Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

March 7, 2008
Being Reggie Theus

Reggie

You'd think the daily dealings with Reggie Theus would be enough to know everything there was to know about the man.
Post-practice, postgame, phone sessions, etc. There are some days - heck, quite a few days - where I see more of him than I see my wife and baby boy. And still, I hadn't seen him like this before.
On my way back from the team's one-game stop in LA, I strolled toward Gate No. 14 at LAX on Thursday where none other than the Kings coach was already waiting for the Southwest flight back to Sacramento. Theus, I assume, had stayed back for a little extra time because of the locale. He is, after all, from Los Angeles, a local legend from his high school days there whose family is all staying in the region. And while his team had headed back the night before via charter jet, there was really no harm since back-to-back games like the Kings had just had meant there was no practice on this day.
We certainly caught up a bit and discussed the previous night's game, but the most intriguing aspect of seeing Theus in this environment was to watch the people around him. He autographed boarding passes, mingled with a few men in the "A" line who offered compliments for the job he'd done this season and had no shortage of questions about his team. When Theus walked down the tunnel to the plane and was out of earshot, the man said to his friend, "He's one of the best basketball players of all-time."
It's no secret that Theus is typically very gracious when in public, and this was no different. Upon landing - which I would later learn was something to appreciate, given the day's news of this airline - Theus was approached by a man in a Brad Miller hat who wanted to offer his approval for the job he'd done.
"Well, thank you," Theus said.
Then a middle-aged man had a story to share. The two of them walked and talked, and the man told the tale of how his mother - Mrs. Welch - had always claimed that she taught Reggie Theus in grade school. She rooted for the Kings based on that alone, because that kid was - she would tell her son - studious and polite.
As the man continued to describe the late woman, Theus went from polite to pensive to pleased. He did, in fact, recall his third-grade teacher from his boyhood days in LA.
"A tall, skinny woman?" he asked. "Had a little bit of toughness to her?"
Yes, indeed. The man walked away with a memory, thanking Theus for confirming the story he'd always doubted. Theus, who enjoyed the nostalgic moment as well and was surprised that his memory had been so keen, kept walking toward the parking garage.
Now because his car was closer to the nearby private airport where the charter planes depart from, Theus asked for a ride. I obliged, and here's where the comedy came in.
As we spoke briefly near the runway, a security guard who obviously knew who Theus was asked that the talking stop and the exiting begin. There was a jet on its way in and we were too close to the chosen path. As I left, I just had to know who Reggie Theus was being asked to yield to. What possible reason could there be for rushing the man who - by all appearances on this day - is some sort of King of Sacramento?
"It's Governor Schwarzenegger," he replied. - Sam Amick



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