November 14, 2011 :: 4:51pm ET 21st Century Fox
Former Kings forward and long-time color analyst Jim Fox becomes U.S.
LOS ANGELES -- I love America. I love Canada, too. Call me old
fashioned, but I'm a patriot and advocate of how we live our life in
the States and Great White North.
We take our liberty for granted at times, so there's not a more
appropriate weekend than Veterans Day/Remembrance Day to honor those
who sacrificed for the right for you to chirp me on Twitter.
In September of this year, Los Angeles Kings TV color analyst Jim Fox
and his wife Susie became American citizens after decades of holding a
green card. I've chronicled our relationship with the affable analyst
over the years; he's become a friend, as well as sharing with me the
finer points of the game that at times I fail to grasp.
Night in and night out, Jim teams with Hall of Famer Bob Miller to
provide an entertaining and informative three hour broadcast to the
Los Angeles faithful on Fox Sports West. While writers aren't supposed
to root for teams they cover, there's no unwritten law of the press
box that says I can't claim there isn't a better broadcast team in the
business; the nights when the Kings aren't so good, you can't say
likewise about Jim and Bob.
One of the unseen benefits of what I do is having access to the
wonderful people that are in this glorious game and build
relationships with them; from time to time, I own a duty to pay that
good fortune back.
Through family connections, we've met Brad Sherman, the Congressman of
California's 27th district that serves the San Fernando Valley. Mr.
Sherman is not your typical politician; before he entered elected
office, he was a Harvard educated tax attorney and thankfully for the
people of the "Valley," he's the antithesis of Herman Cain and Rick
Perry in every manner.
Mr. Sherman was the dude in the Capitol Hill hearing that asked CEO
Rick Wagoner of General Motors what his method of transportation that
got him to Washington to testify about why the auto makers should
receive a huge government bailout.
"I don't know how I go back to my constituents and say the auto
industry has changed if they own private jets, which are not only
expensive to own, expensive to operate and expensive to fly here,
rather than to have flown commercial," a stance that forced Wagoner to
drive a Chevy Volt the next time he came calling to Washington.
Brad has served long and well in the House and is enduring the
challenge of re-districting that makes the tenure in his House seat a
bit more precarious than usual.
One of the ways Mr. Sherman recognizes Joe and Jane Citizen for adding
value to the community is to present them with an American flag. This
is not just any American flag. And that's where the story really
Ever wonder what they do when they lower the flag at the end of the
day that flies over the U.S. Capitol?
Wonder no more, because those flags are preserved to present to
citizens who make our country a better place to live.
Jim Fox was born in Coniston, Ontario, a quiet enclave of 15,000 that
was the home of Jim's first team, the Coniston Flames. He went on to
great success in junior hockey for the Ottawa 67's, closing with a
monster season of 65-101-166 that resulted in him being the 10th
overall pick by the Kings in the 1980 Entry Draft. He played nine
seasons in the big show with the 1984-85 season being his best, 30
goals and 83 points. Jim played four more seasons before a devastating
knee injury suffered in a game versus the Boston Bruins ended his
playing career abruptly.
With the next stage of life quickly thrust upon him at age of 30, he
continued in the employ of the Kings as to find which path to take
next. Always a fan favorite, Jim became a team ambassador before
finding his way to the broadcast booth. While those first days were
rocky behind the mic, the move resulted is a 20-year career that he
never takes for granted. The organization and fans showed their mutual
appreciation on Feb. 11, 2006 when "Jim Fox Day" was celebrated at
center ice of Staples Center, a fitting tribute by one of the most
recognizable names and faces in franchise history.
All this time Jim and Susie held green cards, simply defined as the
authorized right to live and work in the United States permanently,
but they didn't have all the rights that accrue to citizens.
"I came into the league in 1980 and I got my green card in 1983," Fox
related this past Sunday at the team's annual charity event,
Tip-A-King. "Back then, your employer could sponsor two employees and
at the time the Kings and Lakers were under the same umbrella. My wife
needed to work as well, so we got green cards."
As the Foxes acclimated and grew to love their new home, their
permanent resident status allowed them to live the normal life that
other Americans do. So why after 28 years was a decision make to
embark on the route to citizenship?
"I always thought about doing it, always planned on doing it and
finally got off my big, fat butt and did it," giving a brutally honest
answer with a gleam in his eye. "I'll be honest, you always hear about
government red tape, but it was one of the most efficient processes
I've ever been involved with, it was easy."
When the process commenced, Jim was told it would take six months from
cradle to grave to get the moment of swearing in.
"It was exactly on the timeline," he said. "The process includes an
interview and an exam, they give you 100 questions, they ask you 10
and you have to answer six correctly. I was six for the first six."
Once a sniper, always a sniper, eh?
The Kings and Fox Sports West were primarily responsible for making it
happen. My first reaction was to present the flag to Jim privately,
but after some thought, I figured it would be a nice touch if an
on-air presentation could be made.
The plan was to keep the spot a secret, but a few hours prior to game
time, Miller rightfully suggested that we inform Jim about the
presentation. Having a Congressman as the lead dog in the moment made
it easier, wasn't his first, and won't be his last and he came ready.
"Do I have two minutes, three minutes or four," was Sherman's initial
query upon his arrival at Staples Center.
Though he had two game periods to compose his thoughts, it was a
highly emotional Jim Fox we viewed in the moment from behind the
cameras. It was compelling television to see the grace and gratitude
in which he received the honor and you can view the video at
As the country is a year removed from one of the most important
presidential races of the last 25 years, Jim admitted a deeper reason
to wanting to become Citizen Fox.
"I'm a big advocate of participation and being able to vote is a big
part of that," he said
So when the next Election Day rolls around and you think it may be too
much of a hassle to exercise both your right and duty, think of a
certain right wing from Coniston who waited decades for that