For 35 seasons, the legendary Gary Gerould has called Sacramento Kings games either on the radio or as a television broadcaster. There was even a short window where he did both as part of a simulcast.
From the moment the team moved to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985, until the final moments of the 2019-20 season before the NBA shutdown, he has painted a vivid picture of the action like very few can.
He was there for the first-ever postseason game in Kings history in 1986. He was also around to see the amazing first-round matchup between the Kings and the Seattle Supersonics during the 1995-96 season. And like so many others, the 2002 Western Conference Finals broke his heart and still stings to this day.
“2002 still hurts, you know the hurt probably better than I do,” Gerould explained to former Kings guard Doug Christie on the latest edition of the Purple Talk podcast. “I’m not on the floor giving it my all, but I’m on the sidelines giving my all to paint the picture and create the atmosphere. And to be so tantalizingly close to an opportunity to play for a championship ring was huge.”
The Kings lost in a brutal seven-game series to Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers squad that would go on to sweep the New Jersey Nets in the Finals. The Kings never again have made it that deep in the postseason over the last 18 years.
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Those moments of near misses linger. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gerould partnered with Tim Roye for six seasons on the Kings broadcast. In 1995, just before the Kings made their first postseason appearance in a decade, Roye left Sacramento and joined the Golden State Warriors.
Over the next 12 years, Roye’s Warriors would miss the playoffs every year and for 17 of his first 18 seasons in Oakland. Luckily, Roye was able to withstand the brutal stretch and come out on the other side.
“He went through a lot of really tough years in his now, what, 25 years with the Golden State Warriors,” Gerould said of Roye. “He now has three championship rings in his collection and I envy that so much.”
“I’m happy for him, but I think, wouldn’t that be the culmination, wouldn’t that be just such a marvelous experience?” Gerould said.
After 35 years of Kings basketball, Gerould, as much or more than anyone else, would love to see the team find its way back into contention. A man who loves good food, hitting Broadway shows and even was friends with legendary actor Paul Newman, Gerould is looking for another life experience to add to his own collection.
“It’s not just the fact that you look upon a worldly possession, it’s what it represents,” Gerould said. “The fact that it means that you’ve conquered the mountain, that you’re the best of the best and no one can ever take that away from you.”
There is no lack of passion for the 79-year-old play-by-play announcer. During the podcast, Gerould spoke about the feeling of being in the building during that Seattle series and the way that Arco Arena came alive. He would love nothing more than to be overwhelmed by that same sensation at Golden 1 Center.