Sydney Kings owner and chairman Paul Smith has added fuel to the fire for Tuesday’s grand final replay against Perth by declaring: “The Wildcats didn’t win it – it was given to them.”
The Kings will play Perth for the first time since last year‘s controversial decision to award the NBL title to the Wildcats.
Eleven months have passed since Sydney made the correct choice to put their players first and pull out of the grand final series due to growing COVID-19 concerns, which later forced the shutdown of the entire country, but the emotion around the decision remains.
Smith stressed he holds no ill feeling towards the Perth club, but he still doesn’t agree with the NBL awarding the title to Wildcats.
Tuesday’s grand final replay between the Sydney Kings and the Perth Wildcats is set to have a little extra spice. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Perth were leading 2-1 over the Kings in the best-of-five series when the remaining games were cancelled, which led the NBL to award Perth the championship.
“I think it was incorrect because our implicit and absolute agreement with the Wildcats if the season couldn’t be completed, and the league was party to this, that there would be no awarding of the title,” Smith said, a claim the NBL denies.
“I just hate Perth – I don’t hate them because they have got a championship – that is not their problem because that was given to them.
“They didn’t win it – it was given to them.
“Anyone that thinks you can expunge that whole experience from the history of our club or player, whether they were in that squad or not, is dreaming.
“Of course, our guys are aware of the history of the club.
“Do we have angst directed towards Perth? No, not necessarily. It is not about us pointing at Perth, it is about us reflecting on the circumstances.
“I think the bottom line is that we felt we had a job to do and we didn’t get the chance to finish it, but that was our decision.
“We found ourselves in a situation that we found unfair, but that isn’t personal.
“I think history is going to judge us very kindly (for making that decision).
“It is a little ironic now that Perth was a team that was all very free, easy and let’s play, and now they exist in the bubble of all bubbles as far as their state is concerned.”
Sydney Kings owner and chairman Paul Smith has added fuel to the fire for Tuesday’s grand final replay against Perth by declaring: ‘The Wildcats didn’t win it – it was given to them.’ Picture: Paul Kane/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The timing of Tuesday’s Kings versus Wildcats clash couldn’t be better.
Both teams are coming off impressive wins over Adelaide and United respectively after mixed form to start the season.
Smith is expecting another torrid and tense affair on Tuesday night.
“Sydney and Perth games are always pretty spicy,” he said.
“They have never been meek affairs and it has always been willing.
“Sydney represents everything that Perth hates about the rest of Australia because we are the far eastern part.
“The further east you go, the more they hate you.
“This is speaking to a man who was married to a woman from Perth, so I do know these things.”
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