Sunday Musings: Sacramento Kings fans remain loyal to a fault
While television executives would never send camera crews to document the real life drama of the Sacramento Kings, they probably should. Where else in professional sports can you find riveting drama on a weekly, if not daily basis. You can’t buy this kind of content.
This week’s big news is that DeMarcus Cousins is once again on hiatus due to suspension. For how long, nobody knows, but it’s not a huge surprise. I would assume that cooler heads will prevail and we will see the Kings starting center after the holiday break, but I could be wrong.
The Cousins situation is yet another distraction for Kings fans who for some reason still live and die by their purple and black. Talk about loyalty. No one would blame them for jumping ship during one of the dozen or more embarrassing situations this franchise has gone through over the last two seasons.
In case you are wondering why I used the term embarrassing, it’s because that is exactly what it is. The good people of Sacramento are hard-working, blue-collared folks. Everyone in the nation has heard about how Sacramento doesn’t have a Fortune 500 company or a huge corporate base and that’s true. This is a town built around California’s state government, urban sprawl and for the last 29 years, the Sacramento Kings.
Do you know how embarrassing it is to open up a newspaper or internet browser and have your city’s name attached to relocation rumors, player suspensions and hearsay about the team’s owners?
Fair or not, perception is reality.
Virginia Beach might be a perfectly nice place to live or visit, but could you imagine the threat of losing your NBA franchise to a resort town boasting just the 43rd largest television market in America? Not after 29 years of incredible support you can’t.
Cousins? Are you kidding me? Sacramento Kings fans are going on three years of this nonsense. You’ve missed more games in your career for disciplinary reasons than injury. Grow up, be a man and get some help. Stop with the ridiculous behavior, you are embarrassing yourself and the city you represent.
And like I have said a million times over, I will never propose to know how much money is in another man’s bank account, but the perception is that the Maloof family is broke. It’s kind of like everyone at your school finding out your house is being foreclosed on and your parents just filed for bankruptcy. It’s embarrassing, whether it’s accurate or not.
It could be worse. The Kings could be 8-18 and a non-factor in the world of professional sports. They are bad, but certainly not boring.
That is my media perspective. If I was to put on a fan hat, I’m not sure how much longer I would stand behind this dysfunctional franchise.
It’s time for change. It’s time that this once proud fanbase is given a chance to get behind something that represents them in a proper way. Does that mean trading Cousins or firing someone in the front office or a change in ownership? Probably all three are needed, but for now, there are plenty of things that can be done to reshape the image of the Sacramento Kings.
First and foremost, end this ridiculous Virginia Beach narrative in its tracks. Announce that the team is staying put through the Mar. 1 relocation deadline and be honest about future plans. If this is your best option for relocation, you should go back to Mayor Kevin Johnson and work something out.
Secondly, get Cousins some help and don’t let him retake the floor until he is ready to be a functioning member of the team and a positive ambassador for the community he represents. It sounds like a tall order, but if Cousins wants to play basketball, he’s got to jump through a couple of hoops to earn that opportunity. Pay him, don’t pay, I don’t care. Just get the kid on the right path.
Lastly, the current ownership group needs to make decisions that show they have the financial wherewithal to run a professional franchise. That doesn’t mean signing big name free agents, but it does mean bringing in the right people to get this ship back on course. Regardless of where this team may end up, fans are going to want a commitment to winning; you might as well start that process now.
The Kings are a mess and they are embarrassing the people of Sacramento. It’s time for a few changes.