Sacramento Kings Fire Back at ESPN for Naming Team Worst Franchise in Pro Sports

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2013

GREENBURGH, NY - AUGUST 06:  Ben McLemore #16 of the Sacramento Kings poses for a portrait during the 2013 NBA rookie photo shoot at the MSG Training Center on August 6, 2013 in Greenburgh, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Just months after showing their resiliency in the face of a(nother) relocation threat, the Sacramento Kings are fighting for their franchise once again.

This time around the consequences aren't nearly as severe, but Sacramento's spirit is just as feisty.

After being named as ESPN The Magazine's worst franchise in the four major professional sports, the Kings were forced back on the defensive again.

With the tagline "New Era, New Swagger," Sacramento fired back at the sports media power with a full page ad, via KXTV News 10's Bryan May:

The Kings new ownership, led by majority owner Vivek Ranadive, seems to be paying the price for the shortcomings of the previous regime. ESPN's franchise rankings are based on last year's data, which Kings president and chief operating officer Chris Granger pointed out in an official release on Kings.com doesn't take into account the impact of the ownership change:

Under Vivek's leadership, there is a lot happening in Sacramento: a new ambition, new investments in talent and arena infrastructure, and a new commitment to our wonderful community. We have the best fans in sports and we will work tirelessly until we give them the best franchise in the world...We love ESPN, but think they could have given us the benefit of foresight in their rankings.

The sports world won't come around until the Kings gives it a reason to, but things do appear to be getting better in Sacramento.

Defensive guru Michael Malone took over the head coaching duties this offseason. Former Denver Nuggets executive Pete D'Alessandro was named general manager in June. Talent arrived via the draft (Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum), the trade market (Greivis Vasquez, Luc Mbah a Moute) and free agency (Carl Landry).

Still it may be a while before the rest of the hoops world takes notice of these improvements.

The Kings are only scheduled for six national broadcasts in 2013-14: five on NBATV and onea home game with the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 15on ESPN.