Last Thursday, Phil and I, along with our Buddy Nez, attended the rally celebrating of our beloved Sacramento Kings staying in town for at least the next 35 years. I say 35 years because that will be the lease on the new building, but they will be in Sacramento for as long as I am alive. And the way I live, if I live 35 years, that will be an accomplishment, so let’s just call it a a wash. The picture at the left is what was on the ground as we entered the park.
As a stay home dad, I had the luxury of not being required to request time off of work to make it to the rally. As a parent, required to take care of two children, I was completely dependent on my wife to get off of work before I could go. Luckily, she works five minutes from a Sacramento Rapid Transit station.
So Nez and I meet up and take the light rail from our area down towards Phil, who lives minutes from the park. Yeah, he lives where all the action happens. But, on the plus side, he didn’t get to pre-game the whole way there. That’s Nez on the left, me on the Right. The ride took about 45 minutes and we met a ton of people who were going to the rally. Just proves there are Kings fans EVERYWHERE.
When we got off the train, we found the end of the line to get into the park. I know what you’re thinking. A line to get into a park? Yeah, but they were wanding everyone, so that’s the way it had to be. I get it. The line was wrapped around four blocks. It was going to take forever to get into the park. Thank God for Phil! He was standing in line with a few of his buddies and a few minutes later when we navigated the downtown labyrinth, we found him!! We were in within 30 seconds.
After grabbing our wristbands, and another couple of beers, we found a good, but not great place to watch the festivities. I wanted to walk around, so Nez and I took off leaving Phil behind. And I am so glad we did We got our Kings signs at the 102.5 booth, and the News 10 booths, but it was after this that the action really picked up!!! Beers in hand, we are making our way through the crowds and I spot a man wearing a suit. Completely out of place in a setting like this. Its a sea of purple, white and black. This guy has to be someone important. Sure enough, he has a VIP badge on. I see the name on the VIP Badge. Nez has no idea who it is. Luckily for us, I pay attention to Kings news. And I know that we are about to meet….
Chris Kelly! And he was incredibly cool. Granted, it seemed like no one recognized him, as people were passing him by left and right. But I was sooooo happy to know who he was. For those who don’t know, Chris Kelly is the former CFO of Facebook, and one of the big BIG members of the new Kings ownership group. As you can see, he was more than gracious. Shaking hands, taking pictures. I mean, that’s obviously what he was there to do, being as he was in the area of the regular folk like me, but still, I must admit, I was pretty star struck to see Kelly. And I don’t get star struck around celebrities. Not that I see celebrities often. But when I do, I don’t care. I mean, I did give up my parking spot to Candice Bergen once, but no biggie.
The rest of the night as you can see from the pictures below was just an amazing night to be a Kings fan. Maybe Phil will post his thoughts as well. Vivek Ranadive, the main owner of Kings spoke and I screamed so loud, my throat still hurts.
As the night drew to a close, we found one more thing to take a picture with that I couldn’t pass up. For a month, local hero, Carmichael Dave, took two of his friends on a trek across the country spreading the gospel of the Kings. They called it the Playing to Win Tour. They were trapped in an RV, travelling from NBA city to city getting fans, executives, even the Oklahoma City mayor to sign the RV supporting us. The RV ended up in NYC for the relocation committee vote, and eventually back at the rally. Well, I had to pose with it.
Former Kings greats where there, from Mitch Richmond, to Chris Webber. Bobby Jackson to Scot Pollard. Unfortunately, from where we were standing, we didn’t have the best shots of the stage. But for those who were there, it was a night they will never forget. Those who missed it will hear about it for a long time. Because we all know it’s all about the pictures and the memories that we share as friends. And I know that I can go up to any of the 15,000 people who were there and have a conversation about it like we were old friends.
Like this video says, long live the memories. And long live the Kings.