Sacramento’s quest to keep the Kings made for some really fascinating storytelling. There were so many moving parts, and so many motivations that were slowly peeled away and revealed through the process. There were the clear antagonists (the Maloofs) and protagonists, and then, of course, there was David Stern.
In a book detailing how the Kings were able to remain in Sacramento, author R.E. Graswich made some statements about the motivations of each of these characters critical to the plot of our story, but it’s what he had to say about Sacramento Mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson that was most interesting.
“Kevin Johnson hates the Kings,” said author R.E. Graswich. “He still holds a grudge from 1987 when they drafted Kenny Smith one spot ahead of Kevin Johnson.”
Let’s give the author an “A+” for promoting, but personally, I find it hard to believe that Kevin Johnson still holds a 26-year grudge because a 29-53 team that was one of six other teams to pass him up chose a player over him.
Now I know Johnson was born in Sacramento and I’m sure it hurt him to see his hometown team pass him up, but don’t you think he’s gotten over that? It’s not like his career didn’t work out because of it. Don’t you think Johnson understands the impact a basketball team can have the community, and don’t you think he’s seen and heard the countless fans who begged him to do everything in his power to help them stay? Wouldn’t that eventually win out some point over being miffed all those years ago?
I suppose the reader will have to decide what’s more plausible: Johnson maintaining a 26-year grudge, or an author slinging a little mud to sell more copies.