by Matt George – Sports 1140 KHTK Reporter
In 2005, a young boy and his uncle walked onto the dimly lit court in Arco Arena and sat down at a massive banquet table in the middle of 17,317 empty seats. The uncle, being a season ticket holder, had been taking his nephew to a handful of games every year, and together they would watch some of the greatest basketball in the history of the NBA being played.
As the boy took his seat at the table, in awe of the massive and iconic arena around him, a white-haired man with a contagious smile sat down in the empty chair to the kid’s right. It didn’t take the boy long to recognize the face and voice of Jerry Reynolds, former Sacramento Kings head coach and current television analyst.
For two hours, over a delicious dinner provided by the Kings to a lucky few season ticket holders, Jerry took the time to speak with every person, for as long as they wished, at the event. But, he especially made sure to spend a little extra time with the boy, answering questions, posing for photos, telling stories, and just being himself.
Little did Jerry know that the boy would be inspired by him, his broadcast partner Grant Napear, and Kings radio broadcaster Gary Gerould, to pursue a career in sports media and journalism. And today, 13 years later, that boy is writing his farewell to one of his heroes on KHTK’s website.
Jerry Reynolds is the epitome of everything I want to be in my sports journalism and media career. He is truly as relaxed and genuine as he appears on camera, which is rare in this industry. And he has made it his mission to give back to all those who listen to him, approach him, and engage him in conversation. But, most importantly, in a profession driven by ego and personality, Jerry’s kindness, humor, and passion is authentic.
I know many fans and fellow media members echo my feelings of sadness at Jerry’s announcement that his is relinquishing his duties as the Sacramento Kings television analyst, a position he has held for 20 years. But I also know our gratitude for what he has done for the franchise, the city of Sacramento, and for who he is as a person, far outweighs the gloom.
Jerry Reynolds truly embodies Sacramento. Although he will always consider himself a country boy from Indiana, we will always claim him as an icon of California’s capitol. He has brought joy to every single Kings broadcast, and has inspired thousands, like myself, to simply be a better person.
Tonight, inside the Golden 1 Center, we wrap up another season of Kings basketball and celebrate the legendary career of Jerry Reynolds. While Jerry will try and deflect the praise and attention, because that’s just who he is, he wont be able to deny the fact that he is beyond loved and appreciated by his co-workers, the franchise, its fans, and the entire city.
So, from the boy that you made the extra effort to spend time with at that dinner 13 years ago, thank you Jerry for all that you have done for this city, for this franchise, and for the fans that brought you into their homes 82 times a year.
Thank you for inspiring me and many others to chase their dreams and do it with a smile on our face.
Thank you for sharing your love for the game of basketball like nobody else can.
And, most importantly, thank you for always being you.