You figure it out yet?
Let me assist. That guy in the No. 6 jersey is Kings shooting guard Kevin Martin, who played in the Sacramento Professional Developmental League game at Capital Christian on Wednesday night and didn't disappoint. That guy in the stands, meanwhile, was one of 30 or so fans on hand who watched the fun affair. And therein lies the problem.
In the same vein of Ron Artest doing late-night radio stints for free, big-time NBA players just don't do this sort of thing. Yet despite the word of Martin's appearance being confirmed more than a day in advance, the crowd was pathetically sparse. As a reminder, this is $7 ticket fun (free for kids 12 and under) with plenty of talent on hand and at least six rim-shaking dunks in the first game I'd seen this summer.
In a city where the River Cats and Monarchs constitute the only local pro sports squads currently playing and in light of the reality that driving to an A's or Giants game could now cost $50 in gas depending on your vehicle, the seekers of simple and cheap entertainment need look no further. For anyone wondering why I've championed this cause of late, the truth is I can relate to this kind of atmosphere.
It reminds me of childhood trips to Spring Training in Phoenix, where the baseball lovers in my family would pack up the car and endure a 14-hour drive from the Bay Area just to get a chance to get close to the likes of Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Jose Canseco or Mark McGwire. You never knew if you'd have breakfast next to McGwire (which we did) or catch Clark taking swings in the batting cage and willing to share a quick chat (which he was).
Having made a 30-minute drive from Elk Grove to the Rancho Cordova school with my family and a few friends on Wednesday, I thought of the kids who so often call Martin's name at Arco Arena before games. Their parents having certainly forked over far more than $7 to get in, they'll wait as he tries to reach the masses and hope he comes their way. That wasn't a problem on Wednesday, with Martin taking pictures and signing autographs for no more than five fans before casually relaxing in the stands.
Martin won't play in every game, nor will Bobby Jackson, Matt Barnes, Mike Taylor, or Quincy Douby. But they will all play on occasion, joined by players who range from overseas stars to minor leaguers working hard for a basketball check. Here's to hoping more fans join them as well. - Sam Amick
What: The Sacramento Professional Developmental League is a summer showcase of mostly former collegiate and pro players.
Where: Capital Christian High School, 9470 Micron Ave. in Sacramento.
When: Now through June 26, with games Monday through Thursday at 7 p.m. and an all-star game June 27.
Admission: $7 for adults, free for children 12 and under.
More information: www.tothehoop.com.
Martin (the blurry one) rises for a jumper - Monica Fiala