Welcome aboard the Los Angeles Kings bandwagon, Bill Simmons.
The diehard basketball fan and ESPN columnist bought Kings season tickets as the 2011-12 NBA season hangs in the balance.
Simmons (along with yours truly) was at Staples Center Tuesday night for the Kings home opener, a 5-0 shutout victory over the St. Louis Blues. He wrote about his decision to buy tickets on Grantland.com Wednesday:
“If there’s an irony here, it’s that Gary Bettman — Gary Bettman!!! — has a chance to take advantage of David Stern‘s mistakes. It’s like remaking The Godfather: Part II and having Fredo turn the tables on Michael. Just look at what’s happening to a team like the Kings right now. Everything broke perfectly. The Lakers and Clippers disappeared. Poof! They’re gone. The USC and UCLA football teams are struggling. The McCourts turned the Dodgers into Clippers 2.0. Who’s left? Remember, Los Angeles has no memory; it’s a place where you’re only as good as your last hit, where people latch onto winners and coldly dismiss losers both in sports and show business. For years and years, it loved the Lakers and college football, then baseball, then college basketball, then hockey, then the Clippers. In that order.
Right now? The door has swung wide-open for the Kings. As the clock counted down their 5-0 victory last night, I looked around and noticed that, incredibly, just about every fan had stuck around for the final minute. They chanted “LET’S GO KINGS! LET’S GO KINGS!” until the final horn, then skipped out of Staples Center happily, hoping this would finally be their year. And it might.
Me? I drove home thinking, Maybe I’m not gonna miss basketball as much as I thought. Life moves on. It always does.”
If the home opener was a preview of things to come, Simmons will find himself at Staples Center through June.