Kings.com Reporter Alex Kramers dishes on his favorite on- and off-court moments from his first campaign with the team, including a memorable interaction with DMC.
“Hold on one second,” began DeMarcus Cousins during one the team’s first practices of the 2012-13 preseason. “One of you smells good. What is that?”
As a half-dozen journalists burst into laughter, I realized the break in Cousins’ media availability session suddenly put the focus of the huddle on the rookie amongst the bunch.
As No. 15 tilted his head down to get a closer whiff, I quickly recognized my hair’s scent had caught the center’s attention.
“What kind of shampoo do you use?” he asked.
Caught slightly off-guard, I tried to recall the shopping list from one of my first weekends in town. Slightly flustered, I glared back up at Sacramento’s 6-foot-11 center and conjured up it was probably a generic brand.
“Whatever it is,” concluded the Kentucky product, “it smells wonderful.”
While I later discovered the shampoo in question was actually Dove, the unexpected compliment coming from the likes of one of my sports heroes quickly put my new profession in perspective.
In addition to cherishing Kings victories and standout player performances, countless unforgettable interactions, such as my unanticipated conversation with Cousins, stand out as I reflect on my first season as the team’s reporter.
There’s the time I helped settle a lighthearted locker room debate between Jason Thompson and Chuck Hayes about the all-time best Kanye West album (“Graduation”) or when I discussed the latest “Breaking Bad” story arc with John Salmons and Travis Outlaw.
Along with entertaining exchanges with players, coaches and broadcasters, perhaps above all, I appreciated the new workplace I called home and relishing in some of the most exciting events of the season in the close company of fellow diehards.
Just three years ago, I sat near center court with my wife during our first vacation together. Since then – although I had the opportunity to contribute from afar to Kings.com as the team’s Fan Correspondent – I found myself humbled each game night as I walked across the hardwood to my seat at Sleep Train Arena, routinely fist-bumping with Slamson and preparing for the inevitable goose bumps that would come with introductions of the Kings starting lineup.
On Dec. 28, 2012, as I watched James Johnson’s game-winning three-point attempt swish through the net as the final buzzer sounded, I pumped my fist, cheered and high-fived jubilant fans seated with us in Kings HQ. Simultaneously, dozens of participants across the globe celebrated with infinite exclamation points and heaps of praise for No. 52 in the Kings.com Live Chat.
It’s the aforementioned treasured instances I experienced throughout my first full season in Northern California that constantly remind me of what it means to be a lifelong fan who’s earned the opportunity to cover his favorite team.
I applied the same passion in striving to deliver compelling content as I did in celebrating late-game heroics as a purple and black supporter on the East Coast. From in-depth features on the team’s stars (who knew Isaiah Thomas collected fellow NBA teams’ shorts?) and new acquisitions (fun fact: Adele and Korn are on Patrick Patterson’s pregame playlist) to inside looks at players’ fashion choices (Marcus Thornton attended his Sadie Hawkins Dance in a Spud Webb jersey!), helping bring Kings devotees closer to the team has been an incredible experience.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my pieces as much as I’ve appreciated the countless hours that have gone into brainstorming, producing and sharing them while getting to know Kings personnel and legions of enthusiastic fans in person, via Live Chats and across the team’s online network.
While I used to struggle with the time difference, staying up past 12 a.m. ET to catch the end of Kings games, rocking my lucky Mitch Richmond jersey, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the NBA – oftentimes working late-nights, on weekends and during holidays.
Following the April 17 Kings-Clippers game, Thornton glanced up and smiled as I approached his locker, offering a poignant quote.
“You were consistent all year,” said No. 23. “Every game – good or bad – you were here.”
And I’ve loved every minute of it.