Here are a few musings, notes and observations about the Kings' reunion barbecue at Power Balance Pavilion that was a combination fan fest, season ticket pitch and feel-good moment for a fan base that seems to be completely invigorated following the team's near-move to Anaheim.
Maybe everyone is still in shock - the Kings are still in Sacramento! - but there was a real energy and enthusiasm in the building. Quite a contrast to the April 13 sob fest, when it seemed liked a foregone conclusion that the team was moving to Anaheim. Anyway, it was an interesting afternoon, to say the least:
Brad Miller, who maintains his home in Sacramento, surprised everyone when he showed up on crutches and revealed that he underwent the dreaded microfracture surgery a few weeks ago on on his left knee. He has a year remaining on his contract with the Houston Rockets and hopes to resume his career at midseason. Ouch. Good luck. Remember Chris Webber.
Fans just love Tyreke Evans. He was mobbed wherever he went - on the concourse, on the court, in the food area. And as usual, no matter the circumstance, the third-year guard was available and accommodating. We can debate the point guard issue all we want - and I will continue to argue that Tyreke is not totally miscast as a primary playmaker and ballhandler - but he deserves kudos for getting involved for continually engaging his community. And he never dodges the tough questions (think speeding incident last summer), which is probably one reason for his popularity. In that respect, he is very much like Bobby Jackson.
The reunion was a great idea, and for the most part, was a successful, surprisingly well-attended event given the lousy weather. But next time ... better execution at the door. A crowd of 9,000 was expected, yet initially only two entrances were open to the public. The lines were ridiculously long. An hour before the noon event, at least a few thousand fans huddled outside the building, in the rain, while waiting to get inside. True, the event was free. True, parking was free. Also true, season ticket holders were treated to a free meal. But next time, operate the event like an NBA game. When I saw Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof later in the afternoon, he said that his people should have just opened all the entrances and gates. But here's the problem with that: Because of security concerns these days at arenas and stadiums, every patron (and journalist) is "wanded" and all bags/backpacks/purses checked before entry. Concerts. Rodeos. Figure skating. The process is the same, and it's a total, time-consuming pain. Again, next time, run the event like a normal game. How tough is that?
Doug Christie, 41, looks like he could suit up and take over playmaking duties tomorrow. A conditioning fanatic, he is sleek and conditioned, as usual. Accompanied by his kis Chantel (18) and Douglas (10), he spent the previous two days in town, attending media events and other promotions. Just my opinion, which I've stated before, but Doug would be a great addition to any NBA staff as an assistant coach/workout guru. He is smart and demanding, and energetic --- which is huge. I can't help but believe he could help transform a team that, as a group, was pathetically out of shape last season. Think Miami Heat. Less is more. Samuel Dalembert. Donte Greene. Omri Casspi. DeMarcus Cousins. Tyreke. Most do the above-mentioned players (excluding Casspi) need to lose weight, and given their age (none above 30), this should be a major concern for the organization. I am assuming one of the Kings assistants is spending time with Cousins before the collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30?
While watching Christie and Kings scout/personnel executive Bobby Jackson talking off to the side, I couldn't help but reminisce about how the two guards transformed the Kings' defense a decage ago.
Christie's daughter, Chantel, said the event reminded her of her years spent in Sacramento. "This is home to me," she said. "The enthusiasm, the energy. This is what I remember when I was 10 years old."
When a fan asked Mitch Richmond whether he was rooting for Mike Bibby or Peja Stojakovic in the Miami-Dallas NBA Finals, the former Kings star responded, with a smile, and a noncommital "Bibby and Peja!"
I didn't catch the entire exchange, but when Donte Green grabbed the microphone at midcourt and interviewed Tyreke Evans, I caught a huge grin by Tyreke and a playful exchange about a "decision."