Of course, it wouldn't last forever. The infamous Robert Horry shot came on the heels of my first breakup, and when Chris Webber went down with a torn ACL a year later, taking away any chance of a Sacramento championship, I began working long and tedious hours at a thankless job, hoping for my own promotion that never came. I was wishing for a playoff but received a layoff instead, as the Kings journeyed through a downward spiral, winning fewer and fewer games for five consecutive seasons and eventually bottoming out with the worst record in the league.
But looking back on it now, I think we needed to go through our respective hardships and hit rock bottom in order to eventually bounce back stronger than ever.
The Kings are going into next season with a year of experience under their belts, a proven and respected head coach, and a sensational lottery pick with unlimited potential (not to mention, less playing time for Beno Udrih). At the same time, the Spurs are starting to show their age, and the Rockets will enter the season without their three best players from a year ago. On top of that, the Suns are more concerned about finances than wins, and middle-tier teams like the Jazz, Hornets, and Mavericks have done little to improve their rosters during the offseason. Sure, the Kings are still unlikely to make the playoffs, but they just might sneak up on a few unsuspecting teams and basketball analysts, and make some noise in a suddenly weaker Western Conference. With a couple of lucky breaks and timely acquisitions, a 40-win season is within reach.
And me? I’ve found a job where I can put my college degree to use (yes, I managed to get to class in between the parties), and a boss who doesn’t demand useless reports at all hours of the night. The stress fractures have mostly healed and I’m back to running on a weekly basis. And I’m in the best and healthiest relationship I've been in since the glory days of the early 2000s' Sacramento teams.
It's hard to deny that things are looking up — 15 years of past history can't be wrong.