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RIP Marty McNeal

The Kings family has lost a great one.

Former Sacramento Bee Kings beat writer Marty McNeal passed away today at 64 after battling with leukemia.  Anyone who grew up with the Kings likely read his work, heard his distinct voice during postgame scrums, or in recent years, saw him on Twitter.

I honestly struggled knowing what to write about this. Sometimes basketball seems so unimportant when compared to real life. This is obviously one of those moments.

Several members of Sacramento media voiced their condolences on the loss of Marty. 

 

I am not going to sit here and tell you that Marty and I were best friends, but I had the privilege of getting to know him a little bit through Twitter. He would hop in my mentions, argue with me about DeMarcus Cousins or whatever insane rambling I was cooking up, and jokingly berate my friend John (@heuristiclineup) and I as we got into one of our petty little arguments and call us crazy. I am going to miss getting called a crazy fool by this man.

What you saw was what you got with Marty. I had the privilege of meeting him briefly at a Kings game a few years ago. I was still relatively new to Sactown Royalty, and when someone I had known about for most of my life came up to me, smiled, and said, €œYou must be The Real Brad G,€ I got irrationally excited.

Marty was a great writer and a non-stop source of entertainment for anyone who came across him. He never beat around the bush. Whether this meant correcting folks on Twitter or calling into local radio shows to spar with the hosts, Marty wanted the world to know exactly where he stood on things. The world could use a little more of that right now.

Everyone was Marty's €˜dawg.' It was one of those things that just felt good when it happened to you. It almost felt like you made it when the man you always liked growing up directed it at you.

Rest in peace to a man who was important to so many Kings fans growing up. I'm going to miss our interactions, and I am sure there are many others who feel the same way. 

Be sure to also read the loving tribute Marcos Breton wrote in the Sacramento Bee for some more great stories about Marty.

UPDATE 3:30 PM:

Vlade Divac and the Kings released the following statement:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. ---- Today, Sacramento Kings General Manager Vlade Divac issued the following statement on the passing of Martin McNeal, the team's beat writer for The Sacramento Bee from 1992 to 2005:

€œI am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of my friend Marty Mac. I'll never forget his incredible sense of humor and he will be forever remembered as a truly iconic figure in both the Sacramento and national media landscape.

€œMarty possessed a unique storytelling ability unlike any other, as he tirelessly covered our team and this franchise during countless memorable moments, including some of the best years of my career. He had a magnetic personality, fiercely loved the game and was a legendary writer that inspired and entertained readers of all ages. He was also a beloved mentor and loyal friend to many, as well as a loving husband and father who will be greatly missed.

€œOn behalf of the entire Kings organization, I want to express our deepest condolences to his wife Beverly, son Phillip, and the entire McNeal family as we keep them all in our hearts, thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.€

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Aykis16
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Nostradumbass 13
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Nostradumbass 13
May 21, 2020 12:26 pm

Shared this on Twitter, but Marty was one of the first members of the local media I interacted with when I first started covering the Kings for StR. I remember going to a pre-draft workout at the old Practice Facility in Natomas and he saw me and asked “Who you with?” and I told him “Sactown Royalty”. “Man they let just about anybody in here now huh? Y’all write some funny shit though.” He was a huge personality and I enjoyed my interactions with him over the years. Rest in Peace Marty Mac.

Otis
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May 21, 2020 12:26 pm

So sad. RIP, Marty Mac.

kfipp
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May 21, 2020 12:35 pm

This is horrible news. Marty was so funny and just a genuinely nice man. If you met him ONCE, he remembered your name.

RIP, Marty

Greg
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May 21, 2020 12:38 pm

Tremendously sad news. Such a fun guy to talk to.

HeuristicLineup
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May 21, 2020 12:46 pm

😆 😆 😆 Ya, he would constantly ask the two of us what was wrong with us. Truly is sad news today 🙁 I was hoping he was going to pull through

Kosta
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May 21, 2020 12:53 pm

I really enjoyed reading his articles on The Bee back in the day. I remember him hyping the newly drafted Jason Williams’ court-moves as having as much soul as The Notorious B.I.G. (paraphrasing from memory).

I wish he could’ve been around to see a Sacramento Kings revival. It’s great to see all the love from Sacramento’s sports media personalities paying their respects and sharing their stories.

Rest in peace, Mr. McNeal. <3

rockbottom
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May 21, 2020 1:01 pm

A much loved writer and person ! Was truly one of a kind ! Sad day but hope he has the peace, joy and love he deserves !😏👩€¤ï¸€ðŸ‘¨

MichaelMack
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May 21, 2020 1:22 pm

This is a sad day. What a character he was.

BradMillersDipCup
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May 21, 2020 1:41 pm

RIP to a real one

deltarich
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May 21, 2020 2:39 pm

This year sucks. RIP

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
May 21, 2020 2:44 pm

Man, 2020 just sucks. RIP Marty.

Dub_TC
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May 21, 2020 3:14 pm

It’s funny, when I think of Marty Mac, I think of 1140, not the Sac Bee! RIP Marty, you were one of a kind!

congraved
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May 21, 2020 3:49 pm

Damn. This one hurts. Marty was one of a kind.

RobHessing
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May 21, 2020 5:45 pm

RIP Marty Mac. Too young, but heaven just got a little bit looser.

Carl
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May 21, 2020 6:56 pm

I never met Marty, but I got to know Bev a little many years ago, and my clear memory of her even now is that she was one the nicest and most genuinely dedicated people I knew. Sincerest condolences to Bev to and the entire McNeal family for their loss.

catterj
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May 21, 2020 9:18 pm

His beat reporting was one of the primary ways I kept up with the team in my childhood before social media. I loved that article from Breton. RIP Marty.

richie88
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May 21, 2020 11:03 pm

Oof. RIP.

Kingsguru21
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May 22, 2020 7:27 am

RIP.

Otis
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May 22, 2020 7:37 am

Damn, Jerry Sloan passed as well. RIP, coach.

Carl
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May 22, 2020 9:10 am
Reply to  Otis

Jerry Sloan always struck me as too tough to die. RIP. Death better watch his back!

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