The Maloofs Appear, Kinda Sorta

HANG TIME WEST – The Maloof brothers showed at Power Balance Pavilion on Sunday afternoon, which is saying something. Most tracking the Sacramento arena debacle would have given long odds on Joe or Gavin attending another game this season, especially the way they stayed out of view after their plan to move to Anaheim became public late in 2010-11. But there they were for the Kings-Trail Blazers matinee.

Sort of.

The Maloofs watched from their suite with security stationed outside, rather than the front-row center-court seats they used, in some coincidence, while being celebrated as conquering heroes after reaching an agreement to build a new arena and keep the team in town. Same thing through the years – very visible with the winning times, noticeably scarce through the drought that followed.

The Maloofs get it. They get they are unpopular, and that is a particularly difficult thing for Joe and Gavin, nice people who would have been better served through the years if they would, or could, be more cutthroat with business decisions. They are good cop while someone else, maybe another executive and more recently brother George, played the heavy.

Joe and Gavin, the most visible members of the family that owns the team, understand the level of contempt for the family name in the Sacramento area, though no one can truly measure the depths of the distaste. Not without drilling to the inner core of the Earth. It’s why they considered attending the 2010-11 finale but eventually thought better and stayed away from what could have been the last Kings game in town, and it’s why they showed Sunday (but didn’t really).

Would something physical have happened either time? Probably not. But why take the chance. The best-case scenario – the best case – would have been a sideshow, with a lot of boos and maybe some uncomfortable chants and the brothers pretending to focus on the game as the venom rained down. This was better, the way energetic crowds both times appreciated the effort of a team still far from any playoff hope.

Venom there is, though. From listening to talk radio to reading the e-mails and tweets, the Maloofs have deservedly been turned into piñatas for the bungled handling by agreeing to the arena deal, getting everyone excited for the future, and then ripping hearts out with the decision to back out of the deal. It’s their right to not like the deal, of course. But not in that order.

The most popular people in the city exactly 10 years ago as the Kings went on a march that led to the Western Conference finals had lost it all as the bad decisions and lottery appearances piled up. They recaptured the good feelings with the arena agreement in an Orlando hotel room during All-Star weekend. They were back on the good side of fans, finally. And then it took but a few weeks to hand it all back, to a worse place than ever.

Sunday afternoon against the Trail Blazers was the Maloof’s attempt to show fans they are still committed to a Sacramento future, no matter how many in town are convinced otherwise. The brothers chose to attend, and maybe take some verbal abuse from the customers close to their luxury box, when they could have stayed away. That’s their message.

It’s just that it was one-sided. The fans never got to deliver their message in return.


  1. Stolenfrom says:

    Who says the Maloofs have a right to take the team from Sacramento? It’s the owners of sports teams that are tenants- the real owners are the cities and the people that love the team. The New York Yankees have had 9 owners. Do you think New Englanders see the Red Sox as John Henry’s team? Did the Dodgers belong to LA or the McCourts? Owners buy a chance to make money off a city/region’s team for how ever many years they can profit, and if they can’t anymore, they sell to someone who can. Moving a team a la the Kings or Sonics is stealing it from the rightful owners- the city and its’ people- the fans.

  2. Watch the throne sac town money [MALOOFS] talks

  3. zach says:

    The real reason this deal died: Tom Benson quietly bought the Hornets…. Now that they are off the market to move the Maloofs hold all the cards as to when Seattle or la or the highest bidder gets the next team Law of supply and demand… Hello Seattle Supersonics; Sacramento thanks for the memories, keep your stats, we’ll gladly take theirs… And they have no state income tax? Really, then we make more money? OK! Why take a deal that’s less than what other cities are offering your competitor when your competitor stops selling your product… Sacto needs to pony up, or just lock the doors and kick them to the curb now, while they have the public ear an sympathy!

  4. dan says:

    The dodgers sale killed the deal in Sac. The brothers saw the numbers. 2.15B and immediate;y thought you know what my team is worth more in LA even if we have to sell. They will never admit but I believe that was the reason they killed the deal. They will file for relocation next year. It is over for Sacramento.

  5. poor my take:

  6. jesse says:

    i dont trust either side in this argument. i dont know the maloofs but i do know david stern and hes been a lying crook for years so i seriously doubt he just decided to do the right thing one morning when he woke up

  7. Aaron says:

    The Maloofs are not losing money… they said they are one of the few teams that are profitable. They wanted more stuff added to the term sheet that was ridiculous for a tenant to ask for. They wanted a free lunch, not a fair deal. You have AEG, David Stern, and Sacramento leaving Orlando saying it was fair, and you have the Maloofs with all their business blunders saying otherwise. You do the math.

  8. SacTownie says:

    I find it insulting that the Maloofs came to the game at all, as if they did nothing wrong. Joe Maloof says this is still his team and his city, but they showed the world their true feelings about Sacramento with their shameful press conference last Friday in which they hired an economist from Anaheim to carry out a bloody hit job on the fine city of Sacramento and its bright future. If the Maloof family do not see greatness in Sacramento’s future, the right thing to do is to sell the team to owners who have the vision, guts, and financial strength to be true partners as the city moves forward boldly to brighter days. There is a petition asking the Maloofs to do the right thing and sell the team, for anyone that thinks Sacramento deserves better than how the Maloofs have treated them:

  9. The Maloof”s should have had their legal team in all the meetings with the city of Sacramento from the beginning. I don’t believe they ever wanted to stay in Sacramento. And if I was any other city, I would not allow them to come to their town. They do shaddy business.

  10. Wilt the Stilt says:

    The Maloofs are Awesome folks !!! I know Joe personally and he is an amazingly great person!!! They must be losing ridiculous amounts of money to move from Sac.

  11. craig says:

    Oh media… Yes, being a Kings fan is hard. VERY hard. But why must you persist on telling the world of our alleged contempt for the owners (Joe and Gavin specifically). You know not what you report on. There is no hate in our hearts for the owners of our beloved Kings. It does not exist. When you speak of these ills between us, then, and then only do they begin to take form and thrive. The more you attempt to expound on this topic of owner/fan hatred the more tangible it becomes. Don’t you see that you are creating this beast? How are we to make peace and once again see a return of our beloved game to the city upon which we dwell if you absurdly play the roll of instigator?

    • Allan Owen says:

      Wrong. I have been a season ticket holder since year one in Sacramento. I do blame the Maloofs and dislike them for how they treated both the City and their loyal fans. Last year on fan appreciation night no TV’s or even iPod’s as in years past and in every other NBA city; instead we got to track down a couple of ushers and get a coupon for a free Jack in the Box taco. Look at the product they have given us for the past severl years, all the while promising that they would improve and that they wouldn’t leave Sacramento; just give them a chance. Ooops, guess they changed their minds on both promises…

      • Pau says:

        Just gotta say dreams die at Sacramento and the hypes all in LA. I aint hating on Sacramento its just how it is

    • SacRoyalty says:

      YOU ARE WRONG! and probably do not live in sacramento making statements like these. The City Widely Blames the Maloofs. And righfully so.

  12. SC says:

    When White Chocolate left Sacramento, Kings never got my interest anymore.

  13. Jumpshot = fail says:

    they are losing money, its that simple.

  14. waltwilliams says:

    Coming from a lifelong Sacramento fan and basketball fan in general, I have to say I am very disappointed. I understand and would agree with many that Sacramento is hardly a city that is enticing for a professional sports team. The problem I see here is with David Stern going back on his word so many times in the last decade and not owning up to the things he promises. I understand that the Magoofs have the right to back out of the deal, morally wrong or not. David Stern however needs to place some accountability on the owners for making such poor business decisions and being tight wads on their building of teams with draft picks. David Stern has always talked about the encouragement of small markets where a team can make a city thrive economically, but hardly cares when a city steps up to the demands he places. Seatle got plain screwed and if any team should have went to OKC, the hornets were made welcome, see if they still fill the arena after a couple seasons with David Stern owning that team. Then Sterns pocket grows bigger from selling the Hornets for more than purchased. Dirty league with annoying media.

  15. fun says:

    this situation in Sacramento is so depressing, especially for a Kings fan. i mean, i live in the LA area, but i am a Kings admirer. sacramento fans are probably one of the best crowds in the NBA, together with golden state and oklahoma. and those days of Webber, Stojakovic, Bibby, Divac and. Christie from the early 2000s were the best basketball you can watch. they were fun to see, the crowd was so loud with their cowbells. and now this. I have a lot of respect for the Maloofs for them managing to keep the Kings franchise in Sacramento, I just wish that they don’t treat the fans with those kind of decision making that rips your heart out. the fans deserve better. Kudos to mayor johnson for doing all that he can in keeping the team in town. i do hope that the maloofs will do the right thing, and in the right way.