Back to the future; Kings could become Royals again

Amidst the increasingly sad likeliness that the Sacramento Kings will move to Anaheim in the near future is the rumor that the franchise could revert to its old nickname. According to the Sacramento Bee, a lawyer representing the Maloof brothers has filed trademarks for such potential names as the "Anaheim Royals," "Anaheim Royals of Southern California," "Orange Country Royals," and "Los Angeles Royals." Royals, people may not remember, were what the franchise was originally known as back when they played in Rochester. However, when the team moved to Kansas City, home of baseball's Kansas City Royals, the basketball team accommodated and became the Kings.

The Bee reports that if the Kings do move to Anaheim, it's a forgone conclusion that they'll abandon their present nickname. The fact the Los Angeles hockey team is known as the "Kings" cannot be a coincidence.

Just using common sense, we can automatically rule out two of the possible options. Orange County Royals is way too vague; the Golden State Warriors are the only major American team that doesn't have a city or state in its title, and that isn't about to change, especially since Orange County does not include Los Angeles, a city the Maloof brothers would obviously like to appeal to. Anaheim Royals of Southern California will never happen, if not from the mocking there'd be if Anaheim had two nonsensically-named teams, but that Southern California is a pointless suffix. The "Los Angeles Angels of Anehim" at least included L.A. in the title, but SoCal? It's way too long a name not to mention the second largest market in the nation.

My guess is that they'll start off as the Anaheim Royals, since there're already two NBA teams in Los Angeles. But, anyone with a brain knows that at as long as they play within an hour's drive of Los Angeles, it's only a matter of time before they become the "Los Angeles Royals," regardless of whether they play there or not. It's like how no team wants to admit it plays in New Jersey, when they could claim to originate from New York. New York is fame and glamour and prestige; New Jersey is the landfill state where Teamsters wind up oil drums. Los Angeles is Hollywood, celebrities and paparazzi, a place that conveys relevance to the general public; Anaheim is nothing. The Kings/Royals may start off as "Anaheim," but there's little doubt what the outcome would be.

Two things come to mind as the Kings close out what looks like their final season in Sacramento. The first is that the Maloof brothers deserve to be in the who's-the-worst-owner-in-the-league discussion. They haven't a done a single thing to replenish the roster since their title contention of a decade ago, and allowed to numerous good players to disappear for practically nothing. The other is that the Kings may be the sorriest franchise in the NBA, even lowlier than the L.A. Clippers. The Kings are one of the oldest teams in the league, but they've never stayed in one place for more than 26 years. They've been in Rochester (New York), Cincinnati (Ohio), Kansas City (Missouri), Omaha (Nebraska), Sacramento (California) and now Anaheim. They're essentially a team without a home, and it's only fitting that they'll wind up in Anaheim with a name pretending that they play somewhere else.

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