Bulls assistant coach reflects on Sacramento playing days

Bulls assistant coach reflects on Sacramento playing days
March 14, 2013, 12:45 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO — In the wake of the Bulls’ 42-point loss to the Kings, nobody associated with the Bulls is likely to have many positive feelings about Sacramento, let alone be concerned with whether the franchise relocates to Seattle next season.

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But prior to Wednesday night’s game, Bulls assistant coach Ed Pinckney shared some memories of his playing days with the Kings, whom he played for in the 1987-88 season and the majority of the 1988-89 campaign.

While the Kings weren’t a winning team during his time in Sacramento, Pinckney has fond recollections of his tenure in California’s state capital.

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“I made some really good friends here. My second year, they broke the team up. I actually got traded and went to Boston. But I still have a friendship with Kenny Smith, Reggie Theus. I just talked to LaSalle Thompson, who’s coaching with the Knicks, yesterday, and there are two people here that I’m going to see tonight, that have been season ticket-holders from the very beginning. I’m still friends with them  and I’ve sort of watched all their kids grow and get older, so it was really, really good from that standpoint. We weren’t really successful on the court, but off the court, I developed some really great friendships,” he told CSNChicago.com before Wednesday’s game.

“Believe it or not, the head coach at the time was Bill Russell and the assistant coach was Willis Reed, and Jerry Reynolds was part of that group. There was a change in management, Bill Russell eventually went upstairs and was solely the general manager, and Jerry Reynolds became the head coach.

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Regardless of whether Sacramento native and city mayor Kevin Johnson, the former Phoenix Suns point guard, can stave off the efforts of the team’s current owners to sell the franchise to a Seattle-based group or not, Kings fans were and still are considered among the most passionate in the league, something Pinckney can attest to.

“The fan base was always crazy. We got great fan support,” he said. “I was watching the game on tape the other day, and they were doing ‘The Wave’ in here. The cowbells and the ‘Noisemeter,’ that was always here, and the support for the team was always here.”