Kings Q&A: Gary Gerould
The legendary voice of the Kings, Gary Gerould recounts some of his fondest memories during his 30 seasons in Sacramento.
With more than 2,000 NBA broadcasts in his career and 29 seasons under his belt, no one knows Kings history quite like Gary Gerould. A native of Michigan, Gerould has lived in Sacramento since 1965 and has been the "Voice of the Kings" since the team's arrival in Sacramento (1985) as radio play-by-play announcer on the club's flagship station KHTK (1140 AM).
On Dec. 8, 2010, Gerould moved into fifth all-time among NBA broadcasters as he earned his 2,000th Kings broadcast. The "G-Man", as he is nicknamed, took part in the Kings Foundation Invitational Golf Tournament last month and Kings.com caught up with him at the ESC XC to get his take on the new arena, the 30th season and more.
The team is celebrating its 30th season in Sacramento. How do you feel to have been here for all of them?
“Old. But seriously, I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been able to be involved through all these years and have seen so many characters come and go. I’m obviously very excited about what the future appears to hold for this organization. There are a number of things that will make you grin – seeing Reggie Theus outside just moments ago and knowing that Eddie Johnson and Mike Woodson are here – we’re talking about guys who were here when Sacramento first embraced the Kings in 1985 – that is really cool.”
When you talk about the future, you’re standing in the XC [Experience Center] looking at where the new arena will be. How exciting is that?
“This is the first time I’ve been in the XC – so that’s exciting. But seeing the pictures on a daily basis through social media about what’s going on and even driving up here and seeing a big claw over one of the fences, with concrete and steel dangling from it and dumping it into a truck – I still pinch myself and ask, ‘is this really happening in Sacramento?’ Because I’ll be very honest – I first came to Sacramento in 1965 and I used to be so frustrated with what I called the ‘think-small’ mentality and looking at opportunities that seemed to be missed and wondering why. Now to see that turn 180-degrees with a think-big mentality, which I think has really surfaced in the last 3-4 years, that excites me.”
In terms of construction, how does it compare to Arco 1 and Arco 2?
“I don’t know too much about the new building, but from the renderings that I’ve seen and conversations that I’ve heard, this is a whole new level – there’s no question about that. Arco 1, obviously, was a real slap-together job that was thrown up in a matter of months, unbelievably so. And while it had great character, and it was a foundation to welcome NBA basketball to Sacramento, it was so far below the standards of what you’d come to expect around the League. And then of course moving into what’s been the current building all these years since 1988 – it was a big, big step. It was done basically on the cheap – there weren’t a lot of bells and whistles. Now to think this new structure right next to us is going to have everything in terms of state-of-the-art whatever – that’s pretty awesome in my book.”
What are some of your favorite memories working with the Kings?
“I’m not good at coming up with lists. If somebody jogs my memory and I say, oh yeah. That was really cool. I do remember, the very first year the fact that a team rallied down the stretch and got into the playoffs – a lot of long-time Kings fans forget the very first year the Kings were in Sacramento they made the playoffs, they were 3-and-out in the first round against Houston, but they were there. It was a great core group of guys. I suppose there’s always a special affinity for them – we mentioned some of those guys in Theus, Woodson and Eddie Johnson – so that was a special time.”
“Then a decade ago, the dynamic run under Rick Adelman when we really became good. I found out what it’s like to go into any arena on any given night and having a great shot of walking out of there with a W – those were really special times and they were special characters – Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, Bobby Jackson, Doug Christie, Scot Pollard, Mike Bibby, Jason Williams and the first couple of years he was in Sacramento and you just say, that was a good bunch of guys and it was great to see their success. It was great to see Kings fans rewarded. When you think back to the tailgating and the playoff day-games and the atmosphere that was just electric in that building. Of course, that’s what we all want to achieve again and take it a step further and get the big pay-off – we came awful close in that series against the Lakers… I sure hope, in my lifetime, I get another opportunity like that.”
Speaking of that team, Peja will have his jersey retired this year. How special will that night be?
“To me, any night when someone gets their jersey up in the rafters is really, really special. I’ve seen Mitch Richmond’s go up there, Chris Webber’s and Vlade Divac’s and now to add Peja in that very select group, that will be a special night. I think for Peja, because he wasn’t a dynamic, outgoing personality, it’s easy for people to overlook his great contributions and how great of a shooter and how great he really was in that mix. He was a very important cog in Kings success in those 60-win seasons. I’m excited for him because he’s such a good guy. I think about Peja and I smile. To me, that’s kind of what it’s all about. Boy, I loved watching him knock down those threes so effortlessly on the perimeter.”
Do you plan to retire if the Kings win a championship?
“Who knows? First off, you have to have the opportunity and hopefully I still get the opportunity. And then at my age, I have to be very cognizant of that. My wife and I have an agreement – as long as it’s still fun, then I’ll keep doing it. It’s still fun and I’m still blessed to have the opportunity and I’m still blessed to have good health.”