The Sacramento Kings of the late 90’s and early millennium were a sight to behold. I enjoyed watching them play as much if not more than the Suns led by Mike D’Antoni. I think Rick Adelman is one of the most underrated coaches in sports history. He’s won everywhere he’s been except Golden State where they win twice a decade (at most) and his players loving playing for him.
Those Kings teams were so balanced offensively with great shooters in Peja and Bibby, great ball movement with and without the ball under the Pete Carrill offense, and the two best passing big men in the league in Chris Webber and Vlade Divac. The Kings have the best fans in the NBA so I hope they turn things around quickly and are able to land Blake Griffin in the draft.
Since the Kings hadn’t enjoyed much success on the court in Sacramento before the Chris Webber trade, there were never any numbers to retire. Early in the year the Kings retired Chris Webber’s number and jersey, and tonight the Kings will do the same for one of most skilled big men of this generation, Vlade Divac.
Divac was a character that smoked cigarettes, looked like comedian Yakov Smirnoff, was the best flopper ever, could grow a beard faster than anyone in the history of the world, and had his own version of the English language. In fact, he still does as evidenced by Vlade’s interview on KHTK in Sacramento where he discusses getting his number retired this evening.
How proud he is to be first European players to establish themselves in the NBA:
“I didn’t [think] about it until a couple days ago when people started talking about it, being one of the first Europeans, and then I [thought to myself] “wow I came a long way, good job Vlade.”
On how the team connected with the city:
“Well we are all pretty much good guys. We had fun on the floor, we had fun off the floor. The way we played basketball, I think people recognized because basketball is supposed to be a fun game and we played that way.”
On what he’s going to say tonight:
“It’s my opportunity to thank all people in Sacramento who have helped all those years. That relationship between fans and us on the floor, it was unbelievable and I’ll remember that for the rest of my life. After that, who knows…I’ve got many, many names and I want to make sure everybody gets respect.”
Will he cry?
“Don’t put pressure on me”.