No matter how the Kings NBA season started, it was better than how my NBA season started.
“Happy birthday,” I said to the King’s new owner Vivek Ranadive when I saw him courtside.
“Thank you,” he answered graciously.
“Pretty good way to celebrate your 58th, if I’m not mistaken,” I said, already seeing in his eye that a terrible error had occurred.
“No, I’m a little bit younger than that,” Ranadive said.
“Oh my God, I made you older.”
“You made me older.”
Rats. Sorry. Happy 56th, Mr. Ranadive. What better way to celebrate than the very first game with your brand-new NBA team, in preseason against your old NBA team.
The Kings front office was busy trying to manage expectations before the game started, and to keep things kind of… homey.
“We’ve had a good training camp. I had the players over for dinner last night. Rosie made her famous 7 Up cake for them,” Ranadive said.
In the off-season, that same front office for the Kings hasn’t been handing out cake so much as pulling off steals, left and right: Coach Mike Malone, General Manager Pete D’Allesandro, player Carl Landry, who the Kings took back from Golden State. And of course there’s counselor-in-chief and NBA Hall-of-Famer, former Warrior Chris Mullin.
“Feels pretty comfortable,” Mullin said of being back at Oracle Arena.
“Yes. We’ve been able to lift, I think, some of their best and bring the to Sacramento,” said Ranadive.
But if the Kings have enriched themselves at the Warriors expense, Oakland fans seem not to be holding a grudge.
“We’ve still got a few players left,” smiled Oakland fan Jonnae Davis.