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A Letter to Joe and Gavin Maloof - Former Owners of the Sacramento Kings
To Joe and Gavin Maloof, former owners of the Sacramento Kings and enemy number 1 of the City of Sacramento, California.
I am nobody. I am just a Kings fan. When the Sacramento Kings moved to Sacramento I was 10 years old. Immediately upon entering the confines of the barn known as Arco Arena I, I was hooked. The excitement of professional basketball was something to see. But more than the game, more than the score, I remember most waiting outside that tiny stadium getting the autographs from the players who were bigger than life. I still have that old napkin with names like Reggie Theus barely legible.
I went to Arco Arena I and Arco Arena II throughout my childhood. I graduated high school in the building. I graduated college in that building. I saw the Rolling Stones in that building. I watched with pride my wife graduating college in that building. Both the City of Sacramento and I grew up around the Sacramento Kings. The Kings are the identity and soul of the community. And you killed it. Yes, you killed it.
When you first purchased the Sacramento Kings, we all believed you intended to move the team to Las Vegas. But you assured us. You said that you loved Sacramento. You said that you were committed to this community and to the fans who supported the Kings in unprecedented fashion. You moved here. You became one of us. And then you killed your own.
We all knew that your brother George wanted nothing to do with Sacramento. We all knew he thought himself some sort of Vegas mafia sort who was to cool to hang with people who actually work for a living. But you said you were different. You said you were in charge. You said that you were committed to the principles of your father about customer service and loyalty. You cried about how you lost an NBA team once and that you would never do it again. But apparently the two of you are weak. You let George win. You let George squander the family fortune by losing the Palms. You sold the beer distributorship to bail George out. Now you are selling to the Kings to a group that will take them away. You sold your souls and you sold us out. You are weak.
What Would Your Father Say?
Maloofed: A Verb. To actively deceive and rip off a community that supported you and then gloat about it.
Joe and Gavin, this is what you have done to the family name that your father worked so hard to build. You stood at center court last February and celebrated the arena deal to keep the team in town for decades, and then you were silent when George blew the deal up while insulting this community's businesses and the season ticket holders you now claim to have admiration for. You insisted that the team was not for sale while secretly negotiating with a group that stated its desire was to bring a team to Seattle. You haven't shown your faces. You haven't faced your employees that found out that they may lose their jobs on Twitter and on the News. You have not faced the fans. And you won't. Because you know that this is wrong. You know that that you are no longer welcome. You know that you broke our hearts. While George may not care, I believe you do. And somewhere deep down where the money doesn't make things feel better, you feel bad. And you will have to live with that. When the money is gone, most likely lost by George, all you will have is the hatred of a people and the guilt of what could have been. You could have been heroes. Instead, you are an example of greed. You will no longer be able to look Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Mitch Richmond and the other great Kings in the face because you took away the home where their jerseys hang.
Mayor Kevin Johnson is not done fighting. We, the fans, the nameless faces you took cash from for years are not done fighting. And this isn't over, not by a long shot. But no matter what you are done here. You are no longer welcome. You are no longer welcome because, it turns out, you are not one of us. You do not understand that this is more than a basketball team. You do not understand that this is bigger than basketball. This is about a City losing its identity. This is about a man losing his childhood. This is about that man's 10 year old son crying because his team, the team he just fell in love with, doesn't love him back. This is about the employees who will lose their jobs. This is about the restaurants and stores that need the arena to stay open. This is about us. And we will not give up. And will never forget or forgive.