Aside from the looming lockout, the biggest off-court story surrounding the NBA these days is the Sacramento Kings' likely move to Anaheim. The Maloofs seem intent on the change of location, and while nothing is official, it seems to be only a matter of time.
As yet, this story has received less attention than the Seattle SuperSonics fiasco of 2008. But at least one high-profile Sonics fan is in the corner of Kings fans. No, I don't mean Pearl Jam rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard or Campbell Scott's character in "Singles." Instead, it's legendary Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, who wrote a column for ESPN.com Wednesday about what's at stake. A sampling:
All of this Kings-move-to-Anaheim stuff is still just founded on shreds of rumor and hearsay. We Sonics fans went through the same stage. We thought there was no way Clay Bennett would have moved our team from our city. I mean, at first he said his ownership group didn't have the intention to move the team, claiming it was a priority to stay put. I feel naive and dumb now for trusting one of "them." If you are a Sacramento Kings fan and want your team to stay, you might want to raise a lot of hell now -- before it's too late.
I'm not sure about law when it comes to this sort of thing, but wouldn't it seem right for the collective of a fandom to have a right in these types of things. How about this: If an ownership group wants to move a franchise to a certain city, then maybe that fan base should get a majority vote in things that pertain to a move. Fans have and will, after all, invest a majority of the money into the team. Make sense?
OK, maybe a majority vote for us fans is being a little irrational and wouldn't pass muster when a team is losing money (we fans don't think straight and clear sometimes, especially when we feel rooked). But in Bennett's case, there was a promise of a "good faith effort" to keep the team in Seattle if a deal on the construction of a new arena could be reached within 12 months of the team's purchase. If not, then Bennett would explore relocation, which as we all know he did after new arena plans went nowhere.
This isn't a life-changing column or anything, but it's an impassioned and informed take from a huge basketball fan who also happens to have played the bassline on "Mr. Brownstone." In case you're unfamiliar with that song and the many other awesome tracks in the GNR discography, that automatically makes his opinion more valuable than others.
I'm not sure it's any solace to Kings fans to know that Duff is with them in solidarity, but it's a nice gesture. Who knows, maybe he'll play a benefit show with Sacramento bands Cake and the Deftones to make everything better. Tesla would show up, too, except no one has listened to "Modern Day Cowboy" in 15 years. Oh, and they one claimed that GNR stole "Patience" from them.
Things are probably only going to get worse for Kings fans. Luckily, the next time they listen to "Appetite for Destruction," the songs will take on extra resonance. Sure, "My Michelle" is about drug addiction, but it's also about dealing with great personal loss.