Will the Kings still be "your" NBA team if they move to Seattle?

Leading Off: If Kings do leave, pain for fans won't

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 - 5:57 pm

The Kings have played in Sacramento since 1985, more than enough years to develop a base of rabid fans, folks who have rooted for the team through the high times of the past and the lows of recent seasons.

It's those fans who dread the possibility of their team being yanked away. They've stuck by their Kings through thick and thin, proudly wearing Jason Williams and Chris Webber jerseys and displaying their Peja babushkas.

They feel betrayed by the Maloofs, the one-time semicelebrity owners who confirmed last week that they have a deal to sell to a group that intends to move the team to Seattle.

I certainly understand how they feel. I was born in Baltimore and raised with the Colts. We had services twice every Sunday during the NFL season – first at church, then either at old Memorial Stadium or in front of our TV.

I was working at the old News American in the early stages of my journalism career when Bob Irsay broke our hearts during a snowstorm at 2 a.m. on March 29, 1984. I will never forget the images of the Mayflower vans lined up to move the team to Indianapolis.

Our friend Ricig made an Irsay dummy that hung in effigy at a local pub, and the News American published a "dartboard" with Irsay's face in the middle (it was later featured on an episode of "The Wire," the Baltimore-based police drama on HBO).

We never cheered for the Colts after they moved to Indianapolis, but many old friends and family members who still live in Baltimore gradually adopted the Ravens when Art Modell moved his team from Cleveland in 1996, trying to ignore that fans in Cleveland were angry and hurt, much like they were just 12 years earlier.

If you've cheered for a team for 28 years as fans have for the Kings, it will be a sad day if they leave – and one that won't soon be forgotten.

Today's poll

Will the Kings still be "your" NBA team if they move to Seattle?

• Yes

• No

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday's results

Who was the greatest 49ers performer in the Super Bowl?

• Joe Montana: 72%

• Jerry Rice: 16%

• Roger Craig: 3%

• Steve Young: 9%

Total votes: 355

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