"Sactown" Mike Tavares is a loyal fan and regular poster at KingsFans.com. He is a founding member of Sacramento FANS and Crown Downtown.
I want to tell you sincerely how much I have enjoyed our recent conversations and how much respect and appreciation I have for what you and a lot of other fans are doing in Sacramento.
Few people really understand how hard it is. You are just a fan. You don't have a lot of power but I can tell from our conversations that you really take this responsibility seriously, just like I did when the Sonics were leaving Seattle. The weight is immense. The challenges are practically impossible but you are still throwing everything you have at it and deserve so much respect for those efforts.
I wonder whether it is appropriate for me to be talking to you. It will probably get strange if, as reported, Seattle comes into play to take the Kings from Sacramento. It seems counterproductive for me to offer you advice and most people would probably be suspicious of my motives, accusing me of hitting you up for information or misleading you to help our own cause here in Seattle. I can tell you honestly because I've been there that nobody really thinks the information down at our level is relevant.
The truth is that watching your efforts has brought back memories for me that makes our cities pursuit of a franchise even more complicated. I am reminded so clearly of what we went through, the maddening efforts and the frustrating inability to make a difference. Having dealt with the crushing blow of losing my own battle I want to tell you to keep your chin up. I want to remind you that having hope against adversity is what fans do.
It took years for me to really reconcile what had happened when the Sonics left. Blame, anger, sadness and regret all had their moments. I wish I could spare you all that hardship and explain to how, whatever the outcome these moments will probably be some of the greatest memories of your life. You'll take pride in having represented your city so hard and the friendships you forge in battle will be some of your strongest ever.
Even if you lose your team I want to tell you to hang in there. Some people may think less of you for your role in the loss but the VAST majority (and all of the ones that matter) will respect you for how hard you fought the fight regardless of a disappointing outcome. If you stay in the game long enough you may even find your own Chris Hansen. A new owner who respects what you have done, values all the fans and takes the time to say the words "thank you" in a way that makes it all of your sacrifices worthwhile.
Given what is being reported all of those sentiments seem kind of inappropriate. I know that in the end there is a good chance that I will have played a role in doing to you and other great fans of Sacramento what others did to me. There is really nothing that can be said or done that will make things better. Any comments after the fact will seem condescending or cruel. The easiest and most appropriate approach is silence. Unfortunately this will give the impression that Seattle just doesn't care.
Most of the fans I know care a lot. We are fellow members of the consumer class and we feel way more kinship with other fans than we do with the owners or the players. We have seen through the years that the fans of Sacramento are passionate and loyal. We know that reports of diminished attendance or a lack of interest are the result of a really crappy product and a terrible situation. They do not reflect in any way upon fans of the Kings.
Unfortunately the same situation that created all this empathy has also hardened us to the rules of the game. We wish we could take care of you but know that it is just a competitive environment between cities. In the NBA there is only one team that gets to win the title and 29 others are losers. In the hunt for a franchise there will always be somebody who pays the price for another markets gain.
I hope that in 2013 we can continue to be honest and respectful to each other. I'll cheer for your efforts even if I ultimately wind up participating in your defeat. Sacramento fans will be welcome to join our Sonics family even if I expect most of them will be insulted and outraged by the offer.
Its going to be an interesting year.