Sports Authority

First Love

Nathaniel S. Colley died in 1992, but he’s having an excellent 2021. His home on Pleasant Drive in South Land Park has been declared a historic landmark, along with his office on S Street. A new school on Gerber Road is named for the civil rights attorney.

Tributes to Colley invariably mention his work to end housing discrimination and his status as the first African American lawyer to practice in Sacramento. That would be January 1949, when he was admitted to the California Bar. Six years later, he built his home at 5114 Pleasant Drive, integrating a whites-only neighborhood.

Teed Up

As the pandemic devoured chunks of humanity, one recreational holdout stood tall, defiant and immune: the golf course. Designed for distance and unfettered by walls and ceilings, golf became the perfect antidote. A vaccine is not required to shoot par.

In Sacramento, golf played through. While lockdowns ended fan experiences and demolished profit margins across the sports landscape, Morton Golf, which runs the city’s four municipal courses, didn’t miss a tee time.

Marathon Man

Denis Zilaff knows what it takes to run 92,000 miles because he’s done it. Among the requirements are two good hips and a functional mitral valve. The hips keep the legs moving. The valve prevents blood from flowing backward into the heart.

When his hips began to fail and his mitral valve became floppy, Zilaff was in trouble, mostly because he wanted to keep running. The repairs were piecemeal and took about two years. Delays were caused by the pandemic and the fact that doctors won’t fix two hips and one heart in a single marathon surgery.

Time To Sell?

Earlier this year, a sports business site called Sportico estimated the Kings’ total value at $1.84 billion. That amount covers everything, from the team and its sponsorship deals to real estate.

As someone who has followed the Kings and laughed along with their failure since the early 1980s, I thought of two questions: If I owned the team, would now be the right time to sell? And might some Kings owners wonder the same thing?

Fish Story

Freshwater fishermen know the best time to catch a sturgeon in the Sacramento River is right about now, early March, when white sturgeon run upstream to spawn. The big fish search for rocky substrate in the river bottom. They love fast-moving, cold water clouded by dirt.

I’m no fisherman. But I hope to wake up one morning and open an email from a Sacramento angler who, in the hunt for sturgeon, has sighted an awesome beast that defies belief, an ancient sturgeon of supreme size and weight whose emergence from the muddy depths can resemble a submarine breaking the surface.

I’m talking about Old Moe.

Kings-Size Woes

An Inside reader named Ken Poppers serves as today’s example of someone with a good memory. I’ll play the role of the old sportswriter who needs a reminder.

Poppers emailed me recently and noted my disdain for the Kings and their avoidance of certain fiscal responsibilities in the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit, the Kings cut staff. They also stopped paying all the rent they owe the city for Golden 1 Center.

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