I've only been to one strip club in my life. Actually, two, if you count the time my car broke down on the highway and forced me to go inside "Hott 22" to call a tow truck. But the one time my coworkers convinced me to ogle exotic dancers on a business trip in Dallas, we happened to pick the same fine establishment as a few notable Sacramento party-goers. A half dozen women were crowded around a back table, where Mike Bibby, Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia, and Maurice Taylor, certainly no stranger to the club scene, judging from his, um, touchy behavior, were enjoying the city nightlife. The Kings were in town to play the Mavericks, the first stop on a key early season road trip, and perhaps not coincidentally, the first of five straight losses. I tried not to stare at the players (and the girls, I suppose), and as much as I wanted to, I knew it was the wrong time and place to approach them.
When we were getting ready to leave, one of my friends tried to get their attention by obnoxiously announcing that I was the Kings' biggest fan. Kevin Martin, who was quietly putting up All-Star numbers in his third NBA season, smiled and told a gorgeous stripper to take me to a private room for a lap dance. Okay, okay, so that part didn't happen. But Martin was extremely polite, considering the circumstances, and autographed a Post-It note while the rest of his teammates barely looked in our direction. And I had another reason to like my favorite King since Mitch Richmond.
Geoff Petrie's track record in the NBA Draft speaks for itself. He scouted the Euro leagues in the mid-'90s and plucked future stars Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu before the rest of the league caught on to international craze, and saw the raw potential in unheralded players like Gerald Wallace and Jason Thompson. And yet, in 2004, when the Kings selected Kevin Martin out of West Carolina University — best known for being the alma matter of Mel Gibson (um, the other one) — I wasn't impressed.