Bruce Maiman

Viewpoints: Kings leaving? Some of us are so over that

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 11A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 2, 2013 - 11:39 am

There's a classic Internet meme drawn from the Hollywood Western, "Tombstone," the film portraying the conflict between the Earps and the Clantons, and the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

As retribution for Clanton gang members killed at the O.K., Wyatt Earp's brothers are ambushed: Morgan is killed, Virgil is maimed. The despondent Earps leave the growing mining town of Tombstone where they had aspired to retire.

Before the wagons pull out, Wyatt, wanting to make a reluctant peace, turns to Clanton gang members who are gleefully gathered to watch the Earps leave and has a sparse exchange with gang leader Curly Bill Brocius:

Wyatt: I want you to know it's over.

Curly Bill: Well … bye.

That's pretty much my feeling about the Maloofs and the Sacramento Kings.

Just as yet another dangling story of a potential exodus tanked – Virginia, in that case – a new Mayflower moment surfaced early Wednesday: The Maloofs are reported to be finalizing an agreement to sell the team to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

"The deal will sell the Kings for approximately $500 million, with the Seattle group seeking relocation to Key Arena for the 2013-14 season," Yahoo News' Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Twitter.

Hansen has long been at the center of bringing the NBA back to Seattle, having proposed building a $490 million arena in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood south of Safeco Field, with taxpayers financing about $200 million of the deal.

The Kings' move to Seattle reportedly has the support of the NBA. One Seattle sports announcer claimed to have spoken with "a very reliable source" who texted him a one-word response to the Yahoo report: "done."

Well … bye.

If this all proves true, the Maloofs will not be missed – a disgrace to the game and an insult to Sacramento. Better they be slam-dunked into a spectator's nachos.

I feel for the still-loyal fans, like the ones who will attend tonight's game against the Dallas Mavericks. But at this point, you have to ask yourself how masochistic a fan has to be to sit in traffic to get to the whatever-they're-calling-it-these-days arena, pay the $10 to park, approach the concession stand thinking, "Can I get out for under $30," and then sit in more traffic just to get home.

Fans who were willing to endure that, month after month, season after season, along with the Maloofian soap opera, "All My Arenas," should've been getting their tickets for free by now, and a foot massage to boot.

They certainly didn't deserve the vulgar behavior of three disrespectful, self-pitying, ethically emaciated children who seemed to think the world – or at least Sacramento – owed them a living. None of us deserved that.

Sorry, fans: You won't be able to deduct the cost of your season tickets as a charitable contribution on your taxes.

For the players, little more than pawns in these sorts of ministrations, perhaps they'll finally be fortunate enough to play for some real owners.

According to Wojnarowski's sources, the Maloof brothers would retain an "extremely small percentage" of the team, "but will have no real input or say" in franchise operations.

That sounds about right: Collect a meager paycheck while someone else does the heavy lifting, sort of like, "Hey Sacramento, we need a new arena and can you pay for it?"

Well … bye.

The good news, however, is that we can now move on. It's like finally realizing that your unrequited love is going to remain unrequited, and that's not all bad.

We'll no longer have to hear pipe dreams from the Think Bankrupt people about how taking hundreds of millions of dollars from the general fund to build a new arena won't reduce services or result in an eventual increase in taxes.

No more obsessing from the mayor about turning Sacramento into a "world class" city, though he seems finally to have moved on from that fantasy. (A functioning city would be nice.) Still, how pathetic was it to learn, as The Bee reported last September, that the mayor's arena task force was funded largely by the Sacramento Kings. That's like asking the CEO of Starbucks – speaking of Seattle – whether coffee provides a health benefit.

Yeah, for his bank account maybe.

And no more of the league preying on the passions of gullible fans too emotionally involved to make a rational decision. What did the league ever care about Sacramento? It didn't need Sacramento no matter what they said about wanting to keep a team here. In the end, it was always about money, a lot of it our money.

In short: no more hucksters, shucksters, barkers, grifters, con men, pitchmen and shills.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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