…I think you are just upset cause you put those dumb posters up), yes to a new arena (assuming we can work it out), good luck and goodbye Maloofs! I have been a fan of the Kings since I was 6, so I’ll always have a tender spot in my heart for the team but I am ready to say “GOODBYE!” to the Maloof’s and their “Woe is me” baggage. 🙂

  14. Robin Swanson says

    The Sac Deflated campaign is upsetting because it’s insulting and self-defeating. Sacramento can and will do better. And those self-flagellating billboards don’t help.

  15. Patrick says

    To Christina,

    Yes – I personally put up all of those posters – really? That is more insulting that what I said. What, are you 12 years old or something?

    To Christina and Robin, It really depends on how you look at that particular campaign and frankly it doesn’t bother me a bit – I will say again that I think the reason its upsetting to you and possibly others is that the truth really does hurt – I like them for their shock value. Lets not kid ourselves folks – losing our 1 and only Pro Team DOES hurt – personally, emotionally, and financially. I was not trying to be insulting – just my opinion.

  16. Jose says

    I RTed this because I 100% agree.
    I am a sports fan but at the same time, I can’t believe people are still attending games!
    Attending games now is like buying your ex dinner while they are planning a date with someone new. Stop it Sacramento, you are embarrassing yourself! Get some self-dignity, move on and support other sports franchises and organizations that DO help the City.
    Go to a River Cats game, put on your running shoes and do some Miles With The Mayor , go see the Camellia Symphony Orchestra, do a million things other than continue to feed the egos of carpetbagging Aloofs and their fly by night loyalty.
    A+ article Robin!

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