These Kings rookies are pretty sharp. That old cowbell charm, the power of purple, the power of Jimmer.
They know the deal.
They get it.
During Saturday's introductory news conference at Power Balance Pavilion - that old barn formerly known as Arco Arena - Jimmer Fredette, Tyler Honeycutt and Isaiah Thomas sounded like three college kids who completed their homework and came ready to play.
The Kings-Lakers rivalry. The more recent postseason drought. The delicate arena situation. They addressed the issues and talked about winning games, winning back the fans, winning like the old days and securing the franchise's future in Sacramento.
But particularly noteworthy was that Fredette was in the middle of everything. He was the star attraction and one of the guys. He refused to be the showstopper - more commonly referred to around here as a ballstopper - and sang with the chorus, in harmony with his new teammates.
This is huge. This is it. This is the balancing act that has to continue.
Fredette, 22, can be a rock star some of the time, accommodating his fans at rallies and airports and malls, tending to his expanding social network empire, obliging Kings management at meet-and-greets with sponsors and season-ticket holders and every Vera, Chuck and Dave who might be enticed to buy into his act. But even the Beatles took rehearsal breaks once in a while.
"I've been in situations where some of my players have had cult followings," said coach Paul Westphal, referring to his former Phoenix Suns superstar, Charles Barkley. "It's often part of the NBA, and if it continues, it means you're really, really good.
"We want our team to embrace it. We want people to watch us play. At the same time, it doesn't mean anything if you can't back it up. Your focus is the job, and the circus is the circus."
And there is only one LeBron. And one Michael. And one Kobe. And one Larry and one Magic and one Charles. Westphal recalled occasions when helicopters flew overhead, chronicling Charles butchering yet another golf course.
While it's also true that there is only one Jimmer, at least until his name began appearing frequently on birth certificates in Utah, Fredette doesn't need the added burden of lifting a franchise. Once - and whenever - the season begins, calm and a semblance of sanity need to be restored. The trick is to capitalize on his charismatic presence without exploiting his accommodating nature.
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