April 28th, 2006 Kevin Martin sprints down the floor and lays in the game winner at the buzzer against the one seed Spurs. The atmosphere in Arco Arena was electric, the sound, deafening, the feeling, proud. I was at that game. It was an experience matched by few.
Two days later the Kings would beat the Spurs again. This would be the last game the Kings would win in the playoffs, and 2006 marked the year of a drought. This was the last year of the great Rick Adelman who had led those Kings through the glory days in the early 2000’s. Nine coaches have taken reign in these 12 seasons since, each one failing the goal of what all Kings fans dream of, a playoff birth.
Today we reminisce about our golden years headlined by Chris Webber, Mike Bibby and the rest of that amazing squad in the early 2000’s. We continue to argue and believe that we were cheated in game six of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Even though the best days seem in the past, none of us have given up hope or love for our dear Kings.
I’ve lived through a 17 win season. Watched in horror as bankrupted owners drove our team into the ground. But after every nightmare and every test, the Kings fan base has stood strong. Not even a relocation could not break us down. Instead we all united and made sure the Kings would never leave our cow town of Sacramento.
Every game I have been to since 2006, with an exception for the late Maloof era, has been an amazing experience to be a part of. Even when we lose by 30, which seems to happen too often. Yes we would love to win but having our team is just as important to us as having a banner in the rafters.
We might bash on our Kings. Its hard not to in this troublesome period of our franchise. But if a Warriors “fan” in Norcal starts talking mess about our team then we will defend drafting Jimmer Fredette to the ends of the earth. We are a loyal fan base. You don’t know proud until you feel like you’ve lost everything but still remain thankful and faithful.
With the Demarcus Cousins’ era fortunately behind us now, the Kings future has looked its brightest since the days of our fab five. I am looking forward to watching De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Buckets, Bogdan Bogdanovic and company lead the Kings to the holy land in the upcoming years. Now with a stable coach in Dave Joerger and loads of talent I don’t see failing as an option.
But even if they don’t workout, which will never happen, but hypothetically they don’t, we will still love and adore our Kings like they are title contenders every year. Yes we might root for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006. Whose previous owners betrayed us. Who fire their coach every two years and come from one of the smallest markets in sports. That doesn’t stop us from wearing our Jason Williams jerseys or sporting purple.
I am eager to hear the roar of the crowd like I did that one night in 2006. Truly, I don’t think that is too far away. There is so much hope and so much pride in this organization we are only destined to succeed.