Marcos Breton: Time to drop the curtain on Kings drama
04/24/2013 12:00 AM
04/24/2013 7:40 AM
Like many of us, I'm ready for the Kings story to be resolved – for it to be decided whether the team is staying in Sacramento or moving to Seattle. Make a choice already. We've had it.
Right now, negotiations are going on among the NBA heavyweights and team suitors, but no one is talking and we're left to guess which way the winds are blowing.
Fed up with it, I often let my mind drift to a day when Sacramento has turned a page emotionally.
Just 10 years ago, people in Sacramento virtually trembled in fear that the slightest criticism of any Kings player – or the Kings owners – would result in the team leaving town.
These knee-jerk emotions epitomized a community with low self-esteem, a malady we can all hope we've left in the past.
I remember the bad old days well.
On Oct. 23, 2003, The Bee published the first of many critical columns I wrote about the Maloofs double-dealing with Sacramento on building a new arena.
The reaction was beyond immature. I literally had people tell me that if The Bee kept it up, the team would leave.
For several years afterward, my name was screamed in anger or denigrated by Maloof employees and flunkies on the Kings' radio station.
I looked up that old column – written when the Maloofs would not talk publicly about new arena plans – and it was really quite amusing to read. See if these decade-old words sound familiar: "After hours of blah, blah, blah – the loudest sound is silence. The silence of the Maloofs."
"We ought to drop the M from their name and call them the Aloofs. They are Aloof to our questions, aloof to our concerns and desires for a serious arena discussion. (The Maloofs) enjoy a luxury they may yet squander – the benefit of the doubt."
As we all know now, the Maloofs did squander the benefit of the doubt by running the team into the ground and trying hard to relocate the franchise.
They never really changed, but it took a decade for many Sacramentans to realize the pain they felt was the Maloofs hitting them in the head with a figurative two-by-four.
It was myopia at its worst. It was rooted in a feeling that Sacramento wasn't worthy of demanding more of these guys. It ultimately was self-defeating.
It shouldn't have taken a new team of wealthy out-of-town Kings investors to make many of us realize this is a great community.
On Tuesday, Don Garber, commissioner of Major League Soccer, tweeted me to say he was coming here to check out Sacramento in the next month.
Of course he is. Sacramento is a beautiful, desirable place to live and do business.
We can only hope that self-confidence will remain on the local landscape long after the Kings mess is settled.
About This BlogHello, my name is Marcos Breton, and I'm the news columnist with The Sacramento Bee. What's a columnist supposed to do? I'm supposed to make you think, make you laugh, make you mad or make you see an issue in a different way. I also write a weekly baseball column during the baseball season. I am a native of Northern California and the son of Mexican immigrants. I've been at The Bee for more than 20 years, and I love Sacramento.
Contact Marcos Breton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-321-1096.
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