If Basketball Was A Religion…

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Last night my very good friend Sal and I went to watch the Sacramento Kings host Lebron “the prophet” James and his Cleveland Cavilers. We left early to watch players shoot around before tip-off. By the time we got there, Arco Arena was just opening its doors. At a quick glance, you’d think we were in Cleveland watching the game instead of Sacramento. There was Lebron James appareal everywhere you turned, including: Nike “Witness” sweaters and every Lebron James jersey made…even his Saint Vincent/Saint Mary’s High School jersey was well represented. I wore my Lebron James Cavilers home jersey.

We followed the crowd of fans into the arena, which led us straight to the courtside seating area. I’ve been a huge Lebron James fan since Sportscenter started hyping his arrival (roughly around his senior year of High School). I think Lebron James is the greatest basketball player to step on the hardwood. He’s done so much in a short time span…and he’s straight out of high school (even more impressive). He’s an efficient offensive machine and an intimidating defensive juggernaut. He has the ability to make his teammates better and is a tested leader. If basketball was a religion…Lebron James is the prophet.

The crowd we walked in with lined the courtside seating area, while a couple of security personnel screamed “stay behind the yellow line…don’t get pushed out!” In front of our very eyes was the man everybody came out to see. Lebron “the prophet” James. He was stretching with his personal trainer on the hardwood floor. There were other players on the court taking advantage of the practice time. But all eyes were on Lebron James. Fans shouted his name, as did I, in an attempt to convince him to come over and sign autographs. After 15-20 minutes of stretching, he got up. The crowd gasped and watched, anxiously waiting for his next move. They wanted him to come over…I just wanted to see one of those sweet jumpshots up close and personal. He got up and jogged straight to the locker room. The crowd was a bit dissapointed, but they stayed put…in hopes he would come back out. He didn’t.

The game started out great. The Sacramento Kings came out shooting. All the Kings were hitting their shots. You wouldn’t think they were the worst team in the NBA…well, until the last five minutes, where the Kings gave up a four point lead and lost in overtime. I haven’t watched a Kings game in a very long time. I’m a Kings fan, but lately I’ve been dissapointed by the moves they’ve been making. I use to watch the Kings back in the Mitch Richmond era…then became a die-hard Kings fan during the Webber era…then a faithful observer in the Artest era. Nowadays, I can only name a few players on the roster.

Sacramento still loves their Kings. As we watched the game, an older lady sitting two seats down was pounding her feet every single time the Kings were on a run or a Cav was at the charity stripe. Another demonstration of KINGS PRIDE came from a young boy and his father. As we were walking through the stands to leave, I saw a father consoling his young son who was sad the Kings lost. Decked out in a Kevin Martin Kings Alternate Away Jersey and matching Kings hat, the young boy clutched his father in a tight embrace. I could hear the father whisper to his son, “it’s ok, they’ll get ‘em next time.” People invest so much emotion in our beloved Sacramento Kings. No matter how big a Lebron James fan I become, I still got a lot of love for the home team. Go Kings!

-Errol

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