The Sacramento Kings have a golden opportunity to dethrone the Warriors for Nothern California basketball supremacy. They’re failing miserably.
It has been a long time since the Sacramento Kings were the premier team in Northern California.
Believe it or not, there was a point in time when the Warriors took a back seat to all things Kings. There were no “We Believe” shirts being worn at your local grocery store. There wasn’t a kid with a Stephen Curry jersey on every blacktop basketball court. People talked about the Kings first and the Warriors were secondary, if they were talked about at all.
My how the tables have turned.
Over the last 5-6 years, the Warriors have vaulted themselves in to NBA supremacy, and have enjoyed one of the most successful runs that any professional sports team has ever had. They’re not only a local sensation, but their popularity is now global.
It is noticeable in the Sacramento airport. The first thing you see when you land in California’s capital is an oversized display of Curry shirseys and Golden State car flags. Walk in to Pro Team Sports or Sports Fever in the Arden Fair Mall and let me know if you have any trouble finding Warriors socks, wristbands, and fitted caps.
Take an outlying city like Reno, Nevada for example. NBCSports Bay Area broadcasts every Warriors game live to the area on basic cable. NBCSports California, which broadcasts Kings, games is unavailable. We could pay $150 for NBA League Pass, but our local games would be blacked out. Illegal streams it is! (For reference, Golden 1 Center is a 140 mile drive from Reno. The Chase Center is 235 miles)
Personal story: I work at a restaurant on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. I was programming the TVs at the bar one day when I got in to a basketball-related discussion with one of our regular patrons. She was appalled to learn that I was a big basketball fan but that I didn’t like the Warriors much. “How could you not root for the local team?!” she asked me with a passion. It took every ounce of my strength to not pull out a map of California.
This was supposed to be the year that began the change. The Warriors are not the dominant title contender that they once were. The mighty dynasty has suffered a dent in their armor, and the Sacramento Kings looked poised to make a run at once again becoming Northern California’s most popular team.
The ugly, dismal 0-3 hole that the Kings find themselves in is not going to help their bid. A child whose father convinced him to wear his new De’Aaron Fox jersey while sitting down and watching a game with his old man is subject to sloppy basketball, amateur turnovers, and 30-point deficits. That is certainly no way to gain fans or supporters. They’d rather be watching Steph Curry knock down 35-footers with ease. I honestly don’t blame them.
So the Kings better turn it around, and quickly. They don’t even have to win games — we’ve stuck with the team through 25-win seasons and endless draft lottery appearances. They just have to show some heart. They have to show some fight. They have to show that they care, because we fans certainly care.
Maybe a little too much.