Kings fans stick around after final game of the season

Kings fans just don't want to say goodbye

4/18/13 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

The Kings-Clippers game last night may have been the final Kings game ever.  Every Sacramento sports fan was there, emotionally if not physically.  Apr 17, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings fans Peter Masih (left) and Bik Dosanjh (right) hold up signs before the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Sleep Train Arena. The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Sacramento Kings 112-108. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Board of Governors is meeting today and tomorrow and basketball fans in Sacramento and Seattle expected to have an answer about the Kings future by the end of the meetings.  But we have since learned that a resolution is still weeks away and the vote is expected to take place in early May. 

The Clippers won the game and DeMarcus Cousins had one of the best statistical games of his career, but none of that really mattered.  What mattered was that a crowd stayed in the stands for over an hour, chanting "HERE WE STAY" and singing "Don't Stop Believing" completely on their own. What mattered was that this fan base, in the midst of an excruciating and never-ending relocation debacle, waited around to show their love for the team.

You wouldn't fault Kings fans for losing hope a few months ago or even a few years ago.  It wouldn't have been shocking if the fans felt defeated after the Maloofs reached a deal with the Seattle-based ownership group.  But the fans kept showing up, voicing their opinions, and giving their mayor all the political support he needed to focus his attention on keeping the Kings in town.  There's no doubt that the mayor would not have spent so much time and energy on this (and some argue he shouldn't have regardless) without so much popular support.

Last night was a vacation from the anger and frustration that has enveloped those of us that have watched this drama unfold.  Of course the thought of it actually being the final Kings game is sad, but last night wasn't sad.  Last night was a celebration.  Kings fans celebrated all the joy they've shared over the decades and we celebrated the fighting spirit and communal love that make sports special.  Passionate fans aren't unique to Sacramento but last night was Sacramento's chance to show the world just how passionate and how resilient they are.

I have no clue what the NBA is going to decide.  What I do know is this: if the Sacramento group prevails, Kevin Johnson deserves a statue outside the new arena and the Sacramento fans that hung in there through all the uncertainty and anxiety deserve a chance to actually talk about basketball for a change.

So keep your heads up, Kings fans.  You've done your part.  You didn't lie down and take it.  And when the day came when you were supposed to say a solemn goodbye to your team for good, you sang songs and said "see you later" instead.  
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