The Sacramento Kings, winners of forty-eight games this season, are on the road to play their last game of the regular season. They play the best team in the Western Conference – both squads will likely be strategically resting their best, most important contributors. The game is a little past noon, on a weekend, on EASTER Sunday, of all days. Nothing of consequence outside of injury can come from today’s contest and I doubt many of us will be watching with the intention and purpose that most of this season has inspired out of us.
All the same, it is a Kings game and this is a preview in which I’m so blessed to write, and the last one of the regular season at that.
Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Saturday, April 9th, 12:30 PM PT
Where: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140
For Your Consideration
The Butt of the Jok’: It’s sort of a tradition for me – before starting my last preview of the season, I always find the last preview from the previous season or two, try to roll my mind back into the man, the writer, the fan I was at the closing contest of the season prior. It might be Easter, but please don’t mistake me for a spring chicken – moments of time roll together now with such ease, the world’s issues and life’s various troubles mixing memories and whole years together like they were outstretched on the arms of a taffy puller. I need to hear the man I was last year, the comments we made at the end of it all, to truly gage how far we’ve come – as an individual and a collective of individuals and hell, I’m not supposed to use ‘we’ to refer to the franchise itself, but here I go, how far the team has come too.
For posterity sake, read last season’s final preview here. Tell me how far we’ve come, the lot of us.
I left last season ready to quit. A burst of collective support in the form of charitable donations kept me from an abrupt ending in the middle of last season, but even with all the trappings of the off-season, a new head coach, a high draft pick, trades galore – I spent the months leading up to this season ready to make the above preview my final piece to you all.
I wasn’t breaking up with the Sacramento Kings, I was finally ready to put what remained of my love for them down, for good. Donate all but a hat or two to those who could still stand to watch a storm-battered boat crash against the rocks of ineptitude, give the podcast to someone far smarter, far more deserving of Jerry and Tony’s friendship, wander past G1C on game nights and slip into the theater to watch whatever schlock I convinced myself was a better waste of three hours of my evening. Like the dog you wander past that reminds you of your childhood friendship long since turned to ash in the urn on the mantle, I wanted to give the franchise, you all, and myself, the mercy of my absence.
And now, I’m here, a whole season later, in the midst of a very hectic month, with moving boxes stacked around and million other things to do on my plate, and I’m in this chair, at this desk instead, waxing poetic to you all, to all eight of you that are going to read this in the morning before this meaningless game… because, somehow, some way, I love this team.
I don’t need to list all that’s happened. I don’t have the space on this page or time in your life to give you everything that I’ve been wrong about, or how many things I feared that didn’t come to pass this season. Far better montages will be thrown up on YouTube in the months to come that can illustrate just how magical this season has been from a basketball perspective. I’ve loved every moment. I’ve been moved to tears from basketball that our team played, that the fanbase I count myself a part of cheered on. Clutch performances, gaudy stat lines, record breaking performances – for the first time in a decade plus, it was our guys they all feared. It was our team they were forced to talk about.
I don’t want to go on too long here. I give all the flowers my mind can imagine to every member of the Kings franchise this season and to everyone who believed this season before I could. My heart is weary and writing for eight-ish years about a miserable team makes it prone to pessimism. I salute you for keeping the faith, holding it high in the face of such daunting odds. I’m so glad to be wrong this season.
To all of my readers, to all of my commenters: you’re truly the lights of my life. Your poetry, your encouragement, your scorn – it all means so much. Even if life kept me from commenting when I wanted to, just know I read your words and they were very kind, or smart, or, gross. Great job regardless.
To the Kings Herald staff: all my love for a wonderful season filled with inspiration, humor and truly genius discussion at times. Words mean very little to so few, but your words mean so much to one lowly preview writer who absolutely blows chunks at original basketball thought.
Today’s the last day of the season. Usually, I write the preview, let Greg know it’s submitted and waiting for clean-up, and then I put my head in my hands for 10 minutes or so and truly wonder if all of this has been worth it. I take my partner out to dinner, apologize for the late nights and early mornings and the deep sighs of disappoint she has to endure for 82 games a year and pray she forgives me for loving such a flawed thing, just as she does.
Last night, I did all of that writing. I submitted the piece to Greg. Last night, instead of spending money on mea culpas, for the first time in my life, I bought two playoff tickets.
Dinner’s going to have to wait – our Sacramento Kings are headed to the playoffs and I have at least four more games with you.
(I can’t believe I finally get to say this…)
I’ll see you all at Game #83.
Goddamn, I’m going to cry next week aren’t I?
Kings: 120, Nuggets: 119