Yes, I was raised in the Bay Area.
But no, I’m not a Warriors fan.
I’m a — takes a deep breath — a Sacramento Kings fan.
It might be because my family eventually moved more inland to Modesto, Calif., which is closer to other NBA teams that aren’t from Los Angeles. Still, I started seeing a lot of Warriors fans popping up in my adopted hometown of Modesto when they started getting good the past few years. Not me. Never.
I’m always going to remain a Kings fan. Unfortunately.
Even tonight, when they take on the Nuggets in their home opener in Denver.
My loyalty to the Kings is unconditional, like that hooptie you drove throughout high school. It wasn’t the prettiest or fastest, but it got you to where you needed to go. And, isn’t that all that matters? And because of that, you remained loyal to it.
I’m not the same Kings fan I used to be. Not like during my teenage and adult years, when I kept newspaper clippings of their wins and collected basketball cards of Kings players. I’m not just talking about Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Vlade Divac. I’m also talking about Mitch Richmond, Brian Grant and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
We’ve been through a lot — us Kings fans — because of years of instability. There have been various coaches, questionable trades and lottery picks (Jimmer Fredette, anyone?) and the seemingly on-again, off-again drama of moving the team to somewhere else.
Unsurprisingly, I’m still not over Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Kings and Lakers, believed to have been fixed, according to disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy. I remember having trouble sleeping for a while after that game.
The Lakers won that game, and then the series. And then — sigh — the NBA championship.
Eventually, I’ll get over that part of the franchise’s history.
Maybe this year’s Kings team will help me with that.
I doubt it.
Nonetheless, I’m a loyal Kings fan to the end.