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So Cincinnati: Cincinnati Royals
Updated: Monday, October 28 2013, 03:01 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- The NBA is on strike right now, but that doesn't mean much to most Tri-State residents but at one time, we did-the Cincinnati Royals. It's a team that Local 12 Anchor Cammy Dierking is very familiar with because her dad played on it! She talked with her dad about a team that was -- and forever will be -- "So Cincinnati."
"It's been a long time since you've been back.. It's been quite a long time to say the least." 40 years, in fact, since my dad, Connie Dierking, played pro basketball here. And this was his first visit to the Legends Museum at the Cincinnati Gardens. "You know what cracks me up.. You guys wore these Chuck Taylor Converse high tops. That's why I had both knees replaced, haha!"
This place is filled with pictures and memorabilia from the Cincinnati Royals, the NBA team that played at the Gardens from 1957 to 1972. Dad says this was a great place to play in... and fans were close to the court, so they really got to know the players, and vice versa. "That's something the teams in the bigger cities didn't have because there's different people in the seats at different times. here, the same people were there for every game."
And the "Royal Loyal" remember the most famous player on the team, Oscar Robertson. Dad played with the Big O at UC, and for 5 seasons with the Royals. "It was such a pleasure and honor to be part of all that, because he was, in my opinion, the best player to ever play the game... And still is."
But if i could brag for a moment... dad was a great player, too! Originally from Brooklyn, New York... at 6-foot-10, he was a first round draft pick in 1958. "I signed for $8000. That's a fact... Now a first pick signs for millions. So it's too soon old and too late smart.. Haha!"
Dad played most of his 11-year NBA career as a center with the Royals, against some of the game's greats, like Bill Russell, Lew Alcindor-- now Kareem-- and Wilt Chamberlain. "We were playing the 76ers in this building and wilt was with them at the time and I had the best game of my NBA career- I think I scored 45 points against Wilt."
Wonderful memories from his time with the Cincinnati Royals, a close team... with no big egos. Dad fears an element of greed has crept into the game... thus, the current NBA strike. "They're talking about 9 billion dollars, why would you argue about 9 billion dollars? Make it work. Make it happen."
Makes you long for the good ol' days when we cheered for the Royals, a team that was So Cincinnati. Of course there were many more incredibly talented Royals -- including Jerry Lucas, Jack Twyman, Adrian Smith, and Nate 'Tiny' Archibald.
In 1972, the Royals moved to Kansas City and became the Kansas City Kings... they are now the Sacramento Kings.