For Sacramento Kings’ Fans: The Five Stages of Happiness


Sacramento Kings fans Sean Roth and Karen Roth hold up a sign. Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
I remember a time when many of us were discussing Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief, when we believed the Sacramento Kings were relocating to Anaheim. The first stage is denial, followed by anger, and then bargaining, followed by depression, and then finally acceptance. Thankfully, we did not have to go through those stages.

Following the news the NBA blocked the relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, I felt an enormous sense of relief rush over me. At the same time, I noticed my Twitter timeline filled with many fans expressing their relief over the news. I observed other feelings and gestures, some expected, others unexpected. From these observations I put together my own list of the stages we were experiencing emotionally.

Here is my list of the Five Stages of Happiness, a volte-face to the five stages of grief:

Stage I: Relief

Most people seemed to express a profound sense of relief after news the NBA owners voted to block relocation of the team. Considering this ordeal has gone on for two years, I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise. The time, effort and intensity to pull everything together by so many parties is nothing short of phenomenal. So many starts, stops,and turn of events. Just when it seemed everything was going Sacramento’s way, the Seattle group would find a way to upset the applecart.

Stage II: Disbelief

Once I got past sheer relief, then there was a sense of disbelief, “Wait – Is this really happening?” I felt as though I could not exhale until the contract was signed by the team’s owners. There was this nagging concern it could all vaporize. I heard others voice worry and concern. Could our fear be due to the fact the Maloofs pulled out of the deal last year after celebrating center court with Mayor Kevin Johnson? That would explain it.

Stage III: Forgiveness

The odd thing, after months of back and forth dialogue with Seattle fans hoping to regain a team, some of it dissolving into mud-slinging; after years of verbally bashing the former team’s owners, the Maloofs, all of that seemed to disappear. Suddenly, people are “making nice” to the so-called “Sea Trolls” and the Maloof family. It is almost as though none of it ever happened. Strange.

Stage IV: Celebration

Once relief over the sale becomes a fait accompli, we can trust this is actually happening, and having made amends to anyone we may have disparaged in the heat of saving our team, we are free to embrace the team’s new ownership group headed by Vivek Ranadive and unabashedly celebrate keeping our team in Sacramento. Time to party!

Stage V: Happiness

Merrian-Webster provides one definition of the word happiness, which seems especially apropos:

"The feeling experienced when one’s wishes are met."

Yes, that satisfies. So, for us Sacramento Kings fans, we finally get to experience what it feels like to be happy once again and the promise this will lead to more happiness in the years to come. The end.