A Decade After Sacramento Showed Up for the Kings, the Kings Return the Favor

The Kings are leading the Warriors in their first-round playoff matchup, much to the surprise of fans.

A Decade After Sacramento Showed Up for the Kings, the Kings Return the Favor

It was unclear what would happen to the Sacramento Kings in the future. In 2013, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and N.B.A. In 2013, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento and N.B.A.

The Kings' stadium was still an old suburban stadium, which did not fit in with the modern N.B.A. If there was no new arena built, the Kings would have to leave.

The next year, I flew back to Sacramento, where the City Council was preparing for a heated vote about whether or not the city would pay for roughly half of the construction costs, 255 million dollars, for the new downtown arena, now called the Golden 1 Center.

As always, the Kings' fans were out in force to show their support, even though they had just suffered through a losing season for the eighth time. The fans held placards in the air, begging the Council to vote yes. They were joined by angry critics who are opposed to spending taxpayer money on a team's stadium.

The Council decided to spend the money. Vivek Ranadadive, the new owner of the Kings, promised fans that they would be there for the long run. This is your team and it will stay! He said.

Who would have thought it would take so long?

Who would have thought that the Kings, who were transformed overnight, would go toe-to-toe with Golden State, now residing in San Francisco. This city has always seen Sacramento as a "cow town".

The Kings of 2023 are brimming with the fast-break speed, precision and power that evoke memories of Steph and Klay Thompson from a decade earlier at the beginning of a run which brought Golden State four N.B.A. championships. The Kings of 2023 are brimming with fast-break speed and precision that bring to mind Steph Curry and Klay Thompson a decade ago, at the start of a run that brought Golden State four N.B.A. Finals appearances.

The Kings are a doppelganger of the Warriors. They were shaped by Mike Brown who, for many years, was Steve Kerr’s consigliere at Golden State. He was poached last May by Sacramento.


Sacramento, which has played the Warriors to an abysmal 2-2 standoff in the series so far, was so competitive and annoying that it forced Draymond Green to give a retaliatory chest stomp on Domantas Sabonis during a Game 2, which Green lost (and which resulted in him being thrown out of the game). Green was also suspended for Game 3, which was won by the Warriors.

Kerr kept Curry in the game for 43 minutes of the 48-minute match, including the fourth quarter. Curry hasn't been pressed so hard in the first round since when?

Fans of the Kings have shown up in droves that rivaled that of Sabonis and Malik Monk. The Kings fans rushed to defend their home court by purchasing almost every seat available at Golden 1 Center. They then invaded on the road. The Warriors banned Kings fans at the Chase Center in San Francisco from bringing the cowbells, which harkened back to Sacramento's agricultural roots and were a symbol of their success in early 2000s.

Think about how long Kings' fans have been waiting to see the playoffs. The franchise's 16-year streak without a postseason appearance has received a lot of attention. It's been 19 years since the Kings won a playoff game and 21 seasons since they were a real playoff threat during the George Bush the Younger era.

Ask Kings fans about their loss to the Lakers over seven games in 2002 Western Conference Finals and you'll see them squinting and cursing Robert Horry. He is to Sacramento as Bucky Dent was to Boston. Fans are a unique mix of loyalty and frustration.

This Kings season has been a total surprise.

Sacramento continued to travel into the N.B.A. wilderness for many years after Ranadive had saved the team. wilderness.

The team was run by upper management that changed coaches frequently and seemed to have no idea what they were doing. The decision to select Marvin Bagley III instead of Luka Doncic as the No. The head-scratching decisions were the selection of Marvin Bagley III over Luka Doncic with the No.

Critics were furious with Ranadive and claimed he was an owner who had gotten in over his head. The N.B.A. The best practice is to hire basketball executives, and then let them select the coach. The Kings went the other direction.

The Kings were a disappointment last season, when they won 30 games and lost 52. This led the largest newspaper in the city to publish an article that was headlined:

How Vivek ranadive turned the Sacramento Kings into N.B.A. 's biggest losers.

The series now heads to the Kings home arena on Wednesday for what is sure to be an explosive Game 5. This vision from the City Council meeting of all those years has finally been realized.