In search of Nacho Man and 5-point plays

Heatwave or Nacho Man style, we’ll never know.

Heatwave or Nacho Man style, we’ll never know.

All we wanted out of this evening of Sacramento basketball was nachos and a couple 5-point plays. We came up short on both counts.

The members of my fantasy-basketball league and I weren’t headed to a Kings game on Sunday night; they were in Toronto. Just down the road from Arco Arena, the American Basketball Association’s Sacramento Heatwave was supposed to play the San Francisco Rumble at Inderkum High School in Natomas.

This new ABA was founded in 1999 and has no relation with the 1970s league besides stealing their name and tri-colored game ball. In fact, the ABA seems to have little to do with actual basketball. There are 4-point shots, extra points for baskets made off backcourt turnovers (allowing potential 5-pointers) and something called a “superfoul.”

ABA teams also have the best nicknames, like the 2007 champion Vermont Frost Heaves. But the league has been marred by in-fighting, folding teams and the fact that only one-third of the scheduled games are played.

Sunday’s match was no exception: The only vehicles in the Inderkum parking lot were a couple of kids’ minibikes. The Heatwave were nowhere to be found (brought down by a severe case of the frost heaves?). We should have been tipped off by the official Heatwave Web site, which still hawks tickets for a December 14 game and lists Bones’ BBQ Sauce as a corporate sponsor.

In search of nachos, we went to Nacho Man on Stockton Boulevard, where the proprietor allegedly serves his eats while singing karaoke. As we drove past Sacramento High School, someone noticed its stark contrast to the McSchool back in Natomas. I held out hope that future Sacramento mayoral elections will be decided by a game of one-on-one, and that C-Webb will challenge K.J. in 2012. At least Chris Webber wouldn’t desire greater power; if anything, he’d want less, and would probably conduct council meetings from his home recording studio.

In south Sacramento, we discovered that Nacho Man had closed shop and handed the place to his sister Doreen, a soul-food cook. We walked to the original Luigi’s Pizza instead, arriving just in time to miss the end of another Kings double-digit loss. Another television played the end of the Rockets-Pistons match; I had traded Ron Artest for Allen Iverson a few days earlier, and now Ron-Ron was hitting clutch free throws while Iverson sat for Rodney Stuckey.

Curse you, Ron-Ron.

After the game, ESPN cut to a freestyle snowmobile-jumping telecast, which will probably be the last sport that white people dominate.

With the Heatwave gone missing, local basketball fans will have to stick by the still-sinking Kings, at least until the city attracts Slamball: the trampoline sport that’s been the future of basketball for eight years running. If nothing else, it at least would be something to do on a Sunday night.