” Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
– Thomas Edison
Memories are the richest treasures humans can possess.
They forever become ingrained into our mind, body, and soul. They mature and as they age and become better in time like an expensive wine. Reminding us that our time on earth wasn’t for naught, that for good or bad how thankful and blessed we were to experience what we did with the time given to us.
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We pass these memories down so that they can tell others that come long after we pass the story of our lives. So that long after we are gone and put in the grave those who come after us remember who we were, what we stood for, and what we accomplished while we were given the opportunity. They remind people all over who go through dark times about the importance of hope, faith, and the belief that good things come to those who refuse to quit fighting no matter the obstacles.
This is one of those stories. About how a group of guys in a purple RV, a determined Mayor, and an entire region defied the odds and helped in their own unique way to keep the Sacramento Kings where they always belonged.
How Love found a Way
It’s 10:30 in the morning on a beautiful Tuesday in Sacramento, California as Dave Weiglein and Rusty Prevatt get on the phone to discuss the upcoming release of their new documentary, “Playing to Win”.
Weiglein is better known to the Sacramento public by his radio name — Carmichael Dave.
He’s worked at Sports 1140 KHTK for CBS Radio in Sacramento for nearly 15 years. Weiglein started out as an intern at KHTK in the early 2000’s and gradually worked his way up the ladder. He now co-hosts 114o’s morning show with Keith Brooks.
Prevatt, the Director of the documentary, has worked in the film industry for 15 years, with nine of those spent at Franklin Pictures, the company behind the Documentary.
Their interactions on the phone paint the picture of a good friendship, and, as, usual with Carmichael Dave, straight comedy. I ask him at one point in the interview what his actual title is for the film. Prevatt takes that question off the bat.
“Savior,” Prevatt chuckles. “Lets go with coordinating producer.”
Dave chimes in with his take on the savior title.
“Yeah that would go real well in the credits that whole savior title” Weiglein says sarcastically.
It’s all laughs for the duo who spent nearly five solid years planning a movie in which they had no clue they were actually working on when the events were taking place.
However it wasn’t that long ago when nothing was funny about what was happening in the city of Sacramento.
“This thing isn’t over, not by a long shot”
It all begins with a ladder, a microphone, a bearded man, and sad, angry fans who refused to leave the arena.
The ladder that Dave stood on to address the fans following the Lakers game was auctioned off last weekend.
You could make the case it’s an underrated moment in the franchise’s history. No question you wont remember it unless you’re a Kings fan; but it sticks in the brains of many as a pivotal reminder to not lose faith. An omen, a warning signal to the people who did their best to try and take the Kings out of Sacramento. And the guy who climbed the ladder can’t even remember what went through his mind.
” I wish I could give you a better answer but my mind goes blank on that scene.” says Weiglein
The date was April 13th, 2011.
The Kings had just loss to their hated rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, 116-108 in Overtime to close out their season; only the season’s end had a different tone to it than in seasons past. Because for Carmichael Dave and numerous other fans it looked to be the last time the Sacramento Kings would play in Sacramento.
After years of political bickering and failed ballot measures to build a new arena, Sacramento owners Joe and Gavin Maloof began to seek new options for their basketball team.
On February 19th of that year, then NBA Commissioner David Stern admitted that the Kings and officials in Anaheim, California had been in discussions about relocation. It was later reported the organization went as far as to file for a trademark of the name Anaheim Royals in preparation for the move.
Long after the game ended, fans continued to stay in the arena for over an hour. T That was when Dave from Carmichael, a suburb just east of Sacramento, got up on the now famous ladder and delivered a speech that to this day still resonates with anyone who was in building that night.
” You had people crying in the stands, not wanting to leave. It was heartbreaking” – Carmichael Dave
” The purpose of the speech was to let people know we still had hope,” Dave said.
“That even though we had to leave the building I was just trying to let others know the fight isn’t over and we need to go back into the streets and City Hall and keep the hope alive with our spirit and passion.”
Richard Bracamonte, a life long Kings fan, recalls that night.
“It was horrible,” says Bracamonte. “The mere thought of them leaving, when that teams been there your whole entire life through the good times and bad, that’s what was difficult for all of us.”
While the city and its fans wept, the Maloofs began to plan their presentation for relocation to David Stern and the owners at the annual NBA Board of Governors meeting.
Many expected the meeting to be a formality of the team leaving town, except the formality would never come to fruition due to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announcing to the NBA Board of Governors that Ron Burkle, a billionaire business associate of former United States President Bill Clinton, had interest in keeping the team in Sacramento by purchasing them.
In addition, Johnson’s ability to pledge $10 million from local businesses and the outpour of support from the city persuaded Stern and the relocation committee to tell the Maloof brothers to withdrawal their relocation plans.
Within the next year, the city and the Maloofs had agreed to a tentative deal on the construction of a new facility in the rail yards in downtown Sacramento. Yet only a month after the deal’s outline was approved by city council, the Maloofs backed out of the deal.
Dirk Dig is a local rapper in the city of Sacramento who says that it crushed him to the core.
“That hurt me big time because that’s been my team since Day one,” says Dig. “And after we finally make progress on a new arena, y’all just back out like that? Horrible.”
Things were going to get worse before they got better.
Seattle Storm, Sacramento Fire
Daina Falk (@TheHungryFan) : ” So I hear that the Seattle Kings is officially a done deal! The Maloofs finally sold the ailing Sacramento team. #NBA” – January 8th, 2013
One single tweet by food blogger Daina Faulk, daughter of famed NBA super agent David Faulk, set off a bomb in the city.
The very next day, NBA.com confirmed Faulk’s tweet by reporting the Maloofs were in talks with a Seattle-based group led by Chris Hansen, who just recently had purchased $6.8 million worth of parking spaces for Seattle’s new arena.
On January 2oth, USA Today reported a deal had been reached where the Maloof family would sell their majority ownership of the Kings to Hansen’s group, yet Stern said that if Johnson wished he would be able to present to the Board of Governors or the relocatioin committee should he wish to do so.
For Carmichael Dave, not everything was golden either. Weiglein was fired at KHTK in 2012, which he lets me know about when I try to brush past it by saying he was given a leave of absence.
“Dude I was fired, relax,” says Weiglein. “It’s public knowledge”.
For nearly a solid year, Weiglein kept the fight for his Kings up through the constant grass root movement; but the time finally came for something different in February of 2013, and so came about the now famous “Playing to Win” Tour, where Weiglein, the producer of his post 1140 podcast Sean Thomas, and the camera guy Elliot, all packed into a purple RV and traveled from Sacramento to New York in time for the NBA Board of Governor’s meeting in New York.
” The goal was to let others from outside the city in the country know about our situation and draw public appeal,” Dave tells me.
All the while, Elliot would film during the entire trip, and with the help of Prevatt backed Franklin Pictures, put the vlogs on a Youtube channel so others could see what the boys were going through.
And so, as Kevin Johnson and the city stayed back to continue to show support for keeping the Sacramento Kings, three average Joes hit the road.
For Dave, he would have to leave behind his two children and his wife in hopes that the change he was looking for could happen before he came back. The game was on. It was time to play to win.
Stay tuned for Part Two coming soon.