Rand: Kings called for traveling

  • Updated: January 21, 2013 - 11:27 PM

The Royals/Kings journey, from Rochester to Seattle.

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The Sacramento Kings are headed for KeyArena in Seattle to become the newest incarnation of the SuperSonics.

Photo: Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

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A group of Minnesota musicians ended 89.3-FM The Current's 8th birthday party show at First Avenue on Saturday with a cover of Semisonic's "Closing Time." Among the more memorable phrases from that song: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

Don't we know it, Minnesota sports fans? The Twins rose from the ashes of the Washington Senators and were rumored to leave here at times before finding suitable accommodations at Target Field. The Lakers moved to Los Angeles, and years later they were replaced by the Timberwolves. Same goes with our beloved North Stars, gone to Dallas and replaced by the Wild. The Vikings actually have more than a half- century of stability. It just feels like they've moved a dozen times.

We forget how nomadic sports franchises are until we stop to think about it -- or, in the case of one particular team in the NBA, really stop and take a look at the history. The NBA's Kings, long-rumored to be on the move, are being sold to a group in Seattle -- pending a formal league vote that is mostly a rubber-stamp approval -- and will move to that city. For those of you, though, who only really remember the Kings being in Sacramento, here's a brief history lesson of that franchise's NBA travels:

• The franchise existed as one of the originals in the merged NBA in 1949. At that point, the franchise was located in Rochester, N.Y., and it was called the Royals. During the 1950-51 season, the Royals won the NBA championship. One of the players on the team: Ed Mikan, younger brother of George.

• In 1957-58, the franchise began play in Cincinnati, also as the Royals, where it stayed until the 1971-72 season. During the 1961-62 season, Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double at 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game. That almost certainly never will happen again.

• The squad then moved to the Midwest ... where it spent the next three seasons splitting home games between Kansas City and Omaha and renamed itself the Kings. In their second year of the split, they had three different head coaches. None of this is recommended.

• From 1975-76 through 1984-85, they were only the Kansas City Kings. The Otis Birdsong/Scott Wedman-led squad advanced to the Western Conference finals in 1980-81 despite being a sub-.500 team in the regular season.

• In 1985, the franchise moved to Sacramento. Fun fact: In Sacramento, the team had exactly eight winning seasons. And they were the eight led by current Wolves coach Rick Adelman.

• Now the franchise appears headed next season to Seattle -- which, by the way, lost its team to Oklahoma City. It will be renamed the SuperSonics, just like the old team in Seattle. And every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

MICHAEL RAND

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