Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
Posts tagged "Sacramento Kings"


Well, I had a devastatingly bitter post-mortum analysis planned for that match (mostly a rant about how often Arsenal seem to have their heads up their asses), but my Gunners pulled it out in that last 15 minutes for a draw, so I would like to extend a warm hand of sportsmanship to deadpresidents and simply say “Suck it.”

My attachment to Everton is a grand total of 8 days old and they have already allowed late goals in both games so far to deny themselves outright wins. If any of my readers have been lifelong, die-hard Everton fans, I apologize for carrying over my sports curse and turning the team into the Sacramento Kings/Oakland Raiders of the Premier League. Before I choose a club in La Liga, I should allow people to make donations so they can pay me to root for a team other than theirs.

For the past three or four years, I’ve been going back-and-forth about which Premier League team I want to become a supporter of. Since I didn’t grow up with a favorite soccer team and have no connection to England, I’m not predisposed to vote for a certain club for one reason or another, so it has been difficult to decide. More importantly, I’ve spent my life passionately supporting two professional sports teams that haven’t exactly brought me season-after-season of happiness: the Sacramento Kings and the Oakland Raiders. So, if I’m going to finally throw my support behind a Premier League club, I’d like to choose one that isn’t going to break my heart for the rest of my life like the Kings and Raiders have done for the first 34 years of it (and will likely continue to do if the past is any example).

Since I started watching the Premier League regularly, I’ve jumped around with a few teams — Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, and Aston Villa, but I’m finally ready to make my choice. After careful consideration, and to show my appreciation for American hero Tim Howard, my official Premier League team will be Everton!

So, kick ass Everton, and for any of you that might be longtime Everton fans, let me just say that I’m sorry to come aboard the bandwagon because if my track record as a sports fan is any indication, the club will likely be playing in League Two by the end of the decade. I’m sure die-hard Everton fans will be thrilled when my support results in the club becoming the Sacramento Kings of English soccer. Or worse, the Oakland Raiders. Sorry.

Asker atinyripple Asks:
Are you excited about the new downtown arena being built?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Absolutely. I’m excited about the prospect of a new arena being built in the heart of downtown Sacramento because I’m positive it will revitalize a part of the city that badly needs it and that could truly be a fantastic area. Downtown Sacramento is so pedestrian-friendly and capable of being a great destination for visitors and tourists that I think the new Kings arena is undoubtedly going to be an economic boost and the type of project that takes Sacramento to another level — a place that it should be considering the size of the city. That’s something that a lot of people tend to be surprised by when they visit Sacramento — they don’t recognize how big of a city it actually is, and a vibrant entertainment district downtown that gives those restaurants and bars and clubs and other businesses a reason to be open past the early evening when the government employees head home will raise Sacramento’s profile.

Plus, the renderings of the new arena look really cool, and keeping the Kings in Sacramento helped save the soul of the city. Kevin Johnson will never have to pay for a drink in Sacramento for as long as he lives for the part he played in saving the Kings. KJ was a star in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns and never played for the Kings, but for what Mayor Johnson did for the city, the Kings should retire his jersey number as a tribute anyway.  

So, yes, I’m definitely excited, and I’m happy that I’m back home in Sacramento to see the construction of the new arena and the evolution of my city.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I don't want to be ignorant but who is Adam silver? I don't follow nba and have been to disgusted to keep up with this "scandal"
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Adam Silver is the Commissioner of the NBA. He replaced longtime Commissioner David Stern in February and, in just three days, did what Stern should have done 30 years ago — banned disgusting Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, fined him the maximum amount allowed under NBA rules ($2.5 million), and basically said that he’ll be doing everything possible to force Sterling to sell the Clippers. Sterling owns the team but can’t go to games, transact team business, contact Clippers employees, go the any team facilities, or have any connection with any aspect of the NBA — the Commissioner did everything short of taking away Sterling’s television (which I’d say is definitely not a color TV, but I can’t imagine him having something black and white in his home, either) and raiding his closet for Clippers gear.

Silver acted decisively and has shown great leadership. As ugly as Sterling’s comments and this whole mess has been this weekend, it’s been awesome seeing the pride of the NBA players, coaches, other owners, and Commissioner. The only disgusting thing here is Sterling; I’m proud to be an NBA fan this week even though I’m still bothered by the fact that my Sacramento Kings were robbed of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

Asker calispeaks Asks:
All presidential politics aside. What's your thoughts on the Sacramento Kings, new owners and plan for new arena? Oh and when are you coming out here for a game? Lol.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

What’s up, little brother?!  Our birthdays are coming up.  (Calispeaks is my “little brother” because we were born one day apart in the same year — 1992, ahem.)

I’m getting my news from a distance, but from everything I hear, Vivek Ranadive, the new owner of the Kings, has been incredible.  I love the dude’s creativity and enthusiasm.  And I was pleasantly surprised to read Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath, which spends the first chapter focusing on how Vivek found what works to his advantage to find success (not with the Kings, FYI) against the odds.  I’m very thankful for Vivek Ranadive, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and NBA Commissioner David Stern — they not only saved the Kings, but they saved the city of Sacramento.

From what I’ve heard of the arena plan, I’m excited.  I really hope it revitalizes downtown, which has so much potential and has been such a disappointment for so long.  I’m getting local, but it’s surprising that the sites that have always been rumored for a new arena — the railyards and Cal Expo — were passed over for Downtown Plaza.  But it makes a lot of sense because it could turn K Street into something really special and Old Sacramento could be reborn.  (By the way, I always thought the former McClellan Air Force Base was the perfect spot for an arena.  Cleanup of the site would be tough, but it would be the best place in the city when it comes to traffic on gameday from every direction.)

I don’t know when I’m coming back!  I need to visit.  I miss everybody and I miss my city.  I miss walking around Capitol Park, grabbing some food at the Esquire Grill, or sitting in the lobby of the Sheraton Grand and drinking like a gentleman.  Honestly, I’d love to see another game in ARCO Arena (I’m not calling it by its new name) before it closes.  I’ll miss that place, especially since we (me and you) had the run of it so many times when the Monarchs were playing!  Are there plans to bring the Monarchs back?  Little known fact: everyone’s favorite Tumblr Presidential historian (that’s me, I hope) was a huge fan of the WNBA when the Sacramento Monarchs were in the league and rarely missed a game.

I miss you, Cali!  The state and my friend.  We’ll catch up on the phone sometime soon.

I’ve been dealt a rather unfortunate hand when it comes to my favorite sports teams because, with a few heartbreaking exceptions, they’ve completely sucked during my adult life.

My favorite football team is the Oakland Raiders.  I’ve been a Raiders fan since I was a little kid, which almost led me to be cast out of my family.  Everyone else in my family — on every branch of every side of my family tree —are die-hard San Francisco 49ers fans.  My grandfather used to be a season ticket-holder to the Niners and even built a room in his home that was known as the “49er Room”.  Basically, it was a precursor to what is now homoerotically referred to as a “mancave”.  My grandfather’s 49er Room was full of memorabilia and was where he watched the 49ers after he gave up his season tickets, drank Olympia beer out of his mini-fridge, and teased me unmercifully because the 49ers were so good and the Raiders were so not very good in the late-80s and early-90s,

The Sacramento Kings are my favorite NBA team.  I have some great memories of attending Kings games at ARCO Arena — both when they sucked and during the early-2000s when they were robbed of an NBA Championship.  Of course, now they suck again, but I’m just happy that they are staying in Sacramento.  I was lucky enough to see some great games and some legendary players.  The highlight was seeing the Kings play the Chicago Bulls during the season that the Bulls went 72-10.  It wasn’t easy getting tickets to that game, but I can always tell the grandchildren that I’ll never have that I saw that Bulls team featuring Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman.  Plus, I saw some heated battles between the Kings and the Lakers when they had the best rivalry in the league, and I saw the first regular season game in the career of LeBron James

I’ve never been a fan of baseball or hockey, so I can’t say that I favor any teams.  I’ve actually never been to a hockey game, but I’d love to check it out sometime.  I always meant to go to a Sharks game in San Jose when I lived in Sacramento, but never did.  Now that I live near St. Louis maybe I can take in a Blues game sometime.  I’ve been to baseball games in Oakland, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and St. Louis, but there isn’t any team that I have ever had real interest in.  When I was a little kid, I liked the A’s because of Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Walt Weiss, etc, because the “Bash Brothers” were cool at the time, but I doubt that I even had an Oakland A’s t-shirt or hat.  I just liked collecting their baseball cards.

I’m actually not even that big of a fan of going to baseball games.  If it’s a stadium that I’ve never been to, I’ll go just for that experience, but I get really bored at baseball games.  It’s just too ponderous.  People-watching at baseball games can be fun, but not usually for nine innings.  The exception would probably be going to Giants games in San Francisco because Pac Bell or AT&T Park (I forget what it is now) is such a beautiful setting that I would just enjoy sitting in the stands and watching the bay all day.  

By the way, just to kinda, sorta connect this with Presidents, in August 2007 I went to the initial Camp Obama training at the Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco.  The only thing more ponderous than a baseball game was 13 hours each day of Camp Obama training.  It just so happened that my friend Sarah, who I actually just met that weekend, had been given tickets to a Giants game by her boss.  The game was scheduled in the early afternoon of the first full day of the Camp Obama training.  Being the responsible campaign workers that we were, Sarah and I decided that we would take an extended lunch break and take advantage of the awesome seats that she had.  So, we skipped out and spent a couple hours at the Giants game!  When we returned to the Longshoreman’s Hall, some of our fellow campers were quite unhappy with us.  Sarah was pretty safe from rebuke because she had just recently volunteered, but I was supposedly a leader, so some of the higher-ups in the campaign were mean-mugging me for the rest of the weekend (Hey, we still won the election!).  The crazy thing was that we still had several hours left to go once we returned from the game!  I mean, we were wiped out from the training once it ended for the day despite the fact that we checked out for several hours and went to a baseball game in the beautiful, crisp, sunny weather of an August day in San Francisco!  It probably didn’t help that we drank so much the night before (that’s what you do when you work on campaigns) that we were still drunk through most of that Saturday.  Anyway, the point is that I don’t have a favorite baseball team, but Giants games in San Francisco are a wonderful experience and bring back fun memories.  

Oh, and I don’t get to watch it often enough, but I love soccer and decided on Sporting Kansas City as my favorite team in MLS.  I wish I lived a little closer to Kansas City so that I could make it out to some of their games.  From what I’ve seen, they have a pretty sweet soccer-specific stadium, too.  Since it looks like a pretty good possibility that one of the expansion teams that MLS plans to add by 2024 will be Sacramento, I’ll probably change allegiance out of hometown loyalty, but until then, Sporting KC will work.

A Tale of Two Cities.

Asker wwoo Asks:
Hey Anthony, love the work that you do, but I will have to disagree with the comment that you made that "Both Sacramento and Seattle deserve an NBA franchise. Both cities have shown that they can support their NBA teams. " Since 2008, The Kings have had at least the 4th lowest attendance or worse and have been in the bottom 3rd for attendance% in those years. I obviously don't know how much the kings mean to the city from a social level but economically, i would disagree that sac deserves ateam
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Sacramento has two out of the five longest sellout streaks in NBA history — the Kings have sold out all 41 home games in Sacramento for 19 out of their 28 seasons in California.  And many of those seasons were when the Kings were absolutely dreadful — the Mitch Richmond, Lionel Simmons, Wayman Tisdale, Olden Polynice era.  

Since 2008, the attendance has dropped mostly because the Maloofs turned into the worst owners in the NBA and actively seemed to be destroying basketball in Sacramento.  Plus, Sacramento was in the midst of an economic crisis that was even worsw than the national crisis.  The unemployment average and home foreclosure rates in Sacramento were significantly higher than the average throughout the nation.  And during that time, not only did the Kings have really bad teams and no star player to market, but the Maloofs continued raising ticket prices.  When ticket prices were lowered, the fans started filling ARCO Arena again.  

And I hate to pick on Seattle because I truly do believe they deserve an NBA team, but during the 23 seasons that there were NBA teams in Sacramento and Seattle (1985-2008), the Kings averaged better attendance than the Sonics in 20 of the seasons, even though the Sonics usually had far better teams.  During that time, the Kings sold out every game for 19 seasons; the Sonics sold out every game in just 6 seasons.  It’s also worth pointing out that throughout the 3-year-long saga that has seen the Maloofs doing everything they can to get the Kings out of Sacramento, fans continued coming to games and showing their love for the team.  During the Sonics last two seasons in Key Arena (basketball capacity: 17,072) fans in Seattle didn’t exactly show up in droves to express their support.  In 2006-2007, the Sonics averaged 15,955 each home game.  In their final season in Seattle, 2007-2008, the Sonics averaged 13,355 fans per game — leaving nearly 4,000 empty seats every single night.  I know that Seattle fans were pissed about having a lame-duck team that was packed for Oklahoma City, but I’m just saying: that wouldn’t have happened in Sacramento.  Hell, it didn’t happen in Sacramento — and the Kings looked like a lame-duck team in 2011 AND 2013.

For a Sacramento native 2,000 miles away from home, that’s a beautiful headline.

Also: Kevin Johnson for President.

"I’m not sure whether Sacramento or Seattle will wind up with the Kings but I do know this: Unless there is expansion, one city is going to feel cheated — and justifiably so.  Which means some other NBA city better keep their hands on their wallets."

I also don’t understand why the NBA hasn’t simply decided to grant Seattle an expansion team and keep the Kings in Sacramento.  Each respective city has a strong ownership group willing to put up half of a billion dollars respectively, the NBA and each of its team owners would share an expansion fee, the awful Maloof family will go back to their beer distributorship in Albuquerque and stop ruining basketball in Sacramento, an instant rivalry between the Kings and the reborn Sonics will be created, and fans will be happy in two cities that have proven themselves to be fantastic basketball towns.

Both Sacramento and Seattle deserve an NBA franchise.  Both cities have shown that they can support their NBA teams.  As a basketball fan, I hope that the NBA does the right thing for both cities.  As a native Sacramentan, I can’t even fully express how much the Kings mean to our city, which has been one of the hardest hit major American cities during the economic crisis.  I don’t live in Sacramento anymore, but I’ll always be from the 916 and I can’t stress it enough:  we need that team.  Let’s hope that the NBA does the right thing and the smart thing for Sacramento and Seattle next week.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
When was the last visit you made to your hometown and what do you miss if there is anything that you miss about Sacramento.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

The last time I was in Sacramento was when I moved, so it’s been since June 2010.

There are definitely some things that I miss.  I love living where I am now where it’s rural and quiet and calm.  I don’t ever miss hearing helicopters and sirens like I did every night for the first 30 years of my life.  That was the most surprising thing that I noticed when I moved to Austin.  I thought those were just the noises that you hear in every large city, but then I moved to Austin and it was quiet and I realized that what I was used to in Sacramento was not normal.  (Other than the LBJ Library, I don’t miss a single thing from my one miserable year in Austin, by the way)

Maybe I should just answer your question and get back to what I do miss about Sacramento.

Of course, I miss the weather.  The weather here in Missouri is exponentially better than it was in Austin, but there’s nothing better than those summer nights in Sacramento where the temperature drops down to 65 degrees even though it was 105 during the day and that beautiful Delta breeze comes off of the river.  Once I moved out of Sacramento (and California overall, really), I realized that I took the great weather for granted since I had lived there all my life.

I miss Capitol Park.  I loved taking a book and just chilling somewhere in Capitol Park under one of the scores of various species of trees planted in the park because so many trees from around the world can thrive in Sacramento’s climate.  Or just walked around Capitol Park after catching dinner somewhere downtown.  I really miss getting a nice cigar from Rodney’s or the tobacco shop on Front Street in Old Sac, and enjoying it while walking and talking with a friend along the palm-lined sidewalks surrounding the Capitol.  Or strolling through Capitol Park with a girl, looking at the monuments and the orange trees, and showing her where, if you stand just right, you can peek into the Governor’s first-floor corner office and sometimes see the Governor sitting at his desk.

I miss Round Table Pizza and Pizza Guys.  There’s a 40% chance that I’ll move back to Sacramento just because I can’t live much longer without having Round Table or, if I don’t want to spend as much money, Pizza Guys.  I can’t believe Round Table isn’t a national chain.  The rest of this country is missing out.  If everyone had Round Table Pizza, we would all be happy and prosperous and there would be peace in the Middle East.

I miss having a nice, stiff drink and lounging around like a gentleman in the bar in the lobby of the Sheraton Grand.  Or having a pricey, tasty margarita in the bar of the Delta King.  Or having a lot of cheap, tasty margaritas at Chevy’s on the River.

I miss Time Tested Books on 21st Street in Midtown and the piles of used books at the Book Nook on Madison Avenue where I found some real treasures over the years.

I miss going to Sacramento Kings games and lunch at the Esquire Grill.  I miss being so close to San Francisco and the coast as well as Reno, Tahoe, and the Sierra.

I miss living within walking distance of a Trader Joe’s.  I miss Temple Coffee House on 9th Street, and I’m pissed because they waited until I moved and then opened a new location in my old neighborhood!

There are probably some more things, but those are what I think about from time-to-time.  Except for both Round Table Pizza and Pizza Guys, which I usually think about for an average of no less than three hours each day.  Despite the things that I miss, I’m still very happy to be where I am and doing what I am doing.  The only time I consider moving back to Sacramento is when I want pizza, so I think that’s a good sign.

Shit, now I’m hungry.

Asker lenxo Asks:
Why are you so bitter about 2000 wcf? The Lakers just knew how to win as opposed to Sacramento.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

How can I ban you?  I don’t care how often you support my stuff, you’re getting banned for that Lakers comment.

It was the 2002 Western Conference Finals, and what I’m bitter about is the officiating that ROBBED the Sacramento Kings of their championship!  Yes, it still hurts!

If you recall, the officiating was so bad during that series, former Presidential candidate Ralph Nader (SEE…I tied this in with the Presidents), wrote this letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern:

June 4, 2002

Commissioner David J. Stern
National Basketball Association
Olympic Tower, 656 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Dear Mr. Stern,

At a time when the public’s confidence is shaken by headlines reporting the breach of trust by corporate executives, it is important, during the public’s relaxation time, for there to be maintained a sense of impartiality and professionalism in commercial sports performances. That sense was severely shaken in the now notorious officiating during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings.

Calls by referees in the NBA are likely to be more subjective than in professional baseball or football. But as the judicious and balanced Washington Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon wrote this Sunday, too many of the calls in the fourth quarter (when the Lakers received 27 foul shots) were “stunningly incorrect,” all against Sacramento. After noting that the three referees in Game 6 “are three of the best in the game,” he wrote: “I have never seen officiating in a game of consequence as bad as that in Game 6….When Pollard, on his sixth and final foul, didn’t as much as touch Shaq. Didn’t touch any part of him. You could see it on TV, see it at courtside. It wasn’t a foul in any league in the world. And Divac, on his fifth foul, didn’t foul Shaq. They weren’t subjective or borderline or debatable. And these fouls not only resulted in free throws, they helped disqualify Sacramento’s two low-post defenders.” And one might add, in a 106-102 Lakers’ victory, this officiating took away what would have been a Sacramento series victory in 6 games.

This was not all. The Kobe Bryant elbow in the nose of Mike Bibby, who after lying on the floor groggy, went to the sideline bleeding, was in full view of the referee, who did nothing, prompted many fans to start wondering about what was motivating these officials.

Wilbon discounted any conspiracy theories about the NBA-NBC desire for a Game 7 etc., but unless the NBA orders a review of this game’s officiating, perceptions and suspicions, however presently absent any evidence, will abound and lead to more distrust and distaste for the games in general. When the distinguished basketball writer for the USA Today, David DuPree, can say: “I’ve been covering the NBA for 30 years, and it’s the poorest officiating in an important game I’ve ever seen,” when Wilbon writes that “The Kings and Lakers didn’t decide this series would be extended until Sunday; three referees did…” when many thousands of fans, not just those in Sacramento, felt that merit lost to bad refereeing, you need to take notice beyond the usual and widespread grumbling by fans and columnists about referees ignoring the rule book and giving advantages to home teams and superstars.

Your problem in addressing the pivotal Game 6 situation is that you have too much power. Where else can decision-makers (the referees) escape all responsibility to admit serious and egregious error and have their bosses (you) fine those wronged (the players and coaches) who dare to speak out critically?

In a February interview with David DuPree of USA Today, he asked you “Why aren’t coaches and players allowed to criticize the referees?” You said, “…we don’t want people questioning the integrity of officials. …It just doesn’t pay for us to do anything other than focus people on the game itself rather than the officiating.” “Integrity” which we take you to mean “professionalism” of the referees has to be earned and when it is not, it has to be questioned. You and your league have a large and growing credibility problem. Referees are human and make mistakes, but there comes a point that goes beyond any random display of poor performance. That point was reached in Game 6 which took away the Sacramento Kings Western Conference victory.

It seems that you have a choice. You can continue to exercise your absolute power to do nothing. Or you can initiate a review and if all these observers and fans turn out to be right, issue, together with the referees, an apology to the Sacramento Kings and forthrightly admit decisive incompetence during Game 6, especially in the crucial fourth quarter.

You should know, however, that absolute power, if you choose the former course of inaction, invites the time when it is challenged and changed ý whether by more withdrawal of fans or by more formal legal or legislative action. No government in our country can lawfully stifle free speech and fine those who exercise it; the NBA under present circumstances can both stifle and fine players and coaches who speak up. There is no guarantee that this tyrannical status quo will remain stable over time, should you refuse to bend to reason and the reality of what occurred. A review that satisfies the fans’ sense of fairness and deters future recurrences would be a salutary contribution to the public trust that the NBA badly needs.

We look forward to your considered response.


Ralph Nader
P.O. Box 19312 
Washington, DC 20036

Shawn McCarthy
League of Fans
P.O. Box 19367 
Washington, DC 20036


League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to encourage social & civic responsibility in sports industry & culture.