A Brief History of the Sacramento KingsMarch 7 , 2018
Any education about the city of Sacramento isn't truly complete without a comprehensive lesson on the Kings, the city's NBA team and primary topic of conversation. We'll go over the history of the franchise and some of the players who've brought roars from the enthusiastic home crowd. For fun at home, check out the top arcade basketball games and the best pool basketball hoops.
What Cities Have The Kings Played In?
Who Owns The Sacramento Kings?
Indian-American businessman Vivek Ranadivé is the current owner. It is thanks to his intervention that the team remained in Sacramento, and he has been heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the team.
Vivek Ranadivé on "Real Sports"
Have The Kings Ever Won A Title?
As the Rochester Royals, the franchise won its only NBA championship in the 1950-51 season. The team has reached the Western Conference Finals twice, most recently in 2002, but lost both of those appearances.
Chris Webber and Shaq Talk About The 2002 Western Conference Finals
The pride and joy of the city of Sacramento is the Kings, the only major professional sports franchise in the city. Though the team has had many homes and quite a few owners over the years, it has become an important part of California's capital. This is the history of how the team arrived at its current incarnation, and some of the legendary athletes who have worn the distinctive purple jersey.
The Kings are one of the oldest continuously operated franchises in the NBA. They started out as the semi-professional Rochester Seagrams in Rochester, New York, in 1923. The name was changed to the Royals in 1945 when they joined the National Basketball League. In 1948, they joined the Basketball Association of America. A year later, the B.A.A. absorbed the B.L.L. to form the National Basketball Association.
The team was often successful on the court, winning the NBA championship in 1951, the only title in the history of the franchise. However, since they were in the same division as Minneapolis, they often missed out on the league finals. Despite the fact that they never finished lower than second in their division from 1945 to 1954, Rochester simply wasn't a big enough market. When an influx of new players led to a losing season, the league pressured ownership to find a new home.
In 1957, the Royals were relocated to Cincinnati. In their last game of the season, Maurice Stokes fell while going for a rebound and hit his head. Though he initially shook it off, three days later it was aggravated on a flight, and he suffered a seizure, resulting in permanent hospitalization. The team was sold, and many were angered at how Stokes was treated after his injury. Future hall-of-famer Jack Twyman took care of him until his death in 1970. The NBA's award for Teammate of the Year is named after them.
In the 1960s, the team contended for the NBA East every year behind star Oscar Robertson, but were unable to get past the powerhouse Boston Celtics. The team was sold to Max and Jeremy Jacobs in 1966, and began playing some of their home games in other cities like Cleveland, Dayton, and Columbus. The franchise's stars were eventually traded away, and the team moved to Kansas City in 1972.
The name of the team was changed to the Kings to avoid confusion with the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball. Originally, they were the Kansas City-Omaha Kings and played some home games in Omaha, Nebraska. Guard Phil Ford won the Rookie of the Year award in 1979, and made the playoffs in his first two years. However, the team was always second-place in the hearts of fans to the local baseball team. Eventually the team was sold for $11 million, and in 1985, they moved to their current home in Sacramento.
Though the Kings made the playoffs their first season in Sacramento, they struggled for many years after that. Many well-known players spent time with the franchise during this period, including Reggie Theus, Kenny Smith, Vinny Del Negro, Mitch Richmond, Bobby Hurley, Spud Webb, Wayman Tisdale, and future Celtics GM Danny Ainge. The team finally made the playoffs again in 1996, but lost in the first round to the Seattle Supersonics.
The team's roster began to take shape when they acquired Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, Doug Christie, Hedo Trukoglu, and Mike Bibby. In 2002, they reached the Western Conference Finals, which involved a controversial Game 6 in which the Los Angeles Lakers shot 27 free throws in the fourth quarter alone. Disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy alleged in court documents that two referees had fixed the game. Many fans wondered if the Kings had lost out on their chance for a championship.
The team suffered through a few more up and down years, all under the threat of losing the franchise to another city. The Maloof brothers wanted to unload the team, and there was contentious discussion over the building of a new arena. The loyal Sacramento fans were worried they might lose the team to Seattle. Luckily, Vivek Ranadive stepped in and purchased the team, keeping it in town.
On the court, the franchise had trouble finding its footing. Though stars like Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins played for the team, they repeatedly had to rebuild. Ranadive brought Divac to the front office, and has been heavily involved in personnel decisions. Young players like De'Aaron Fox, Harry Giles, and Willie Cauley-Stein have brought optimism to the city. No matter the record, through all its iterations, the fan base of Sacramento has always stayed loyal to their team.
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