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After a protracted legal battle that had the franchise ticketed for Anaheim, Virginia Beach and then Seattle, the Kings are staying in Sacramento for good. Thanks to the dogged efforts of Mayor Kevin Johnson (an all-time great Phoenix Sun), a devoted fan base and a record valuation for an NBA franchise, attention can finally shift back to the court.
A Proud Tradition
The Sacramento Kings were founded as the Rochester Seagrams in 1923 and were among the first teams folded in to the NBA upon its creation in 1949. In 1951, the Rochester Royals (as they came to be known) won the NBA title, defeating the New York Knicks in a 7-game series. Playing in a nascent league, in search of profitability, the Royals moved to Cincinnati, then Kansas City (where they became the “Kings”) and featured all-time great Oscar Robertson and later Nate “Tiny” Archibald.
In 1985, the Kings made the move west to Sacramento. While they struggled to find success, the team NEVER had a hard time attracting fans. In 1998, with the trade for Chris Webber, drafting of Jason Williams and acquisition of Vlade Divac, Sacramento finally had a contender to get behind. With Rick Adelman at the helm, the Kings made eight straight playoff appearances. Following the 2001-02 season, the Kings played a controversial and classic series with the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Within seconds of reaching the franchise's first NBA finals in a half century, the Kings lost an absolute heartbreaker from which many fans still haven't recovered…
A New Era Begins in Sacramento
A Silicon Valley-based group of investors led by tech titan Vivek Ranadive assumes control of a franchise loaded with young talent. The new regime comes complete with a new GM, Pete D'Allesandro, who brings salary cap savvy and a cutting-edge, metrics-based approach PLUS a coach, Mark Malone, who was high atop the list of the hottest coaching candidates in the league.
Though questions remain about his focus, there is no doubting DeMarcus Cousins' talent. With Tyreke Evans traded to New Orleans, Cousins will have every opportunity to make himself the face of the franchise. Taking over for Evans is Kansas standout Ben McLemore, the #7 overall pick in the draft. With those two cornerstones surrounded by sharp-shooter Jimmer Fredette, Ray McCallum, Patrick Patterson and host of others, the Kings are on the road back to contention.
If You Build It…
Playing their last few seasons in the Sleep Train Arena (fka Arco) before making the move to new digs, Kings fans should be back en masse now that they know the team is in Sacramento to stay. At its height, when the Kings were flying high with Mike Bibby, Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovich, there wasn't a better basketball atmosphere on the planet. Get into ScoreBig.com for guaranteed savings on Kings tickets and get in on the action. The Kings are here to stay.