What it means that the Sacramento Kings are staying

Long live the Sacramento Kings.

At around 7 p.m. eastern tonight, I found out that my favorite NBA team is, this time for sure, going to exist next season.

I found out that the squad I’ve been rooting for since I was 12 years old is staying right where it belongs, and that I can look forward to the NBA Draft, and next season, and getting NBA League Pass again.

I couldn’t be more estatic.

The author will have the chance to be completely flabbergasted by DeMarcus Cousins for years to come.  (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

The author will have the chance to be completely flabbergasted by DeMarcus Cousins for years to come. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

What does it feel like to realize that your favorite team is going to be around for a while, that you won’t have to be an NBA nomad with no real rooting interest anywhere?

Put it this way:

The Kings were horrible this year, but it feels like they just won a playoff series. I’m pouring champagne all over myself as we speak. In fact, I just plastic-wrapped my keyboard.

To put it another way: this is the exact opposite of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

Maybe it’s karma (although that’s a tough sell to Seattle fans), or maybe it’s just luck. But this time around, the Kings came out on top with everything on the line. Eleven years ago, I collapsed to the floor in devastation. Today, I couldn’t have been happier if Amanda Pflugrad suddenly showed up at my house.

This was a fight Sacramento deserved to win. The Kings have some of the most passionate fans in the league, and thanks to the Herculean efforts of mayor and former Phoenix Suns guard Kevin Johnson, they have a group of investors willing to spend an ungodly amount of money on the team, and a plan for a new arena that passed 7-2.

The fact that this whole thing became a bidding war was unfortunate and wrong, because Sacramento never wavered on whether or not it wanted to keep the Kings. Fans still showed up in droves. Politicians fought tooth and nail for the right to use public money on a new arena.

Kings fans sold out the final game of the season in Sacramento, and gave Sleep Train Arena an NBA Finals atmosphere once again. A guy named Carmichael Dave even put together a bus tour and traveled the country to spread the word about the passion his city had for its team.

In truth, only reason the Kings were even in the position to be relocated was because of the vindictive Maloof family, which backed out on an arena deal they had agreed to last year and sold the franchise to Seattle businessman Chris Hansen in stealth. They were hellbent on screwing Sacramento over, hoping to pull the moving fans away in the middle of the night like the Baltimore Colts.

Thankfully, it didn’t work.

It feels pretty great to know that the collective efforts of a fan base and a city can be enough to stop an inept ownership group.

It feels even better that I’m going to have a team to root for next season, and in the seasons to come.

Long live the Sacramento Kings.

Long live my team.

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