The sale of the Sacramento Kings to Vivek Ranadive's ownership group has brought much-needed stability and clarity of vision to a franchise in desperate need of a fresh start. After 15 years in charge and several recent attempts to move the franchise, the Maloof family had stopped being useful owners for some time and needed to go. It's safe to say that everyone — including the Maloofs, who turned a sizable profit in the sale — is pleased with how things worked out.
However, it would be very wrong to paint the Maloofs' entire period of ownership as a disaster. In the early years, they oversaw the franchise's period of greatest success in Sacramento. If they hadn't helped the team to those heights, it's likely that Ranadive's group never would have seen the potential of the franchise and its existing fan base.
So, despite the fact that the Maloofs are leaving town on bad terms, they have some reason to feel nostalgic for the good times they had in Sacramento. On their way out, they thanked the city and team for their 15 years as owners in a full-page ad in Saturday's edition of The Sacramento Bee. Check it out after the jump (image via Deadspin):
The sentiment is warranted. The first years of the Maloofs' reign were fantastic, with a conference finals appearance in 2002, eight consecutive playoff appearances from 1999 to 2006, and a reputation as one of the most exciting teams in basketball. It would be wrong to forget that those seasons occurred, or that the Maloofs had a hand in that success. This ad allows everyone to remember the good times.
Of course, it's also too sunny a picture. In the Maloofs' ideal scenario, the Kings would have recently been sold to a Seattle-based ownership group that would have taken the franchise from a city committed to keeping it. At various points in this fight, the Maloof family professed a desire not to deal with pro-Kings forces in Sacramento and essentially sold to Ranadive only because the NBA presented that as the only remaining option. If the Maloofs continued to have these warm feelings towards the city, they certainly found an odd way of proving it. The ad is an opportunity to save face — it would be the epitome of bad taste if the Maloofs' wishes for a move to another city had come true. (Let's also not forget that it was printed on a Saturday, when newspaper ad-buys are cheapest due to low readership.)
Again, everything they say in this ad is likely truthful, if only because it's difficult to have a close connection to a city for 15 years without feeling some bond. But it's only a partial truth, just as it would have been wrong to say that the Maloofs only brought pain and destruction to Sacramento over their tenure as owners. The truth is always more complicated than any one extreme perspective.
This saga ended well for Sacramento, but the tale deserves to be told in full. Let's remember the Maloofs as they were, not as they wish to be seen.