California’s state capital will boast a professional sports team for at least one more season.
The whole weight of Sacramento now rests on mayor Kevin Johnson’s shoulders. It’s too bad a former Mr. Olympian is no longer in office, because this is a ton of weight to carry.
“We spent 13 years and millions of dollars to try to get an arena built,” Kings co-owner Joe Maloof told ESPN.com. “We don’t have the answer. The mayor has the answers and we’re willing and able to listen. He’s got to have a plan. We never want to be untruthful to the fans of Sacramento. There is a sense of urgency, and that’s up to Mayor Johnson and his political team.”
Failed attempts at creating a plan for a new arena in Sacramento prompted the Kings to consider relocation…to Orange County? The Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. is recently renovated with new luxury suites and planned renovations to the locker rooms in preparation for an NBA team 400 miles to the south.
A former NBA All-Star himself, Johnson attempts to mobilize a community that has not expected much from the organization over the past decade. The small market just got smaller, until it shrunk so much Maloof began to consider relocation.
The problem is that there is already a strong market, albeit a small market for the MLB’s Anaheim Angels and the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, two teams that have seen great success the past decade.
Plus you have to worry about two NBA teams that dominate the gigantic Los Angeles market 30 miles to the north. And trust me. Pretending to be part of the market by calling yourself the Los Angeles (insert here) of Anaheim doesn’t make you a part of greater Los Angeles.
The Kings are coming off a 24-58 season, and a move from one small market to another is counterproductive.
The Sacramento Kings play at worn-down Arco Arena (or whatever they call it these days), and a young-laden team has lost the loyal fan base that once permeated the building with annoying cow bells.
But the 2002 Western Conference Finals marked the end of an era, because when the Lakers defeated the Kings in game seven in Sacramento to advance to the NBA Finals, the Lakers also tore away at the arena’s infrastructure.
The Kings have not made the playoffs since, and it is now hard to believe that the Kings were once a thriving franchise in a small market that drew 494 consecutive sellout games.
In fact, the Kings have been 137-273 (.334) the past five seasons, trailing only the Timberwolves (.268) for the lowest winning percentage in that span.
A certainly far cry from winning an NBA-best 61 games during the 2001-02 season.
The bonds in Anaheim are in place, but Maloof is willing to give the Sacramento community one more shot, one more opportunity. This opportunity may only come once in a lifetime, but it will take a very loyal and committed community to pass the measures needed to fund a new arena.
Let’s just hope that if worse comes to worse and the Kings are taken from the thrown in the state capital, they don’t turn to calling themselves the Los Angeles Kings of Anaheim. Or bettter yet: my version–The Sacramento former Arco Arena cowbell slingers of the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific of Orange County Royals somewhere near the city of Los Angeles Kings…of Anaheim.