Kings Relocation: Magic Reaction
A team with a new arena shares their thoughts on another struggling to build one.
by Jonathan Santiago / @itsJONsantiago
The Orlando Magic know what it’s like to play in a new state of the art, sports and entertainment complex. After four years of planning and construction, the Amway Center opened for business at the start of this 2010-11 NBA season.
What did some Magic players and coaches have to say about the holding pattern the city of Sacramento is in as they await the Kings’ decision to either stay or leave town?
“The fans here have done every possible thing they can do through the history here to support their franchise,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said following last night’s 106-102 victory in Sacramento. “The fans don’t deserve to have a team leave.
“I’m not saying the Maloofs are wrong in what they do,” he continued. “But the fans don’t deserve it.”
Orlando Magic forward and Sacramento-area native Ryan Anderson believes Sacramento without the Kings would be a surreal reality.
“If you could even get into a (Kings) game at ARCO back in their hey-day,” Anderson began. “And back five, 10 years ago, that was the biggest thing in Sacramento. The Kings were a Sacramento staple. It’s just very weird to think we may not be coming back here next year.”
Anderson grew up watching the great Kings teams from the past decade.
“Each of my buddies on my team growing up would be a different player,” Anderson reminisced. “So I was always Chris Webber, my buddy was Jason Williams…That’s how it was growing up because (Kings basketball) was what we loved and what we knew.”
He and his friends admired everyone, from Lawrence Funderburke, Scot Pollard to even current teammate Hedo Turkoglu.
“Hedo was just up and coming,” Anderson said lightheartedly with a smile.
Turkoglu began his career with the Kings after he was drafted 16th overall in the 2000 NBA Draft. He played a key role off the bench for Sacramento and to this day, he still feels love from Kings fans despite continuing his career elsewhere after 2003.
“If they move, I’ll be real upset,” said Turkoglu, who understands that a Kings move to Anaheim would be a business rather than basketball decision. “Because I started my career here. And you even see after so many years, (Kings fans) still give me support whenever I come back, so it’s a special place.”
Video: Dwight Howard on what a new arena means for a community.