NEW YORK—“Chris Webber thinks Sacramento is boring.”
Oh … my … God. Stop the presses.
To us it wasn’t so shocking, especially when compared to the disgraceful display of insecurity by residents and media.
The revelation (which hit the same week the Kings’ starting lineup made the cover of Sports Illustrated) forced the Maloof brothers to cancel a “begging Webber to stay” billboard, caused local print and broadcast journalists to hit the streets of Sacramento in search of soul food, and generally seemed to wreak havoc on the town’s sense of pride, as evidenced by the “go home Chris” letters flooding into the Bee. (Speaking of the Bee: It has reported all this New York Times, ESPN news without even a nod to the obvious question, i.e. why didn’t the self-proclaimed “best [reporting] team in the NBA”—Martin, Scott or Alyson—have this “huge” story first?)
Anyway, a few observations:
1. Could it be we’re just a wee bit defensive here? Ultimately, all these protestations reveal that we’re insecure as hell. One spoiled millionaire (however good an athlete) called us boring … well, so what? We love what Webber’s done for the Kings (and we say he’s among the 100 most interesting people here), but the guy’s a free agent and, sooner or later, he’ll be leaving town. We should never have got that attached. He has a right to say he’s bored, but we have a responsibility not to care too much.
2. All the boosterism around the Kings was bound to backlash. Of course, it’s hard to stay dispassionate in the face of a charismatic and winning Sacramento Kings team (Sports Illustrated: “the way the game is meant to be played”), but c’mon. You can appreciate and follow the team without resting the self-esteem of the town on it. Meanwhile, between the energy crisis, the unknown future for the state’s economy and a myriad of other problems we face, there certainly are a few other things to worry about than whether Webber can get a date.
3. Yeah, we love the game and are hoping the Maloofs and Geoff Petrie do the right thing (whatever that is) when it comes to our superstar’s future. But, ultimately, it’s a business decision and it’s in their court.
So instead of worrying about being boring, why don’t we recognize that—with or without Webber—our town is awesome. Because besides having game, we got trees, two rivers and bunches of cool people. It’s time to stop defining ourselves by what others think, and start considering what we think of ourselves.